I think at some point we all need someone to guide us, whether it is in our profession, our studies or relationships. We all, at some point, need a good mentor.
The mentor for the incredible Oprah Winfrey was Maya Angelou, the poet and activist. Oprah says that Maya was her guide in many crucial years of her life.
For Yves Saint Laurent it was Christian Dior who helped put him in the map of fashion and taught him the basis of his art.
Sally Ride was the first American women to go to space and in part it was thanks to her professor Dr. Arthur Walker who pushed her to apply to NASA.
“I think mentors are important and I don’t think anyone makes it in the world without some kind of mentorship. No one makes it alone,” said Oprah in an interview. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
And if Oprah says it, it must be true.
But seriously, I think that the idea of achieving success alone is unrealistic. We all need help and support to achieve our dreams.
In my life, it’s been my sister Juliana who was shown me the impact that a good mentor can have in our professions, regardless of the industry.
Juli studied psychology and is a specialist in organizational communication, but today she dedicates herself—besides working full time in a corporation—to be a mentor.
She has been working for more than nine years in human resources for different companies and due to the nature of her job has interviewed hundreds of people. With time, Juli started to analyze how she could give an extra push to those individuals that passed by her desk and hadn’t yet reached their full potential.
Juli has always had a fascination with exploring what’s beyond an interview, what’s beyond a curriculum. Her professional experience and her own internal search have led her to believe that if a person wants to grow in their job, they must also evolve in other aspects of their identity.
So, in typical Juli way, she decided to amp up her mentoring project to another level and created Ikigai (@ikigaintegralco), a word that in Japanese means ‘to live with purpose’. Her mentoring has three angles: being, essence and career.
Juli sees it this way: ‘Being’ involves your gifts and qualities, those qualities that are already a part of you and can be expanded and improved. ‘Essence’ is your unique identity, what makes you different and what can evolve by recognizing and getting to know yourself. And last but not least, in ‘career’ is where all the punctual aspects of your development and what you can bring to the world is solidified.
In her sessions Juli adjusts everything to serve each person or corporation and their needs, through exercises and practical tools. But some of her recommendations are actions that we could all apply, for example:
“I recommend taking an hour of your day just for you. Truly for you,” says Juli. “I recommend a space that serves to connect in silence with yourself to recognize your essence.”
Now, I wonder how my sister manages this project on top of working full time.
“I realized that if you want to achieve a dream, you have to do it beyond the capabilities you think you have. Many reasons are just excuses and you are responsible for your own life”, Juli explains.
“I have learned to have fun in the process and I celebrate each person that comes to a space of counseling with me, each time is magical. I’m passionate about finding how people get to know themselves and potentialize their self and essence and as a result their careers.”
Juli thinks that it’s different to live with purpose than to have a purpose in life. When you have a purpose in life it means you only have one goal for your whole life. Living with purpose means having a new goal each day, and that’s what Juli wants people to find.
As humans, we have the fortune to continue growing even as adults. Our minds and dreams have no limit. But sometimes what we need is the push of a mentor, other eyes to inspire us to see the best in ourselves.
Now, I want to know your experience. Tell me, have you ever had a mentor?
(Oprah’s phrase was taken from an interview in WCVB-TV 5 News CityLine, Boston, January 13, 2002).
Photo Credits: Jonathan Beker