"FAILURE IS IMPOSSIBLE" - Susan B. Anthony

Mentors Matter

ARC founder and team mentor Gail Riggs being cheered by students after the Young Women's College Prep Leadership Breakfast in December. (photo cred: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

ARC founder and team mentor Gail Riggs being cheered by students after the Young Women’s College Prep Leadership Breakfast in December. (photo cred: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

In this wonderful Internet Age, we have access to information on just about any subject. Whatever answers you may seek you can find with a simple Google search. With countless articles, blogs, vlogs, tip lists and studies aimed to help you in every aspect of your life, the Internet has become a hub of “how-to” advice. One question people are always asking? How to be successful. There are articles that can tell you how to succeed in business, in school, in motherhood, in sports, in philanthropy, in relationships, in politics, in fashion, and just about any other subject you can think of. Although these topics are wildly different (what it takes to succeed in one area may not be the same in another), there is one piece of advice you’ll see over and over again no matter what the topic or the source: Find a mentor. 

January is National Mentoring Month, created in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and The National Mentoring Partnership. All month around the country there are programs and events to help connect young people with personal and professional mentors, with even the President getting involved.

But what IS a mentor?

In Marie Claire’s November article “Portrait Of A Mentor”, they describe a mentor as someone “you can (a) go to for advice, and (b) trust their wisdom enough that you actually take it to heart and allow it to inspire your actions”. We all have a unique path we take and navigating it is not always easy. It can sometimes seem overwhelming and even impossible. Having someone that’s ‘been there, done that’ to talk to about your dreams, your plans, your worries and your questions can help you to ‘get there, do that’. Marie Claire even partnered with Estee Lauder last year for what they call their #BeAnInspiration campaign; sharing stories of successful women and how mentorship has helped them along the way. Women inspiring other women to dream big, then using their knowledge and experience to help them achieve those dreams? Sign us up.

Having a contemporary mentor that you can call or email at a moment’s notice is undoubtedly an important relationship to have. But you can also find mentors in the movers and shakers of history (looking at you, Susan B.). The women we honor with our handbags and scarves, like Susan B. Anthony and Maud Ballington Booth, have done great things in their lives and helped to shape and change the world. We encourage everyone, young women especially, to look to the actions and accomplishments of women of the past to help inspire and guide them in their futures. Lisa Quast, a Forbes Contributor and long-time mentor herself, also believes in the power of historical figures. In a recent Forbes.com post, she named  Abraham Lincoln as one of her most influential mentors. “While most people believe mentors are those who are alive and around to offer advice, I also like to see mentors as those in history who came before us; whose leadership style, compassion and integrity inspire me to be the best “me” that I can be, such as Abraham Lincoln”. She cites many examples of leadership and management skills that Lincoln used during his time as President that can still be applied in the professional world today.

Mentors are an important part of our personal and professional development, with almost everyone able to point to a person or public figure that has been a type of mentor or role model in their life. Whether it is an iconic woman of the past, a successful person in your present, or a combination of both, mentors help build a strong foundation of support, guidance and leadership that can lead to a successful and rewarding future. “Failure Is Impossible” anyone?

What role has mentorship played in your life? Who are your mentors and what do you think makes a great mentor? Tells us in the comments or on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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