In starting a business, one of my saddest struggles has been yearning for a role model and a mentor that embodies the type of person I want to be: a mother, an entrepreneur, a wife, and spiritual.
I want all components of that to be folded in together, and damn…it’s hard. Logically, I look to find other women I can follow and turn to for guidance, but sadly there are few ladies waiting in the wings to encourage and choreograph this dance I’ve decided to perform.
It’s arrogant of me to think I’m the only one, because it’s just not true. At times I thought I needed to give some of things on my list up because if other women couldn’t do it, then there’s no way I could! But, I have continued to press on and discover there is a world out there of women doing just what I am, and some. They just may not define themselves the way I do, they are in fact very busy (obviously), and sometimes they aren’t in my immediate circle.
I have been on the hunt for these women for a while now, and if you are reading this and thinking, “THAT’S ME!!”, then email me immediately. Otherwise, when looking for a mentor, I have some tips:
Define what you want
I clearly defined what I wanted to be: mom, entrepreneur, wife, spiritual. These are the most important elements of my life and I want them all to coexist. There are a lot of other things, but they don’t make the list because I don’t find them as important. Other things include yogi, cook, dog-mom, daughter, manager, etc., and while I love all those roles, they sometimes take a backseat. Define who you want to be/are and go from there.
Challenge your beliefs
I had this disturbing and deep rooted belief that if I wanted to run a successful business I would probably have a bad marriage. I hadn’t seen a lot of other people do this balance well, so figured it wasn’t a real thing. I realized that was a belief I had and now challenge it (among others) daily. Your priorities will dictate what is successful in your life and as long as I am open about that, I find that my big fears and negative beliefs have no legs to stand on.
Decide how you will prioritize
Since priorities do determine a lot of your success, make them. For me personally, I cherish my relationships more than work and would rather suffer financially than interpersonally. If I find that work is impeding on my marriage, I cut back. I’ve been broke before, and it didn’t kill me. No judgment if you’re in hustle mode, going after the big bucks. People will have to sometimes bend with you as much as you bend with them. There are seasons for all of it.
Start asking people for introductions
The best way to find great mentors is to ask people you know for an introduction. In all meetings you should be asking the person you’re sitting with what their biggest needs are. That’s just a life tip. When the question comes back to you, be ready. Tell them who you’re looking for so you can start to meet some people with like-minds.
Make friends online
I have totally met people in person who started as friends from online groups – it sounds weird even to write that down, but it’s true! P.S.: no cat-fishing allowed. I have taken branding courses, and am in some female entrepreneur groups (typically there’s a Facebook group) and when you see women in there that you vibe with, send them a direct message or ask if you can email them with some questions. Put yourself out there and actually participate online. You’d be surprised by how fast you can cultivate friendships and find there are tons of people out there just like you.
Friend, you are not alone. Anything that’s tugging at your heart is worth pursuing. Sometimes you just have to search extra hard to find the diamond in the coal mine.
Photos by Valerie Denise Photos