On Mentoring Women: How Meghan Markle’s Birthday Wish Inspired Me

Did you hear about Meghan Markle’s 40th birthday wish? She asked several friends to dedicate 40 minutes of personal time mentoring women needing support as they reenter the workforce. She’s asking us to find the time to do the same.

Whether you’re in the “Hooray for Meghan Markle!” camp or not, don’t you think this is an excellent idea? 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. By sharing our story and wisdom we can lend our support and make a meaningful difference.

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 currently on a mission of finding the right path to mentoring women myself. Here are some things I’ve researched that highlight the meaning and benefit of mentoring:

1. Change someone’s world by becoming a mentor. 

In your memory, can you identify a teacher, a coach, colleague, or former boss who said or did something that played an integral role in your life’s trajectory? Now’s your chance to pay it forward! Your perspective is unique, and you have experiences that only you can share. And your words might be exactly what your mentee needs to hear to move forward in a new, promising direction.

2. Enhance your leadership skills by mentoring women.

According to Katie Main of thegildcollective.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. 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. You may have forgotten some of the challenges that come with starting out, and your mentee is a great reminder of them. Listening to your mentee’s experiences may broaden your scope of what you can do to engage in your community. This information can 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 the ones creating the workplace of tomorrow. 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, The All Access Group.

Ugh! Don’t we all know this is true! When you think you’re catching on and keeping up with technology, along comes something new. Your mentee will keep you on your toes! But as they move forward in their paths, you can share pearls of wisdom. There are so many things you’ve learned: things that only come from life experience. This relationship can inform both parties in significant ways.

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 own 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),” from University of the People.

Helping others achieve their goals may lead to deeper levels of fulfillment—the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve made a difference. 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 by 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! Whether she becomes the next Sara Blakely or goes on to follow her dream of opening a book store in town – you’ll have made an impact. And hopefully, she’ll take your lead and pay it forward in time, too. Together we can build and create a limitless future filled with endless possibilites!

 

To learn more about mentoring, check out these great organizations: (I’ll be checking into them and will let you know what path I decide to chose)

Big Brothers Big Sisters

StepUp

Empower HER 

YWCA

Girls Inc. 

 

Show me a successful individual, and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” 

– Denzel Washington

Do you currently mentor women? And do you have any advice to share? Would you 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!

 

2 replies
  1. Amy Wanamaker
    Amy Wanamaker says:

    Feeling led to encourage you on your mentorship journey and outline the way that you’ve already had an immense impact on my life through our mentor/mentee, boss/employee relationship…

    Even though you were first and foremost my boss and taught me everything I know about being a valuable member of a workplace, you also were an amazing mentor to me when it came to relationships! I was making some VERY questionable decisions about dating during my 20s – not recognizing my value, not setting boundaries, giving low-effort men way too many chances. You were patient with me and let me come to realizations on my own, but also shared your wisdom and experience and led by example, as you were single at the time, too.

    I give you most of the credit for the fact that I am now engaged to a man who is better than anyone I dared to dream of. I was 29 when I started applying your guidance to my dating life, and when I finally stopped chasing boys around, the good men began to step up. It was an instant shift, and I met my soon-to-be husband within weeks. I’ve also loved watching your new love story from afar – your husband seems like a clear manifestation of everything you knew was coming your way and patiently waited for.

    You are an incredible mentor and an example of a woman who knows her worth – which is (sadly) a very rare thing. Your words of wisdom that you shared with me years ago still resonate with me on a daily basis and I’m so thankful that you were such a strong presence in my life during my 20s.

    Reply
    • Tricia Rose Stone
      Tricia Rose Stone says:

      OMG I’m just reading your full comment. This means so much to me. We had the chance to witness each other’s paths. I’m so glad we left that time and place with more wisdom, experience, and a deeper sense of self-love and self-respect. It was a learning laboratory!
      I guess knowing yourself, and truly seeing the value you bring to this world is the foundation for every single thing that happens along the way.
      You blessed my life from the moment we met. Love to you always xxoo

      Reply

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