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Loving Mentoring and a Mentor Who Loves

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!


Leadership is a Practice, not a Role

For over 35 years I’ve had the opportunity to be in leadership roles, and that’s not even counting the years I served as the eldest of 5 siblings.  Now there’s where I really began to understand what it means to be out front.  Let me share with you, its not all fun and games!  However, I took on my leadership roles with vigor and responsibility.  People could count on me.  Through my ‘leadership role’ experiences, I came to understand what leadership really is-a daily practice.

We practice many things on a daily basis, which turn into habits and routines – some serving us and some not!  Many of those habits and routines are directed toward the tangibles in our lives; taking care of our bodies, our homes, our families, our work.  However, our behavior and the way we show up in the world is largely driven by the intangibles; the way we think, the meaning we make of things, what we believe and what’s important or of value to us.  It is in the intangibles that I have found my leadership power and the ability to influence others.  Over the next few writings, I want to share these practices with you because they have had such a positive effect on my life and my relationships.

Leadership Practice #1 – Own what is yours to own! 

What is my contribution to the situation I’m in?  Sometimes it is so painful to turn the spotlight on self.  To demonstrate this practice, let me share a recent situation I found myself in.

Recently I bought a car.  Prior to purchasing the car, I’d been in a two week tornado of work catching up from being on a half months vacation.  Going to car dealers and dealing with the ‘sales pitches’ was not on my top ten list of things to do.  However, my car had broke down twice on vacation and I travel a lot for work so it had to be done.  I was in the stress pot of wo991F9CF7-rk; impatient, and generally just wanted to get the whole ordeal over with.  I made a hasty choice!  I bought the car and the next day had to drive 150 miles for work.  I quickly realized the seats were not right for me, in fact they really irritated my sciatica.  Aghhh, so here I was with a car that was not going to work for me.  I started down the road of what was the dealership going to do for me.  I was the victim and the car dealers were the ‘mean guys.’

After a week of wasting time trying to get the dealer to do something, I woke up.  No one twisted my arm to buy this car.  In fact, our sales guy was great.  No pressure, just service.  I made the choice to look for a car when I was stressed and very tired.  I made the hasty choice to purchase the car.  Now, knowing I had a problem with the seats, what could I do?  Solution came much quicker once I took ownership.  The seats will be ‘re-foamed’ by a company that specializes in car upholstery and my bum will be happy!

I have found that when you take ownership and practice it on a daily basis, you get to solution and the positive side of life much more quickly.  Can you imagine how our world would change if everyone engaged with Leadership Practice #1?