Through sport, I learned the value of having focus, a goal I wanted to achieve. I took that learning into my life and business. In business, goals became my ‘game of competition.’ I was competing against the goal I set. Who would win?
In setting goals, I often overextended, got lost in my own goals with a ‘what do I do next’ yell at the back of my throat! Many, many times, I failed. Through one of my failures, and perhaps a little serendipity, I discovered a mentor. The first piece of advice my mentor gave me; set yourself up for success – not failure! You have way to many goals!!!! That was the best advice I could’ve received. It was like she innately knew I was an ‘over-doer’ and overdoing was working against me rather than for me.
From that point on, I felt I could breathe because I had someone in my court, someone who had my back, who believed in me. I felt completely supported and cared for in my business. I still had failures, however, my recovery was much quicker because I could tap into my mentor for help in figuring out where I went wrong. I loved my mentor and to this day would do anything for her. If you look at people who have found great success in their lives, most of them have two things in common, they were mentored and they give back. One of the most visible mentor relationships was between Oprah Winfrey and the late Maya Angelou. “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life,” Winfrey said. “Mentors are important and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship,” she added.
Having a great role model, I started practicing mentoring in my thirties and have been mentoring ever since. What I’ve discovered is mentoring is a win/win situation. The more I mentor, the more I learn! I grow in my profession as I support others growing in the profession.
Raising leaders through the practice of mentoring is a lot like raising kids- you invest, you guide, you advise and most importantly, you love. A mentor, an experienced and trusted advisor, someone who believes in you when you’re not sure you believe in yourself, is a powerful alliance to have. The key word is trust. Creating a trusting mentoring relationship means creating a safe environment for your mentee, where no question is a stupid question, or where they can spill their guts, if they need to and share how they fell flat on their face, knowing they will not be judged, you will still be there, guiding, advising, and believing in them.
The title of this blog is Loving Mentoring, which I do to the depths of my heart and a Mentor who loves. In my email newsletter this month, I share the following thoughts; “Love is such a bold, unspoken word, especially in business. Why? What is it about love that we are so afraid to talk about? Perhaps it is because we put limits on what love is.” I love the relationships I have with people I mentor. It was apparent that there was love in the Winfrey/Angelou mentor relationship. What a privilege to walk alongside with someone on their journey, sometimes listening, sometimes guiding, sometimes advising, but always loving the person and supporting their deep desire to grow, to learn, to master being a professional, and grow as a human being.
We all have something of value to offer to those who are coming behind us or are even working alongside us. I encourage you to consider sharing your value through being a mentor. It is the gift that keeps on giving….. both ways!