Faced with many challenges during school and college-aged years, it almost goes without saying that mentors can be enormously influential. However, as you go through early adulthood and beyond, mentors may seem less available and harder to find. Our goal at Woman to Woman Mentoring, in addition to providing one-on-one mentoring as part of our programs, has also been to build the confidence and access women need to continue to find mentors for their future life phases and experiences. Because we know that mentoring is a life-long opportunity.
Alex Uphold, a mentee in one of our first CORE cohorts (and since that time has served as a mentor and board member), agrees.
“My need, back when I was in the program, was finding a guide…someone to say ‘I’ve been there.’ Fast forward to today, now that I run my own business, I’m encountering new challenges. Sometimes it feels like I’m by myself. That is where mentors continue to play a role. They are and always have been part of my accountability practices,” shares Alex.
Research1 shows that mentoring relationships continue to be important resources that can promote long-term academic, vocational, and social well-being well into adulthood. Having any mentor beyond adolescence was associated with higher educational attainment, social support (i.e., more close friends), and civic engagement (i.e., hours spent volunteering).
“My goal when I was in the W2WM program was to graduate college and become a State Farm agent. My mentor was a key part of meeting that goal because she (Kristi) was my accountability partner. Now, I am working on new goals…creating a high-performing team, creating better systems and processes, and more. The women I have in my life serving as mentors now care. And knowing they care, I know I have to show up.”
Alex also finds that peer-to-peer mentoring is very helpful at this stage of her life and business. “I find women I respect and reach out to them. I have things to bring to the table to share, and so do they. Women inside my industry, outside my industry. It’s a two-way street.”
Continued personal growth and development is about learning: learning new skills and behaviors, discovering blind spots, and constantly expanding existing knowledge. This makes mentoring (both one-on-one and peer) a highly effective learning technique that can dramatically improve your individual growth and performance.
Alex’s top tips to continue to find mentors as you go through life’s phases
- Watch what people do and who they are. These women (and men) may become mentors in your future.
- Reach goals that seem out of reach. By challenging yourself, you’ll identify where a mentor may be most helpful
- Women (and men) are more than happy to mentor you if you ask! Go back to #1 to decide who to ask.
- Reconnect with W2WM as the community is always there to help and connect.
Yes, Alex, to all four! If you’re in a period of change or transition and you need to find the person or persons to guide you, please reach out at womantowomanmentoring.org.