Thoughts on Mentors

Mentors

The theme of mentorship has been on my mind recently, it’s come up in a mastermind group I’m a part of and in other conversations this week.  I’ve been thinking a lot about who I would consider my mentors and supporters and who I might be a mentor and supporter of in my community. Is this something you think about too?

I'm wondering if you feel like you need a mentor or teacher whereever you are in life right now? And what do you think a mentor would look like an provide?

In my very early days in corporate America I felt like I had been told I needed mentors.  Looking back, I’m not sure if someone actually said that to me or if that was what I thought I was supposed to find in order to be successful.  I remember searching for women who had been in my shoes and might want to take me under their wing, share words of wisdom or help me see the path I should be on more clearly than I could.

Before there was lean in telling me not to do this, I distinctly remember on more than one occasion taking someone out to lunch and asking them if they would be my mentor.  Can you say #AKWARD? I'm cringing just thinking about it.  I know that's not always an awkward thing to ask but in those scenarios it certainly was. 

Thinking about it now, I know what I wanted.  I think it's what anyone of us who ever wanted a mentor wants.  I wanted someone who wasn't a family member to see me, and think wow "they're awesome, and they might need to know they have a friend in their corner.  Simple right?  

Don’t we all want that?  Don’t we all want someone that will look at us and say “I see you, I see you working hard, I see you not sure of yourself in this environment, I see you doing your best, I’ll share as much as I know with you”? 

I really wanted another woman to see that I was lost and had no idea if I was in the right place.  I wanted another woman to reach out her hand and ask "can I help you up"?  In retrospect, I suppose I’m glad that didn’t happen because I was in the wrong industry completely!  If only I had read the signs better! Live and learn, right? 

There have been women outside of corporate America that I admired, looked up to and a few who really made it a part of their mission to keep tabs on me and encourage me.  I am grateful to that tribe who believed in me.  Now I feel so lucky because I feel like I have peers who always want to be there in that capacity.  I feel like I belong to a tribe of women that I've sought out and created that helps lift me up and I help lift them up too.  

I know I share Wise Women Wednesday interviews because I want women to know that I see them.  I see what they are doing.  I see the work they're putting in and I know it’s not easy.  I want the women in my community to feel seen, appreciated and heard.  I want women to be celebrated for creating, for taking chances, for living abundantly.  I hope that others reading the Wise Women Wednesday posts will encourage and support the work of the women being highlighted.  It's a way for us to support and mentor each other informally.  It's a way for all of us to be a part of a community that is willing to be there for each other.  

Additionally, a huge part of why I coach is because I want to be the kind of mentor that I had wanted in my younger years for others.  I want women to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel like they have a coach in their corner encouraging them, believing in them and making sure they can find their way.  

To the backdrop of conversations I've been having about mentors, I've been reminded this week of how much hope and inspiration the younger generation of women gives me.  There are many many millennial women who are teaching me so much these days.  They might be young, but they are fierce, sharp and often have wisdom beyond their years. It's one of my biggest hopes that I'm giving more than I'm receiving in the mentoring arena.  

I'm really curious, Do you have a mentor?  Do you consider yourself a mentor?  What has been the most important thing you've received from your mentor?