When I came to understand our MWN definition for mentoring as “a transfer of knowledge,” I realized that I have lived a successful life as the result of a series of mentors, even though I may not have labeled them as mentors at the time. I had shared in an earlier blog that at the age of 16, I was told by father that “I could do anything I wanted – and would be a success.” It was that “transfer of knowledge/faith in me” that made it possible for me to start a series of businesses over the last 3+ decades, with never a single moment of doubt, because my mentor/father, told me I could!
Another mentor was the first boss I had out of college, a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C., who taught me how to listen to constituents in a way that allowed them to feel heard. He also taught me the art of “working a room” – a skill that I continue to use to this day. I’ve never had a fear of entering a room of strangers and wondering who I could talk to and what I would talk about. Thank you, Senator Ralph Yarborough.
Perhaps one of my most influential mentors was Dr. Stephen R. Covey, for whom I had the pleasure of working for 18 years. While his 7 Habits book “mentored” the millions who read them, it was his message to us as employees on one occasion that truly shaped how I try to live my life: “We are here to do 4 things: to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.” He also taught me that “it is easier to say no when there is a larger yes burning inside.”
AND, I have had strong women mentors as well: Marsha Clark, with whom I co-authored “Choose! The Role Choice Plays in Shaping Women’s Lives;” and Jan Belcher, my BFF, who corners me when I try to play small and challenges me to move in another direction.
A true mentor looks for ways to always be alert for opportunities to support, help, assist, and challenge those around her – to grow, to learn, to play, and to live an extraordinary life.
Let’s hear it for all of us who have succeeded because we mentor and because we allowed ourselves to be mentored!