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“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” – Bob Proctor
Having a mentor can make a huge difference to a woman’s career, her choices and the consequences those choices have on her.
Women are sensitive and emotional, they need someone to hear them out, give decisions, pat on their backs and see that hidden spark in them, when they themselves hit the bottom and have no one to talk to.
For example, if you tell your husband that ‘I have to pick up the child from school. But I have work too.’ He would causally say ‘anyone can pick up the child. Relax.’ Men don’t understand, what you as a mother feel. You would know how important it is to be seen by your child standing outside school. Similarly, your senior male boss in the office might not understand why you are taking leaves when your child is sick. Men don’t understand how important it is for your sick child to sleep on your lap the entire night, but consequentially keeping you wide awake for hours. No matter how beautiful these little acts are, quite often they are unspoken, unseen by others, simply because their value cannot be understood. And very often, while explaining their significance itself, their value is lost somewhere.
This is exactly where the mentor comes in.
The Role of a Mentor
No matter what you are going through, the mentor is one such person who understands what you can take and what you can’t, what you can go through and what you can’t, what you are and essentially, what you aren’t.
A mentor is someone who takes you out of the morass, from the deep, murky corners of your soul that depress and de-motivate you in various ways as you try to find your work-life balance and suffer from further questions concerned with your time, identity and focus. A mentor lets you know that it’s time to either switch from short term goals to long term goals or vice versa, letting you talk to yourself.
A mentor hears your self-doubt, lets you face your worst fears and tells you the truth about you yourself, which often people don’t. Thus, it’s like seeing yourself in a mirror and getting rejuvenated and cleansed from the old thoughts and negative memories.
At the same time, the entire process cannot be one-sided. You need to show the zeal, the energy, and the stamina to keep up with the mentorship. Very often, we get good bosses, reporting managers, or colleagues but getting a good mentor within them, is very difficult.
Power of Mentoring
Be it seminars, meetings or walks, there are several channels that are now being created to help women across the world to feel connected and support each other. One of these avenues is India Mentor Development Programme, started by Aswin Yogesh from Chennai. The main goal of the programme is to increase the number of successful women entrepreneurs in India, who are growing businesses that create wealth and much-needed jobs.
Stuti Jalan, Founder & Managing Editor, Crosshairs Communications believes that in such avenues, women are able to open up and bond. In such platforms, she further reiterates, that women can get mentorship from other women who are from a different business line and hence, have a completely different perspective of looking at things.
For example, for someone working in the architectural field, a women mentor from the travel industry can, make a whole lot of difference. So, the mentor can enlighten the person working in the architectural field, a lot about her own field, giving her a very different insight by making her think cognitively and deeply, from a traveller’s perspective.
While, others find solace in platforms like that, there are several females who have found mentors in their home, in the form of a mother, a sister or sometimes, even a daughter. For example, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty said believes that when she needs some mentoring on the ‘balancing act,’ she turns to her mother.
Thus, you never know where you can find your mentor.
Importance of Women Mentors
So, what’s the importance for a woman to be mentor?
Well, a report by ET, reveals that women in workplace have a growing need of mentorship because of the large number of male counterparts. Having a mentor at work place is more a very rare and supportive combination, which is generally not easily achieved. A simple reason has always been behind it, as stated by Nischala Murthy Kaushik, who is both, a mom and a marketeer. She believes that most women are not able to be good mentors because they never found one during their careers. Hence, they simply do not know how to handle the pressure or even listen and respond.
Nevertheless, any woman who does things differently, breaks the stereotypes, inspires other women too. Shahnaz Husain, the Founder & Managing Director of The Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies often recollects how India’s first Female Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi had encouraged her to take Ayurveda to the international platform by attending the ‘See India’ festival that was going to be held in London. Not only were her products a big hit, she was also able to exponentially expand her market.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of women holding job positions in both public and private companies. There are several ‘women friendly’ initiatives which are also introduced by the companies like the Tata Group’s ‘Second Life’ programme which helps women to work back after a sabbatical in their work life.
A lot of credit to such kind of changes can be given to the women mentors who have had the opportunities to make changes for the coming generation.