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What it takes to be a mentor (it might be different than you think)

When you picture a mentor, what do you see? A silver-haired executive with more than his or her fair share of “war stories”? The successful, fast talking company star?

In my volunteer experiences with organizations like TeamWomenMNMentoring Monday and Baker Tilly’s GROW (Growth and Retention of Women) initiative, I’ve often seen people not pursue mentoring because they don’t believe they have the right amount of experience, time or skills to effectively guide someone in their career. The truth is, mentoring isn’t dependent upon those things.

What mentoring is (and what it isn’t)

  • Mentoring is about listening. As a mentor, it’s not your job to solve your mentee’s problems. Your role is to actively listen and help her uncover possible solutions. Brainstorm, listen, talk through different outcomes, ask questions and provide advice sparingly.
  • Being a mentor is not a full-time (or even part-time) gig. While consistent check-ins with your mentee are advisable, constant communication is not necessary – nor is it healthy! It is okay to set boundaries and not be perpetually accessible. If she wants more time or involvement than you can provide, communicate that. Have a conversation about expectations right away so you both know what to expect and neither feel overwhelmed or ignored.
  • Mentoring is not forever. Agreeing to be a mentor is not a life-long commitment. At the beginning of the relationship, it’s a good idea to discuss the length of time your mentee would like to be mentored. Twelve months is a good timeframe to start with. After a year, evaluate together if continuing the relationship for another six or twelve months would be beneficial.
  • Being a mentor doesn’t have to wait until you’re in the c-suite. Don’t have your own career completely figured out? Still climbing the corporate ladder? Made more than your share of career missteps? You might just have what it takes to be a mentor. To be an effective mentor, you don’t have to be (or act) perfect or have achieved all of your career goals. The more genuine and real you can be with your mentee by sharing the lessons you’ve learned throughout your career – both successes and failures – the deeper the connection and benefit for both of you.

Mentors play an important role in the professional lives and development of young women and, as a mentor, it can be incredibly rewarding to observe the impact you’ve had on your mentee’s career goals and aspirations.

Are you up for the challenge? I think you are.

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Are Toxic Habits Getting in the Way of Your Success?

The beginning of every new year brings a clean slate and an excitement for success yet unknown. The new year also brings along plenty of opportunities for companies to proclaim that you can find success by reading their book, joining their gym, downloading their app – the list goes on. If you are like me, the last thing I need is to add another task to my to-do list that I may or may not (most likely will not) complete. A confirmation of this are the five books sitting next to my bed that I have dog-eared in hopes to find time to one day get back to reading them.

That is why I was all in when I can across Elle Kaplan’s article, You Need to Give Up These Toxic Habits If You Want to Be Exceptionally Successful. Give up something and become successful? Yes, please. In seven simple, realistic steps, Kaplan breaks down the common bad habits that are standing in the way of your success. In reading this article and following these steps, I might be bold enough to state that you could potentially become a better person and even someone that others prefer to surround themselves with.

If you are ready to remove a few bad habits from your life in order to achieve success in the year ahead, take five minutes out of your day and reflect on these seven simple steps to a successful – and lighter – you.

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”

–        Benjamin Franklin

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Lesson in Positivity

Positivity is a trait everyone strives for, right? But when it really comes down to it, is it a trait that’s actually highly regarded in the business world? Or is it the mental toughness of seeing possible downfalls that make someone a more critical thinker? Naturally, both are important. If we only saw negative possibilities, no one ever would start new companies. Then again if we only acknowledged the silver lining and didn’t take into account the real, potentially negative possibilities, we wouldn’t have wise business practices. All in all, it’s a delicate balance.

I am a “half glass full” kind of person by default, but I also naturally analyze possible negative outcomes – so I can determine better methods to achieve goals. A beloved soul who encouraged positivity and self/external reflection was Zig Ziglar. No longer with us, Zig had many inspiring anecdotes. Take a minute to scroll through insights that can benefit you today — these might bring the breakthrough you’ve been needing in your mindset!

“If you wait until all the lights are “green” before you leave home, you’ll never get started on your trip to the top.”

https://www.positivityblog.com/zig-ziglar/