or much of my literate life, I’ve been drawn to books about motivation, success, living larger – you get the picture. The self-help section of a bookstore is my jam. So when I was a teenager and college student, I read a LOT about various best practices when it comes to networking and succeeding in a career…and, without fail, there were always chapters on mentors. Finding a good mentor, working in environments where people are willing to mentor, reaching out and building connections with wise people who may become a mentor to you…it was clear that this was a big deal. And it made me quake in my boots a little bit.
I don’t like imposing on people and can have a tough time asking for things if I don’t think I can make a fair trade. Seeking out mentors made me crash against those personality traits. It seemed to require me to ask someone so much wiser and more experienced and at a much higher pay-grade than me to scoop me into their wings and funnel time into me. Despite all the encouragement from self-help books, I had to push myself every time I reached out (and still do – this process obviously hasn’t stopped at the ripe old age of 29).
THEN ALONG CAME GINNY.
In a nutshell, she’s helped me fly.
I initially met Ginny at a dinner party when I was 19. I was snuggled into the corner of a couch and she sat right next to me and started asking me about my aspirations and dreams. She was so easy to talk to, so interested in me and what I had to say. She was basically a stranger at that point, but she made me feel deeply seen and heard – which is something I think we all long for at a very base level.
That night of the dinner party, I had no idea I had just encountered someone who would have a profound impact on my life moving forward. I had found a mentor – or rather, my mentor had found me. It was as if God had noticed all my insecurities and hang-ups and just said, “Darling, I’m going to take care of this one for you. You don’t have to make phone calls and write letters this time. It’s on me.”
Over these past ten years, Ginny has poured into me so generously. She was a therapist for 30 years and is now in the arena of professional speaking, facilitating, training, and coaching. She’s a powerhouse and has a gift for giving insight and advice that is SPOT ON.
Ginny has believed in me when I’ve had a hard time doing so myself. She’s given me the right amount of push to jump off cliffs that I needed to jump. She’s a gifted encourager and truth teller. Having those two things wrapped up in one person is the perfect recipe for a mentor. It’s incredibly powerful to have someone in your corner who isn’t obligated to be there. There isn’t a gene pool or set of vows tying us together and yet she’s stuck around, giving me courage and hope at critical turning points of my life. I know I can lean on her for advice on career, relationships, personal growth, navigating difficult conversations. She’s literally sat with me for HOURS talking through big life decisions – advice that is worth 100s of dollars an hour and for which I pay her solely in ’thank yous.’ And, just in case it’s not evident enough that this woman is downright AMAZING, I know I’m not the only young person whom she’s investing in – generosity is one of the drumbeats of her life.
GINNY, I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN! You make me better and I’m so very grateful.
Now it’s your turn (and time for a giveaway!). While creating the artwork for this post, I made two of the watercolors above to figure out if I liked the vertical or horizontal orientation better…and then I had a brainwave that there is surely someone out there who deserves to know that they have made a difference and needs to have this little rainbow and star land in their mailbox.
SO. I want to hear about who makes you better! Let me know in the comments about a mentor, best friend, sage yogi, whomever makes you shine a little brighter. At the end of this week, I’ll put all the names in a hat and send out this original folk-art piece to someone who has been mentioned. (I’ll email you for their snail mail address if I pull “your person.”) Let’s team up!