An exploration of the role of mentorship in helping women achieve their goals and reach their full potential
The idea of mentorship is not a new one. We have mentors, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from the moment we are born. A mentor is an experienced person who guides someone else in the area of their learned experience. Our parents are often our first mentors, followed by immediate family, friends, school peers, etc. As we become older, we often have to seek a mentor and ask for guidance and teachings to help us navigate the world of work, business, and life as adults.
For women, in particular, having a mentor can be an invaluable resource. It is an incredibly powerful tool for women who want to reach their goals and realize their full potential. Throughout history, mentors have played a vital role in helping women succeed in numerous fields—from business and academia to politics and the arts. By providing guidance, advice, and support, a mentor can help open doors, remove obstacles, and support their mentee’s growth.
“Mentorship saves all kinds of time and experience,” explains Diana Wentworth, New York Timesmultiple bestselling author and founder of The Inside Edge Foundation for Education. “Those who have traveled a road ahead of you are often truly joyful to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. The wisdom gathered from a mentor can be invaluable.” A mentor is often able to reflect back to you your own unique beauty, qualities, and talents, thereby empowering you to see yourself in the best way possible, something many of us are not able to do on our own. Women, in particular, struggle with what they feel they should do versus what they need to do and become to fulfill their potential in this world. Diana is no stranger to this concept. During a conversation with one of her mentors, Rev. Peggy Bassett, she was asked the most important question that anyone has ever asked her, “Diana, are you driven or are you drawn?” It was this single question from her mentor that woke her up and sparked yet another career reinvention. “This has been my key to my truly magnificent and magical life,” exclaims Diana.
Robin Mullin, a visionary leader and founder of Wisdom Circles, explains the importance of mentorship as we grow through life. “It is critical that we seek to create a support system that provides the resources we need to continually grow into our next best versions of ourselves. As children, our parents or guardians provide food for our body, mind, and spirit. As we set our sights on our dreams, we need to be nurtured in specific ways beyond the scope of family skills. When we can access a network of those who want to support our evolution, we can get the specific nurturing, support, and encouragement we need.” Mentorship doesn’t necessarily mean that you are always setting high goals and making plans to achieve them. Sometimes, the power of mentorship lies in having a safe place where you can explore ideas and, from there, make good decisions. “My best mentors did not drive me to make high goals but drew out of me questions that allowed me to make good decisions. They invited me to stretch and then patiently waited for me to be ready for more. Their examples inspired me to take a closer look at my beliefs, assumptions, and doubts. I was seen, heard, nurtured, and respected. It felt safe to take risks and make mistakes,” shares Mullins.
A mentor differs from a coach or therapist. Penney Peirce, a clairvoyant empath, visionary, author, and popular lecturer and trainer, explains the difference: “A mentor differs from a coach or therapist in that the attitude and the goal are not always limited to either psychological growth or business success, but to a way of approaching one’s deeper purpose in life.” Women are open-minded to mentorship and often want to receive guidance so that they can live more fulfilling lives. It is, after all, our natural way of being, and learning from others. “Perhaps it’s our love of conversing and finding out what’s going on under the surface,” laughs Peirce. “It’s important to offer your knowledge to others, even if you don’t think you know enough. From my earliest days, I was taught and guided by mature, gifted women who saw something in me and helped me believe in myself. They helped bring out my latent gifts – the abilities I would use to live into my life purpose without unnecessary wandering and wasted time.”
Terri Britt, former Miss USA, TEDx speaker, award-winning author, spiritual coach, and founder of Women Leaders of Love Global Community, shares the lessons she has learned from her mentors over the years. “In 1982, I won Miss USA and was immediately assigned a traveling companion in the gift of Ruth Romero. Ruth was the first truly empowered woman I had ever known. She continues to inspire me to treat life as an adventure, to have more fun, and to live out loud. I will forever be grateful for the gift she has been in my life. Another influential mentor for me was Darryl Stinson. Darryl mentored me through my recent experience of becoming a TEDx speaker on the topic of ‘Unconditional Self-Love: A New Family Paradigm.’ Darryl continually encouraged me to go deeper to discover the exact message I wanted to bring out. Through working with him, I not only landed a TEDx stage, but I also found a more profound connection to my mission of helping women break the generational cycle of lack, stress, and struggle so they and their families can thrive.” When women receive mentorship and are able to more joyfully navigate life on passion and on purpose, it flows through to their families and those around them.
One can both receive mentorship and be a mentor at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive. Sophie Zollmann, a bonafide chaos coordinator and founder of SophieZo Next Level Business Support, heads up a team of marketing and operations professionals. Sophie understands what it takes to be a mentor to other women. “The key to successfully mentoring others in my particular skill set lies in a few things. It is the ability to build comradery, to teach and to coach (they are different!), to build relationships, and to facilitate career development. It’s also being a cheerleader. I’m not a friend, but it is also not a cold business relationship. I’m there to offer guidance, support, and advice, whether that be in business or within my mentee’s personal lives. I have created a relationship with the women under my guidance so that they feel safe enough to approach me with anything that they may be struggling with.” Sophie is a mentor to her team but she also receives mentorship in order to reach her fullest potential. “I would not have even started my business if it wasn’t for three key virtual assistants who supported me through the process. Since the conception of my business, I have had an additional three key mentors. Under the guidance of David Neagle, I learned how to cope with the complete loss and failure of a business and how to rebuild it into something bigger and better. With Amira Alvarez, I learned to step into who I really am, to uplevel what I do, and how to present that to the world. And then, Kelly O’Neil helped me take what I had learned from my previous two mentors and turn it into a next-level strategy and business, bringing me to where I am today.”
The power of mentorship for women cannot be underestimated. No matter what stage of life or career a woman is in, mentorship can be a powerful tool for providing guidance and support. With the right mentor, women can take their careers—and lives—to the next level.
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