It’s been 9 months since I started meeting regularly with a small group of aspiring women leaders. Every month, we get together and talk about a myriad of topics. This week, I was running a few minutes late to our lunch gathering and witnessed something magical.
They didn’t wait for me.
Instead, they were connecting on their own, asking each other questions about work and life, opportunities and challenges. It was beautiful to behold.
In the last few months, I have been spending a lot of time thinking and talking with others about mentoring.
When I bring up the topic, and ask people about their mentoring experiences, most are quick to point out that they have never been in a formal mentoring relationship.
In one case, I asked a group of women I meet with regularly if they have mentors. Each of them shook their head no. I asked them “what do you think I am?”
Their surprise was the beginning of what I have started to call the “Prince Charming” theory of mentoring.
As I mentioned last week, I am a serial hobbyist. Though they are hobbies, I’m not one to do things halfway. Instead, I tend to go all in, with training, practice and whatever else I think might be necessary to excel at the given hobby.
When my son came home, I quickly became dissatisfied with the pictures I was taking of him. I only have one image of me and my father from when I was young, so I was determined to take a LOT of pictures and that they’d turn out well. That wasn’t going to happen unless I invested some serious time and effort…spawning photography as a hobby and passion.
Over the course of several years, I evolved my knowledge, skill and technique to increasing levels of ability, eventually opening a studio and showing my work in galleries. Looking back, I can see the evolution clearly…and it’s very similar to what leaders must go through to improve their ability and achieve greatness.