Updated: Sep 9, 2019
How do I find a mentor?
How do I find time to mentor others?
It’s like putting on your mask first on an airplane then putting on another’s mask.
The more important question is: how do we not mentor? How is it that I don’t have a mentor?
Mentors are advocates. They are lifesavers. They check-in. They know our deepest goals and our biggest fears. They hear about the big meeting or the lonely feeling of the new quiet in stay-at-home momming. They support. They challenge. They inspire.
Mentors tell their stories about the mountains they climbed and the fires they put out so you won’t have to. They ask for feedback and freely give it. They make that 9am phone call to check in with the mother or a newborn who has been up all night. They take you out for coffee, not to get the latest gossip or get the client or to look good to others, but because they truly appreciate the benefit of mentoring. To give advice, counsel, and career / life guidance, for the sole purpose of creating joy, success, fulfillment for you.
And what ends up happening? The mentor learns more than the mentee. The student becomes the teacher. The mentor hears her own advice. She sees how far she has come and what she has overcome and she thrives. She is more confident, more joyful. She goes away from her own challenges and helps another solve her problems.
She then sees the power of mentoring and finds the courage to seek out her own mentors. She spends time watching other women whom she admires and seeks out. She pays attention to the authors who move her to action and the politicians she admires, the former bosses who helped her and perhaps should continue to mentor her. She asks. She fosters connection and relationship with women who can help her climb, grow, and achieve. She asks for help.
Successful mentors seek more mentees. The women who know the struggle look to help other women, and the best place to start is middle school. Go to your local public or private middle school. You may be surprised to learn that most have a formal mentoring program and if they don’t, start one. Seek interns. Create an internship program in your office or profession, vocation or venture. Find young women to inspire and then find another and another. Encourage goal setting, team building, accountability. Teach her to dream. Make sure she understands that “me too” will not include her because she will decide alongside her connections. “Not me, not now, not ever.”
Together, we can accomplish more.
We can take the time to have the conversations. We will be able to name five local politicians, ten senators, twenty representatives, and one president who is a woman. In 2020, when women celebrate the centennial of earning the right to vote; and the sisters of 1920 look on as we exercise that constitutional right, will these mentors be smiling upon us? Have we connected to create joy in what we do or are we women divided? Whatever you believe about politics, religion, or sex, decide that as women, we can connect to celebrate women, to collaborate to create joy in all we do and all we are. Find your small group of women and expand it by adding new mentors, up, across and down.
On the 20th of each month, check in with your mentor / mentee and inspire joy in her today. Here are some practical ways you can celebrate and mentor another woman on the 20th of the month:
1. Write her a handwritten card, highlighting something she did for you, something she is to you, some reason to thank her.
2. Write an email about her amazing recent achievement – no matter how big or small – and copy her boss
3. Make her a home cooked dinner
4. Hold her new baby while she naps
5. Babysit her kids on a Saturday night while she has a night off or a date night
6. Attend a women’s event together and tell her how much you appreciate x, y, z about her or what you admire about her – her resilience, her patience, her leadership style, her performance in last week’s meeting, etc
7. Write her a performance review even when it’s not due. Shower her with praise and challenge her to go for that next promotion
8. Encourage her to run for office
9. Ask her what her biggest stressor or problem is and brainstorm solutions
10. Collaborate on a project and then give her the credit
11. Mentor across industries. Even though you may not understand the subject matter, listen to her challenges and ask if she’d like advice. If so, freely give it. If not, just listen.
12. Go out for drinks. Go for a walk. Be a friend. Keep her confidence. Follow up.
13. Recommend her on Linked In and other social media. Risk big to watch her succeed big. Her success is a win for all women.
14. Take her out to celebrate.
15. Ask two or three women to be on a mentoring team for her. Share ideas. Decide she is the next big thing. Demand she be promoted.
16. Thank a teacher. Write emails about how amazing your kids’s teachers are. Back them up. Ask your kids to respect them. Bring them treats like paper towels and wipes and pencils and coffee. Write them cards and smile when you see them. Appreciate them. Celebrate them.
17. Encourage women to take family leave. Encourage men to take family leave. Support families.
18. Help high school girls by writing them letters of recommendation. Mentor teens and keep mentoring them into adulthood and into real adulthood. Be a mentor for life. Write them texts and encourage them. Ask how they are doing. Ask how you can help. Be funny. Share your true stories about high school. Be there.
19. Mentor your own daughters. Find out what they fear. Be cool. Listen. Laugh. Help then figure it out. Set boundaries. Know their friends. Mentor their friends. Know the boys in their life. Know the girls. Know the words they use and listen. Listen more. Talk less. Mentor by doing. Go for walks. Visit places. Watch and smile. Hug them. Collect the phones and play cards as a family and talk.
20. Love your spouse. Mentor him. Let him mentor you. Respect him. Laugh at his jokes. Wake up grateful. Live joy. Ask how you can help. Plan your day. Respect his colleagues and friends. Honor your parents and his. Love your children. Show affection. Play. Be fun, flirt and be funny. Play more. Love your life.
The best mentors mentor constantly. They have continuous conversations about performance, goals, and strategy. They give positive feedback and honest critiques. The link performance to corporate missions and strategy. They challenge and rebuild. They are always honest. They guide. They build women to their best selves. They connect, collaborate and celebrate.
If you are in need of a mentor, join WC2020 where mentoring and connection happens. If you would like to serve as a mentor to WC2020 women, please let us know. If you need a mentor, please reach out. If you are a high school or middle school teen, and you would like a mentor, we are here for you!
To learn more, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting you, mentoring you, and learning from you. Together, we will celebrate women helping women.
Create joy through mentoring.
To your success,