Why Mentoring Matters: Becoming the Best Version of Ourselves
By Becky David
Certified Coach and Owner of Black Pearl Coaching
I remember sitting in Rick’s office with a clear understanding that my life was about to change for the better. It wasn’t the new job opportunity that lay in front of me or simply the challenge of entering a completely new work environment. I knew that day that my life was going to change because of him. Rick hired me at a time in my life when I was uncertain about where I was headed professionally. He hired me when nearly everyone else that I interviewed with told him to keep on interviewing. Rick believed in me from the beginning, saw potential in me that no one else saw. But most importantly, Rick was willing to take the time and make the commitment to growing me - and not just professionally.
Rick was my first real mentor. He was interested in me, not as a professional or a direct report or employee, but as a human being. Rick’s first concern for me and everyone he mentored was our personal growth. He wanted us to become the best version of ourselves possible. He knew that the rest - the engagement, professional performance, collegial relationships - would take care of themselves. His absolute and profound certainty that I could and would be successful was the second most important thing he offered me, behind, of course, his unconditional, positive regard for my person.
I have been mentored, started mentoring programs and served as a mentor because I believe that the mentoring relationship can serve as a catalyst to personal and professional growth. The ROI is remarkable. Rick’s mentoring nurtured my own desire to be the best version of myself, to not be afraid to stretch, to look honestly at who I am and how I move in the world. The lessons he taught me accompany me everyday as I move through the world.
So why mentoring? Because it takes a village. It takes a village for all of us to become the best versions of ourselves. I mentor because I believe all of us, and especially women, need the wisdom, insight, and strength of those who have already walked the path. Professor Hugh Kerr said, “All wisdom is plagiarism. Only stupidity is original”. I have lived that truth too! Women need a tribe, especially in this culture where we are too often encouraged to play small for others’ comfort. Women need the wisdom of our sages to propel us into our future, to help us imagine it, work for it, and realize it.