>> 15 September 2010
Many women follow in the footsteps of their mothers.
Others are bound to follow their fathers'.
What your parents teach you is of course hugely important. It shapes your life, your opinions, your behaviour.
But usually it is someone else who opens up the world for you.
Sometimes it's an uncle or aunt, a teacher, an older working colleague or an older friend.
They teach you subtleties, give you business advice, tell you all about behavioral skills. They follow you on a project, guide you, make you accountable, advise you, soundboard you, give you shit on purpose so that when the big day comes you are prepared.
Sometimes you are not so lucky as know such a person.
The good news is that you can look for one: among the people you know, or the people they know. You can find one online, at school, at work. You can find one for regular sessions or just for a pitch you are preparing.
Do you ask yourself any of the following questions?
- Am I working on something where I would like to get more than just a 'love/hate' response?
- Is there anything I would like to start but don't know how? (a business, a blog, a community garden, a painting...)
- I know what my passion is, but could I make a living doing that?
- I don't know what my passion is. How do I find it?
- I have this idea. How do I know if it's viable?
- I'm in this dead end job. How do I turn it around?
- How do I balance my work and my private life? Oh and be happy and serene at the same time?
- How the hell do other people do this?
- I need to give this presentation. How do I know if it works and is good?
- I would love to know what his/her success story is. How did he/she do it?
Take a small project. Ask someone 'older and wiser' for advice, to help you set it up.
Mentors are not there to tell you what you should do, or to give you all the keys. They help you to find your own answers, they show you and explain the different options, but you still have to choose and travel down that road yourself.
They make you stronger and surer of yourself.
Can you be a mentor?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the most important life lessons I have learned and wish I had known earlier?
- Do I have friends who have kids and would love it if I took them away on a discovery tour for an afternoon?
- Is there anyone I know who struggles with something I am familiar with or have gone through myself?
- Is someone showing an interest in a topic that I could help them with?
- What am I good at that I would love to pass on to someone else?
Mentoring doesn't have to be complicated, bureaucratic and full of rules. You don't need a diploma to become one.
It is often as simple as showing someone your passion and how you became who you are.
Sometimes it is all about asking a few questions.
And we can all do that.