It’s Day 43 which means I missed a day of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project – technically. While I didn’t actually blog and post (I’d intended to but fell asleep), Day 42 was so purposeful it was as close to perfect as it gets for this Pink Collar Coach. Yesterday marked the 5th Year Anniversary of me having the privilege of presenting with my mentor and the woman who, apart from my great Aunt Bertie, has been the most influential female force in my life. When I sat mesmerized in one of her workshops for the first time as a green Kinder Care Center Director back in 2007, I thought, I want to be her when I grow up. I attended every workshop of Kay’s on offer for center directors, became a groupie of sorts. I’d always hang around afterward and ask questions, wanting to absorb her ability to profoundly impact center directors who were merely surviving in a way that caused them to thrive. I took one of the cards for her business, which was then called Strategies for Women’s Growth, but didn’t call. Then after a workshop where we learned our strengths were nearly identical, that connection emboldened me to approach her about how I could come to do what she does. Kay had taken to me as well and once stated she wished she could duplicate my face and have it in the audience at every presentation. Apparently, she saw a lot of herself in me and even more that I didn’t see in myself. Our mentor/mentee relationship formed organically versus me asking her to mentor me or her offering to do it.
Fast forward four years after Kay coached me through my transition from Center Director to Training Consultant at the very agency through which I’d attended her workshops. We went to lunch and Kay offered me the opportunity to work with her as an apprentice of sorts. Of course I seized the opportunity and the experience was and continues to be the best real-time training I’ve ever had. And my dream of presenting with Kay came true! I was a featured presenter with her at High Heeled Success (the new name of her company) and was elated! Following our maiden voyage, she was anything but. By her own admission, she “doesn’t play well in the sand with other children”, so the tag team approach we used in that initial presentation probably felt to our participants like watching a tennis match given the fast pace with which we served our transitions over to one another. Add to that the fact that I referred to princesses – a big no no with Kay – and I got emotional and cried. A lot. Not the auspicious start I’d hoped for, especially considering Kay didn’t let anyone train with her. I obviously wouldn’t be again. I’d let down my shero.
But like any great mentor, Kay didn’t give up on me. I was a good presenter, had in fact been speaking publicly since I was eight and gave the Sunday School Appeal at church. I’d even won some contests with my natural talent for getting up in front of people and speaking. What I lacked was true knowledge of adult learning theory and practice presenting in settings other than churches and schools. I needed professional development and practice. Over the next four years, Kay has provided it in spades (we do about four presentations a year) and today I’m honing my skills – my craft if you will – in order for it to become a real strength – something that can be done to near perfection. The fabulous feedback from Kay and the participant’s at yesterday’s workshop (below) speak to the power of a mentor.
So while I didn’t blog yesterday, I was as purposeful as ever – probably more so. It’s an amazing, humbling thing when my personal and professional stories, especially the painful parts, and how I broke through those barriers, encourage other women. As Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose women, I encourage you to find or be a mentor. Help another woman find her voice and tell her unique story. The power of a mentor, of a shero is this: She unleashes super powers.
Do you have a mentor? Have you been one? I’d love to hear your story.