- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Mentorship’
I mentor a young woman who is getting her undergraduate degree. She recently interviewed me for her entrepreneur class. One of the questions she asked moved me very much.
Her question was, “What does it mean to you to think about yourself as an entrepreneur?” I haven’t sat down and thought about this question in a very long time. I sat back to reflect in order to give her an honest and sincere answer. Instead what I discovered is that I became quiet emotional at the privilege I had to be an entrepreneur.
As I reflected on the last ten years of my life in running this company, two things stood out as themes to my answer: honor and responsibility.
To be an entrepreneur for me means to be a pioneer and a trend-setter while helping people and organizations choose to see things differently and excel. It is an honor and a privilege to be an entrepreneur and it is clearly NOT for everyone. Everyday is exciting and fun. Others may see risk and instability, I see a promise to be better and impact the world in a positive way. I see it as my responsibility and an honor.
Every day it is my privilege to be allowed into our clients’ lives and hearts and minds. Rarely is there a day when a client doesn’t drop their guard and become vulnerable with me in an effort to be better and do better. What an honor and a privilege it is to be me and to have clients trust me in this way.
What does this mean for you?
Even if you are not entrepreneur, this line of thinking will serve you well in your work and career and personal life, too. Stop and consider:
- What is an activity in your life that is exciting and fun for you?
- Can you take your current career and/or job and choose to see it from the vantage point of an entrepreneur- as fun, exciting and a true contribution to others?
- If you answered “no” to the question above, can you take just ONE aspect of your current career and/or job and choose to see it that way?
- In your life and career, have you stopped to listen to feedback from others regarding what you do that can be seen as: a) a privilege and b) a way to be of service to others?
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Looking back on my career as a lawyer, I wish I had been assigned a mentor(s) along the way. I had many times where I was confused and overwhelmed. I could have used a sounding board and some helpful advice. I could have used a shoulder to cry on, maybe. I could have also used a mentor to share the good news in my legal career.
Because we never had a formal mentoring program in any of my legal jobs over 14 years, I guess I created my own mentors as I advanced in my career. These turned out to be the same people who saw my potential and gave me new job leads and were also my advocates. I’m grateful for these connections that still live on today, even after I’ve changed careers over 9 years ago.
How did I create my own mentorship program and find informal mentors? I did so because of my personal brand. A strong personal brand is clear and consistent and communicates needs and wants well. A strong and effective personal brand emotionally resonates with happiness.
During my legal career in Washington DC, I remember being very clear about what my purpose was as a lawyer: to practice securities law in various settings, including the SEC, the Hill, in-house and in a law firm. To that end, guess what I did? I told other colleagues about my goals, sharing my purpose as a natural extension of who I was consistently. Not only did I share, but I was happy and excited to do so because it was my belief that I could do so well.
Guess what? It worked! As a result, I had great informal mentors along the way and was privileged and honored to work in all those settings in Washington DC.
Fast forward over a decade into a new career. I now have new mentors myself and share my brand and vision the same way. As a result, I’m now privileged to create personal brands for clients that allow them to be effective mentors and be confident as a mentee.
Every program we designed and offer is about personal branding and mentorship. If your brand isn’t confident, stress-free and happy, then you are not likely to be mentored well nor be an effective mentor. The two concepts go hand in hand. The more we give, the more we receive in life.
Put another way, you must know yourself (your brand) before you can serve others well as a mentor. You must also know yourself (your brand) to be open to growth and change as a mentee.
What does this mean for you? Stop and Consider:
– Do you have a mentor who can give to your career and personal growth? If not, why?
– Do you serve as a mentor to others? If not, why?
– What of your personal brand allows for you to be of service as a mentor or mentee?