Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mentors and models

Are you a mentor for someone?

Before you shake your head "No," think about it for a minute. Being a mentor doesn't have to be a formal arrangement, although sometimes it is. Just as often, it simply means that you have one or more women in your life (and they may be younger but not necessarily) who see you as having gone where they are going. They look to you as a role model or guide.

After I had broken one glass ceiling in a former workplace and was attempting to break an even bigger one (it felt like a concrete ceiling, to be honest!), I had a couple people who served as mentors to me. They gave me tips and ideas, things they'd learned as they came up through the ranks. They even helped me think about what to wear for the Big Interview! Even though I didn't break that ceiling after two attempts, I still learned a lot about leadership from those mentors.

Just as important in my life, however, have been those mentors and role models I've had informally. I still have several. And while formally I'm a mentor to a high school student, it's very possible that I am one for other women—and don't even know it. No doubt you are, too.

One of my dear friends often tells me that it's important to her to have female friends of all ages: some who are older and have gone before her to light the way and others who are younger who remind her of where she has been (and who, no doubt, see her as a mentor and role model).

Does it change anything you say or do if you see yourself as a mentor? I see mentoring as a wonderful way to use even more fully that which we have learned, some of it the hard way! It's a wonderful way to extend and share wisdom. What experiences have you had with mentors and mentoring? Please share with us in the Comment box so we can gain from your insights. Thank you!

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