"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction."- John C. Crosby
Do you have a wise, experienced person who takes an active role in your life? The type of person you can go to when you need guidance or just a sounding board. Someone you know has your back and is not interested in steering you in the wrong direction, but genuinely wants to see you succeed and is willing to partner with you on your journey.
Years ago when I was a newbie in the direct selling business, I was taken under the wings of two experienced business women. Both were older than me, they had a combined total of 25 years experience in direct sales and they were also among the top sellers in our district.
My mentors were not only two people I genuinely liked but also respected. Their willingness to mentor me was a crucial turning point in my young business. They taught me the basics of running a business; such as how to connect with new customers and women who were interested in self-employment, growing my sales and the importance of great customer service. Whenever I had questions or needed encouragement, they were only a phone call away.
The relationship with my mentors helped to light a fire under me; I not only wanted to reach their sales levels, but I also wanted to surpass them. I was a young entrepreneur with big dreams.
One incident that made a lasting impact on me is an example of what a good mentor relationship looks like. One day I was out promoting my business when a Hispanic woman and her daughter approached me after noticing the brochures I was holding. The woman expressed an interest in the products I was selling and in starting her own business. I was excited about the possibility of a new person joining my team. As we engaged in conversation, it became clear that while the woman spoke some English it was necessary to have her daughter translate for us. Within several minutes I was able to schedule an appointment to have the woman officially become a part of my team.
The day of the appointment I received a call from the woman’s daughter asking if we could reschedule because she would not be available to translate. As we continued to talk I remembered something one of my mentors said to me when I told her about the appointment the day before. My mentor, who spoke fluent Spanish, told me if I needed any help to call her. So I asked the daughter and the woman, who also was on the line if I could call them back in a few minutes because I might have someone who could help us with the appointment. I contacted my mentor, filled her in on what was going on and asked if she could attend the appointment with me and she agreed. Her willingness to help enabled me to begin building my team of women entrepreneurs.
The experience with my mentors was important not only in helping me to build my business but also it taught me the value of this type of relationship. Over the years I have had other opportunities as a mentee and the privileged to share my wisdom and provide guidance to others as a mentor.
Mentor/mentee relationships can be structured in a formal way such as belonging to a mentoring organization. These relationships can also be informal for example, a person you respect in a particular area (business, career, faith) could be someone you approach about the possibility of establishing this type of relationship. In my case, the two women in my sales district reached out to me and I was open to learning all I could from them.
If you have never experienced a mentor/mentee relationship, I encourage you to explore it as a possibility. The investment you make in yourself and in your life will be worthwhile.
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