Did you hear about Meghan Markle’s 40th birthday wish? She asked several friends to dedicate 40 minutes of personal time mentoring women as they reenter the workforce. And she asked us to find the time to do the same.
We can lend our support and make a meaningful difference by sharing our stories and wisdom. Looking back on my experience, I can say there’s no substitute for receiving hard-earned wisdom from women who’ve been there and done that.
Also, according to Michelle Obama, “All of us are mentors. You’re mentors right here and now. And one of the things I’ve always done throughout my life, I have always found that person, that group of people that I was going to reach my hand out and help bring them along with me.”
So, I’m on the path of discover more about mentoring women in the workplace. Here are some things I’ve researched that highlight the meaning and long term benefits of mentoring:
1. Change someone’s world by becoming a mentor.
Now’s your chance to pay it forward! In your memory, can you identify a teacher, a coach, colleague, former boss, or other role model who said or did something that played an integral role in your life’s trajectory?
Now it’s your turn! Your perspective is unique, and you have experiences that only you can share.
And your words might be precisely what your mentee needs to hear for career advancement and a promising future.
2. Enhance your leadership skills by mentoring women.
According to Katie Main of the gild collective.com, “Being a mentor allows you to develop skills such as listening, perspective, self-knowledge, compassion, courage, and integrity. These attributes can enable you to be a better leader in your own right.”
Knowing that your mentee is watching and learning from you may push you to deepen your abilities across the board. Formal mentorship requires leadership in a heightened way – with more compassion. You’re leading someone directly through your example and have to bring your A-game.
3. Becoming a mentor will encourage you to learn from others.
“By working with someone less experienced and from a different background, you can gain a fresh perspective on things and learn a new way of thinking – which can help in your work life as well as your personal life,” says the Mind Tools content team.
Although you are the leader as the mentor, the time spent with your mentee might surprisingly enlighten you. Even good mentors may have forgotten some of the challenges with starting, and your mentee is a great reminder of them.
Listening to your mentee’s experiences may help you to deploy your energy and effort in new ways.
4. Mentoring women helps to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
“Mentees will often (but not always) be younger than you. It’s easy to think the next generation needs more education while you have it all figured out.
But the truth is that Millennials are creating tomorrow’s workplace. They understand trends and technology that may escape you. If you watch your mentee closely, you’ll almost certainly pick up some information or habits that are new and beneficial to you,” says Kelli Richards, CEO of The All Access Group.
One things is for sure: your mentee will keep you on your toes! But as they move forward in their paths, sharing pearls of wisdom may help them build greater confidence in themselves.
You’ll walk away learning more, too. The mentor and mentee relationship can inform and support both parties at different stages in their careers.
5. Mentoring women gives you opportunities for self-reflection.
“Mentoring provides an opportunity to reflect not only on what you have achieved but also on how you got there. Which attributes and strengths were critical to your career path success? What should you be doing now to ensure you continue to learn and develop those attributes? Asking questions of a mentee often supports deeper insights on your learning path and achievements,” says Louise Howard of the Educause Review.
It’s easy to forget all the steps you’ve taken to get where you are today. Taking the time to self-reflect will help to broaden and clarify your leadership storyline. This self-awareness will help you to develop and mentor more women over time.
6. Gain new perspectives and fresh ideas by mentoring women.
“Mentoring is a unique opportunity to step outside your normal circle of friends and social media’s echo chamber to gain an intimate understanding of how the world looks through someone else’s eyes,” from TheArtofMentoring.com.
It’s easy to lose touch with the issues and concerns of a younger generation if you don’t take the time to stop and listen. As a result, creative solutions may come from a new shift in perspective.
7. Gain the intrinsic rewards of helping others.
“The sense of fulfillment and personal growth can be astounding when a mentor looks back at their relationship with their mentee(s),” University of the People.
Mentoring others to help them achieve their goals can be deeply fulfilling, as it allows you to feel like you’ve made a difference in their lives. There’s no greater reward than knowing that you’ve helped others find their way.
8. Chose to mentor women and become part of a win-win culture.
Sometimes we need to remember that we got where we are today not only our hard work but because someone took the time to notice us, guide us, and show us what was possible. We need to carry this spirit of giving forward.
Katie Main says, “Surround yourself with people who build each other up, support each other’s career development, and make time to teach each other. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
In conclusion, when you decide to mentor someone, you have no way of knowing how far she’ll go! You will have helped her achieve her career goals, whether she becomes the next Sara Blakely or goes on to follow her dream of opening a book store in town.
And hopefully, she’ll take your lead and pay it forward, too. Together we can build and create a limitless future filled with endless possibilities!
To learn more about mentoring, check out these formal programs: (I’ll be checking into them and will let you know what path I decide to choose)
Show me a successful individual, and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in their life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure someone was cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”
– Denzel Washington
Are you currently involved in a mentoring program? And do you have any advice to share? Please let me know in the comments below!
Also, do you know someone who might be considering becoming a mentor? Please send this her way!
(This post was originally published on August 10, 2021, and has been updated for thoroughness and clarity.)