What is a Mentor? (Hats off to mine)

How would you answer that?  The Webster Dictionary definition goes like this:

1: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2: an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
At the base of it, those are terrific definitions.  However, I have come to realize that a true mentor goes far beyond those two definitions.
Locally, I have the privilege of being acquainted with two women who are life coaches.  Alicia Wagner is one of those ladies. She offers women, young and old, a ridiculous amount of belief in themselves simply by helping them look deep into themselves to see their own true potential.  She pulls the best out in someone even when they themselves don’t believe it is there.  Alicia does this with so much grace it sometimes blows my mind as I watch her.
Another is Rachel Hobson. I have enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with Rachel and learn more about what she does, and to be honest, I had never heard the term ‘life coach’ before meeting her!  She is so gentle and compassionate, and her love for others is so truly apparent. I am not professionally involved with either of these fantastic women, yet, I have the opportunity to be in different networking circles with them.  I mention them in this blog about ‘mentors’ because perhaps that is how I see them. The reason is I watch them interact with others and I see a true compassion and desire to see women (and men) succeed in life. What they do professionally is not their ‘job’ it is their passion in life.
Which brings me back to my topic on mentoring, or being a mentor.  I have the most amazing privilege to work along side of a lady (and I mean that in every sense of the word) who is a true mentor in the definition of the word, but, is so much more!
I have come to realize a true mentor is much, much more than a ‘helper’.  A true mentor is someone who teaches you, guide you, EXPECTS from you, and yet does so with understanding of having ‘been there’.  She or he is also walking the same journey with you.  Has struggled just like you, yet has the tools to offer on how she overcame those struggles.
She/he can also be a friend. Always, no?  Sometimes, yes.  It is always smart to separate professional from personal, yet, sometimes those lines do cross.
I know this, because personally, my mentor is also my friend.  A few years ago, I was teamed up with Joni (that’s her name) in business.  At that point, we were simply business acquaintances, living hundreds of miles apart.  We finally met in person about a year ago.  It was fun to finally meet my friend in person.  We stayed friends and team mates with our old company.
She was there for me when I dealt with some serious health issues with a family member, and I for her (I think she would say the same) when she walked through the journey of death with her father.
In March of this year she and I spoke about a new part of her journey.  I was very interested in hearing more about it, and as a result, decided to join her.  I am so very thankful, and will always be, to our previous company because without that she and I would have NEVER met.
I am thrilled to pieces to be on this most amazing adventure with her.  She ‘gets’ me, ya know?  It is important to ‘get’ those people that you are mentoring.  It is equally important to know that your mentor ‘gets’ you.  I tell her she is my #1.5 supporter and cheerleader ~ 1.5 because (most the time) #1 goes to my longsuffering hubster.
A true mentor helps you see the potential in yourself and spurs you on to do better. Joni cheers me on DAILY! She pulls me up when I need to be pulled up, she checks me when I need checking. She is 100% in my corner.  These are the  attributes of a true mentor.
What about you?  Are you a mentor, or the one being mentored?  Or, perhaps both?  Are you just starting your journey in business and ‘need’ a mentor? If that is the case I strongly suggest you find one.  You can’t do it alone!
I am in the position where I am both.  All I can say is this, if I am half the mentor that Joni is, I am 100% ahead of the game. I could not be more blessed to have her in my life.
I caution you, though ~ before you take on the hat of a mentor, it is wise to make sure you have one of your own!  We all need one, and we need to learn to be a mentor with grace and compassion.  Though, of course, there are times when we all need a swift kick in the backside, and need to be told to pull up our big girl panties. However, learning how to say those things within the confines of your mentees personality, based on your relationship with them!
All of that to say, today’s blog is really dedicated to my friend and mentor, Joni Cristello-Eberly.  I could not be walking this amazing journey in Beautycounter without you!
Toodles for today!
Laura Beck