Paying It Forward: The Heart of Mentorship and Giving Back

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of some incredible women-led initiatives, and it’s through these experiences that I’ve learned the immense value of mentorship.

Finding My Tribe of Like-Minded Women

When I first started my business, I noticed a gap in the support system available for small dealerships like mine, especially for women entrepreneurs. It was then that a group of like-minded women, facing similar challenges, decided to come together and form our own support network, “Haworth Owned Women” organizations.

In this group, we freely shared our knowledge, from business plans to employee agreements and commission structures. The willingness to collaborate and share information was incredibly impactful for me. Having a circle of peers who were always there to lend an ear or offer guidance was priceless.

While some of those wonderful women are no longer with us, either due to selling their businesses or passing away, I’ve come to realize that we never truly stop learning from those we engage with. The key is being an active listener, whether it’s in a mentorship role, a personal relationship, or just everyday conversations.

The Power of Listening

One of the cornerstones of my approach to mentorship is active listening. I believe that listening is the key to building any meaningful relationship, whether it’s with a mentor, a friend, or a significant other. It’s about being present in the moment and truly understanding the needs, wants, and concerns of the person you’re interacting with.

I’ve often told my significant other that hearing words is one thing, but truly listening to what someone is saying is a whole other skill. It can be incredibly frustrating when you feel like someone isn’t really hearing you. That’s why our tagline at Commercial Office Environments for many years has been “First we listen.” It’s a philosophy that I carry with me in every conversation, reminding myself to be fully present and attentive.

Guiding and Supporting Others

Mentorship isn’t just about providing answers; it’s about asking the right questions and helping individuals find their own solutions. Sometimes, people have the capacity to solve their own problems, and as a mentor, you can guide them in the right direction.

Moreover, being a mentor doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Sometimes, you might not know how to help someone, but you can connect them with someone who can. Collaboratively, we can achieve more than we can individually, which is why I believe peer groups are essential.

One of the most valuable aspects of mentorship, in my opinion, is sharing your life experiences. You can’t walk someone else’s path, but by sharing your journey and the lessons you’ve learned along the way, you can inspire and guide others. Currently, I’m mentoring a young lady, and I feel it’s the right time in my life to offer advice and guidance based on my personal experiences. I want to be that wise and trusted counselor for her, and for anyone else who seeks my guidance.

Running a company often goes hand in hand with being a mentor. As an owner, you not only share your vision with your team but also guide them on their individual journeys to success. It’s about offering different perspectives and encouraging others to consider alternative viewpoints. Sometimes, it’s crucial to challenge someone’s perspective and encourage them to see things from multiple angles. I believe it’s essential for personal growth.

Paying It Forward and Giving Back

One of the core principles of mentorship is paying it forward. I’ve been fortunate to have people invest their time in helping me reach where I am today, and I feel a deep responsibility and desire to give back. If I can assist anyone on their journey towards achieving their goals and overcoming challenges, I consider it a privilege and part of my purpose.

Mentorship isn’t solely about financial success; it’s about being a good person and helping others be their best selves. Everyone has something valuable to share, and if you’re open to learning and embracing different perspectives, you can continue to grow and evolve as a mentor and as an individual.

I’ve often questioned whether I have anything meaningful to offer as a mentor, but I’ve learned that it’s more about sharing and trying to help others. You never know when a piece of advice, a different perspective, or a life experience you share might positively impact someone’s life. So, embrace the role of a mentor, whether you do it directly or indirectly, because in the act of giving, you often receive more than you could ever imagine.