We have a mentoring event at office and one of my friends is on the panel. He asked me if I could speak at the event for a few minutes and give my testimonial from last year. I obviously said yes – I love being in the limelight even if I obsess about it before.
This got me thinking about mentoring, meeting new people … friendships.I still remember my first meeting with mentee – it was like meeting a complete stranger and was really awkward. We spoke and I realized that she is in a complete different space than mine – she was into big data, data warehouse. I went home that day thinking about what am I going to do in the mentoring sessions. I was convinced that I cannot add any value. I went home and conferred with my voice of wisdom who told me that its too early and I should not imagine the worse.
We had a first meeting – did introductions – spoke about feedback. She said that one of the feedback she had received was that she needs to be more confident and not ask too many questions to validate what she is doing. I remember using some general quotes and came home and once again conferred with my voice my wisdom [Who is my husband, if you hadn’t guessed that already] and he suggested well – you can tell her what you do about it, right?
It got me thinking – and I started exploring but exploring inwards which is another path to know yourself. Next meeting I suggested that she do a mental chatter exercise where she notes down her mind chatter – just bring awareness. And Voila! next meeting she told me of two instances where she realized that she didn’t have to ask for validation… from then on our journey grew – she painted, she tried different techniques with her team, she took ownership of some of the items in her home and last year she got promoted :). I cannot say that it was all because of me but remember the saying “No smoke without mirrors.”
What did I gain from it? First and foremost the advice you give to others is advice that you need to take. So in essence I was giving advice to myself. I found myself thinking about why don’t I try this in a similar situation.
It makes you pause and wonder about where you are in your journey – my mentee had taken a route which was very different that mine but could have been mine too. We both did our engineering in the same year but she got married right after that and I went gallivanting around the world. And now here we are – it made me realize that it could have been me too.
Once I stopped worrying about adding value and being present – everything worked out well because I was listening to her. Listening is a great skill to have – and it’s not listening to what the other person is telling you but what is she trying to tell you by talking about it. It’s a journey on its own.
I am moving onto new mentees this year but I know I have a friend now.