Friday, November 14, 2008

Speech from Nov.11

I get asked 2 questions all the time.

#1 What's a mentor?

The dictionary says it is a trusted advisor or guide.

I believe that a mentor is someone who is committed to that guiding and advising. Most importantly, a mentor is your safe place where you can discuss the tougher questions - anything from heart-held career goals to work/life balance to office politics to self-doubt.

#2 What does it take to be a mentor?

The ability to listen. A desire to share. A willingness to examine your own motives, methods, and mistakes.

All of which means you have to be as open and receptive as your mentoree. Which is hard because I don’t like admitting I don’t know anymore than the next person does.

And an understanding that mentoring contributes to the greater community.

Mentoring has brought me so much.
• Access to bright women willing to debate and discuss
• Involved examinations of areas of strength
• Stronger understanding of best practice

I like to think of it as: creative friendships and dialogues I wouldn’t otherwise have.

It’s conversations that will last a lifetime.

So why do we need to come together to talk about this?

I believe that everyone is looking for a mentor. Call it a yogi, guru, advisor, whatever.

It has nothing to do with career level and everything to do with reaching for more or pushing to be better or find more… More knowledge = better insight.

Our capacity is not limitless and that's a painful lesson. We're limited by our intellect, emotional availability, height, arm strength, attention span, ability to undrstand grade 10 calculus - these are all limits.

And if we have difficulties moving beyond our own limits then we adapt by borrowing or leaning on the capabilities of others. My son gets the cans off the high shelf. My friend explains politics. My boss finesses a project plan. We use those we know around us. It only makes sense to therefore collect and cherish as many people around you as you can.

You might not always get everything you want and unfortunately sometimes you might not even achieve what you need but your chances are greater if you ask for help, actively seek it and contribute to the needs of others.

Mentoring is vital! Vital to any sector, to any person doing anything at which they want to excel.

Always remember - No one does anything without a community behind them

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