Encouraging Individuality and Fearlessness

Creating opportunities for others through mentorship is particularly important to me. When I was growing up, I had the benefit of guidance from a community of women that included my mother, grandmother, and others. Having a strong family structure helped to build my confidence. Because so many women I have met or are related to supported, poured into, and challenged me, I was able to achieve many of my goals. It is critical to open doors for others after you have succeeded. For women, this is especially true. While we have made noteworthy progress, there is still a long way to go in pay equity and increasing the number of women in C-suites. We cannot look up so much that we forget to look behind to see others we can help.

Encouraging diversity of thought and individuality, and embracing differences are just some of the rich experiences to be gained by mentoring women. Because of these aspects, mentorship can be as rewarding to the mentor as it is to the mentee. As trusted advisors, mentors lay the foundation for encouraging fearlessness in their mentees by promoting the use of their voices to speak up with confidence when appropriate. Courteous, candid communication is valuable and strengthens relationships—in the workplace and outside it.

On the issue of individuality, specifically, becoming our best selves happens we are challenged. This is a practical and useful component of mentorship because the world we live in is constantly evolving. Exposure to situations, opinions, and environments that take us out of our comfort zones, offers opportunities to expand our consciousness and knowledge base. We also learn and appreciate perspectives other than our own. Our “uniqueness” is what separates us from each other and what makes us interesting. Finally, being challenged contributes to our growth as people, business professionals, parents, and partners.