Mentors are wonderful people and my mentor is a brilliant woman.
To this day, she’s the one person, outside my immediate family, who can persuade me to do anything—okay, almost anything.
Some twenty plus years ago, at the tender age of 27, (corporate fresh meat) she took me under her wing and showed me how swim around the sharks. I was taught how to dress for success, exude confidence and most important, to be on my game at all times. I marveled at the way she handled herself—with style and knowledge. No one received more or less of her time or respect. She conducted business with the CEO, vice-presidents, other communications professionals and the cleaning lady. I’m indebted to her for teaching me “how to.”
As far as my literary endeavors are concerned, next to my parents, my mentor was and is still my biggest cheerleader. She was my unofficial PR person and responsible for my first speechwriting gig.
Looking back at my career as an educator and a communications professional, I’ve discovered it takes a special type of person to take another under his or her wing. It takes a giving, confident, and secure person to take an interest in someone else’s success.
For anyone who has started over or just started in general—you know there’s always something you don’t know, or need to learn. In the beginning, you experience a level of frustration when you realize nothing you’ve learned thus far seems to make a difference.
Yet, many of us have had someone in our corner who cared about our success as much as we did. If you didn’t have a mentor, you obtained knowledge from someone—a coworker, a professor, a lover or a stranger–perhaps the author of a “how to book.” Whatever the medium, the bottom line is that someone took the time to explain.
As I start yet another career in my life, one of a romance author, I’ve been blessed again to meet people in the publishing industry who don’t mind taking the time to help and/or mentor a newcomer. They don’t mind because they remember starting at point A, treading lightly to point B and finally easing into the big “C,”–a rewarding career.
Although she’s retired now, my mentor makes it her business to email or call me. She tells me that she enjoys my column and then in the same breath provides unsolicited, yet exacting criticism.
I’ve learn that mentoring someone or taking a person under your wing is free, gratis, doesn’t cost a dime, not one red cent—nada. It’s also satisfying and if anything, it makes you a better person.
For those of us still trying to get to heaven or redeem ourselves for some indiscretion, mentoring someone or taking an interest in a “newbie’s” success may earn us a few bonus points.