“Your story is so encouraging to me,” several women told me on Mentoring Monday. It gave me great joy to be an encourager at this event. Sponsored by the Houston Business Journal at the Hyatt Regency Galleria, this gathering brought 40 mentors and more than 200 attendees together in small rotating groups of eager learners.
Everyone, at some point in their career, goes through a questioning stage. We ask ourselves, “What value do I bring? What role can I create for myself?” As women in the business world, we can learn from one another and discover the answers that will propel us through our current, and our next, career role.
Many of the women who joined the conversation at my table were facing some kind of roadblock. They were seeking a fresh perspective. And sometimes it helps for someone to show them how to turn a situation around a few degrees, to see a path beyond a hurdle that they hadn’t considered. It helps to hear someone else’s story and realize that there might be a fresh way of using our strengths.
I was impressed with how determined and thirsty women were to learn as much as they could in the short time we had together. What I saw happen was a re-energizing. Like a Tesla electric car, the women who sought me out needed to be plugged in to an energy source for a while, to allow them to run on their own power.
As our discussions unfolded in the brief 10-minute time frame, I shared my story of how I worked to move a great but virtually-unknown company into the spotlight, using solid but unconventional strategies. And then I talked about leaving that company, coming back in as a consultant, and then launching a solo career in the sixth decade of my life. Faces brightened and I could see the gears turning. I could see that they were happy for my successful transition, but it was more than that. It was like a secret message had been conveyed: “If she can do it, I can too.”