By Tessa Greenspan (as told to Nanette Wiser)
My mother was my first, but not last, mentor. She taught by example, with humor and love the lessons of working hard, thinking outside of the box and resiliency.
Over the years, I’ve looked for mentors in business and life as well as mentored individuals and businesses. Women President’s Organization (WPO), my networking group, helps me navigate legal challenges and create new marketing ideas for my companies. Right now, my Webster University Professor of Communications who is mentoring me to improve my speaking skills in person and online so that I can deliver talks and interviews via ZOOM.
A mentor matters. Finding one is easy. Look for someone in your field via Linked In or local networking groups. Take a professional class and use the instructor as a mentor. If you are having trouble with a difficult boss or co-worker, find a mentor. Not sure about a career change? Find a mentor! Once you have found a mentor, be sure to keep a journal of their advice and tips so that down the way, you might mentor someone else.
The first step is to define what skill you want to hone or goal you hope to accomplish. Perhaps you are looking to change careers/professions. Finding a mentor in the new field helps you define whether than new career or entrepreneurial business launch is for you. While it’s difficult right now to grab coffee or take someone to lunch, you can still ask for a ten minute touchbase by phone or video.
YouTube and Master Classes offer mentors on every topic under the sun. There’s nothing you can’t learn these days. If you like what you see, reach out to that person on social media or email. A mentor doesn’t need to be forever, and it can be a village of resources that helps you on your professional or personal journey.
Right now, I am mentoring two people. The first is a lovely woman in financial services who wants to expand her business. I am helping her to network, providing business tips, helping her to identify target audience and develop marketing for those groups as well as engaging current and potential clients with blogs and social media. As a mentor I give her assignments such as setting goals, discussing call strategy and talking points.
I’m also mentoring a recent college student, a brilliant young girl who is working in business and tech. She is developing software that helps teachers and young people make decisions, and we are brainstorming on the content, business plan, financial resources for start-up and roll-out.
Mentors and mentoring work for every demographic. According to new survey findings from digital executive coaching platform Tone Networks, executive coaching and access to mentors and role models could be the links to lowering stress levels and increasing workplace confidence among Millennial women.
Two out of three (68%) millennial women said having access to coaching and leadership development tools would help them feel more confident and less stressed, although 2 out of 5 (44%) Millennials said their job does not provide adequate access to mentors, and 43% said their job doesn’t provide adequate access to role models.
For baby boomers exiting the 9-5 corporate workplace to find their encore chapter, mentoring is extremely helpful. And the emotional satisfaction of mentoring someone after years of on-the-job experience is equally exciting.
At Vital Femme, d’Alene Fallon is mentoring women on surviving menopause in her social media, eblasts and workshops. Dr. Michael Mantell’s The Daily Five on social media and Thrive Global really helps us reset our mind-body priorities and mentors us through these trying times with positivity.
I’m getting a lot of requests for talks on various topics, especially “How To Be Positive in a Negative World.” It’s the core of my motivational work online and in social media. When I started this two years ago, I never anticipated a challenging global pandemic would make my mentoring work in this area so important.
And of course, mentoring youth and disadvantaged members of our community also resonates in these times. If you are looking for a mentoring opportunity, check with your local resources, Chamber of Commerce, civic groups or faith-based organization to see who might need your help. This is also a great resource: https://www.mentoring.org/program-resources/mentoring-connector/
Find a mentor today to improve performance, for personal career development, counselling and an extensive knowledge base and perspective that you can’t get by yourself. Then pay it forward when it’s your time to be a mentor. It may be one of the most life-changing experiences you will ever have.
Tessa Greenspan is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Her book, “From Outhouse to Penthouse: Life Lessons on Love, Laughter and Leadership,” is available on Amazon. Nanette Wiser is a multimedia journalist and media consultant.