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Seeking Mentorship and paying it forward.

Like every other human being, we are women, and it always feels empowering to have a driving force behind us. Your ‘go-to’ person who you know shall be just one call (or one meeting) away to guide you and help you ease your workplace woes.

Someone who helps you meet your work deadlines and, in turn, drives you to set new career aspirations—someone who constructively criticizes your work and builds your confidence by employing their experience and knowledge.

The gender of the mentor you seek does not matter; what matters is whether you value their advice and strive to live up to their expectations from you.

You can decide for yourself your next career goal, but here’s where you are stuck.

How do you get there?

Huddle with your mentor, and while trusting their ability to keep your views private, share your plan of action for, say, the next year. The mentor will help you figure out how to put their experience to fair use and help you reach your defined goal. What sounds motivating is the fact that women who have workplace mentors benefit significantly when it comes to employee retention in their organization.

1. Discard the doubts

Another critical issue that needs to be addressed is self-doubts (imposter syndrome, in extreme cases). It creeps into women’s heads, which hinders them from giving their best while reaching a target. There can be many reasons attributed to this — male-dominated work culture, fading confidence in one’s abilities, drifting interest in one’s job.

When viewed on a larger scale, these small issues negatively affect the organization’s vision and profits. The fact that now many companies have started with formal mentoring programs (some catering specifically to women) serves as a testament to this problem’s reality.

2. Acknowledge gender stereotypes

We have grown under different family dynamics, which have become imbibed into who we are and what we stand for. What we need to realize is that a workplace mentor-mentee relationship isn’t a family relationship. Keep it professional, and do not let the role model impose their suggestions. Even though both the parties involved are trying to do the best for you, you have to take the final call in implementing the advice. It always helps to gauge whether the direction lies in your best interests or not.

3. Network it up

Another significant value that a mentor brings to the table is their networks. The network is something that should never be taken lightly. This shows how strong the mentor-mentee relationship has grown to become. The mentor lets you get access to their life long connections with people who may have a shot at directing your ambitions in the right direction. Tackle this situation effectively by letting the relationship (who may become your potential future employer) know about your abilities and skills.

Women lag when they can’t determine the value they may bring to the organization and cannot specifically articulate their needs and wants. Let go of your fears and demand what you truly deserve. At the same time, value the new connection and be thankful to the mentor for the previously unforeseeable opportunity you can now use.

4. Show results!

Nothing can be more disappointing for a mentor to see all of the time they invested in you to go down the drain. Take their advice and try to employ it religiously. The chances are that you will succeed further, but even if you don’t, don’t settle.

Go back to the mentor, thank them for their help, share your feedback, and collectively discuss your views while trying to arrive at a logical solution. Everybody likes to be appreciated for the efforts that they put in. You need to make a sincere effort to make your relationship with your mentor a worthwhile experience.

5. Pay it forward.

Sometime back, you were stuck in what seemed like a career black hole, and your mentor jumped right in to guide you out. Now you can’t thank them enough, but your work isn’t over. Make it come a full circle and pay it forward. Become a mentor to someone and let them know that you will always be there for them.

The secret to being a good human being is not to let yourself stagnate. Realize your hopes, ambitions, weaknesses, and priorities. Own your career and realize that it plays a huge part in defining your identity.

By seeking mentorship and then mentoring someone, you will understand the true meaning of gratitude, for they say — “Happiness is only real when shared.”

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