20 Feb Mentor Feature: A two word mantra to change your life
Pawel is one of Wedu’s amazing mentors providing support to Wedu’s #KeepRising campaign. If you’re in Ho Chi Minh City, be sure to attend Pawel’s event on March 8th – a great opportunity to network, celebrate International Women’s Day, and support future generations of women leadership! (links below)
When you first meet Wedu mentor Pawel, you’ll likely notice two things: his vast networks and his candid and positive outlook on life. Both of these have been fostered by a simple yet powerful two-word mantra that has guided him through his adult life: “Why not?”
As we sat in a bustling McDonalds, it became immediately clear that Pawel is well-traveled and has friends everywhere. When asked what the greatest challenges of starting a new life in a city across the world were, he recalled the time he moved away from his hometown in Poland to Warsaw for university. He knew only two people, the city was foreign to him, and for the first time in his life he was on his own. Or so he thought.
“Activities outside of studying were essential in learning about myself, my surroundings, and getting new experiences.”
Networking, it turns out, is his tool to adapt, learn, and thrive. What is networking to him?
“I know I can’t always do everything alone- a lot of networking is about finding mutually beneficial matches to help each person accomplish their goals.”
Pawel has been a Wedu mentor for two of our Rising Stars now, but he has personally benefitted from having mentors himself. The words, “Why not?” were passed to him from his own mentor, Noam. Noam planted a powerful concept in Pawel’s outlook on life through a simple conversation. “He used to say to me, ‘Why not? High goals are still achievable. Why go for anything lower?’”
Pawel adds his own flair to it now: “What do I have to lose by trying? Not much. It just takes a bit of daring.”
In regards to his Rising Star, Suzana, Pawel admits she provides a fair bit of the inspiration in their relationship. “That’s a good thing about her mindset- she’s very can-do and want-to-do.” One of their main conversation points is about harnessing her enthusiasm and drive. “For many people, it takes years and years to make an idea happen. Even if you’re not being paid, you still do it because it’s something you feel strongly about. I ask her to compare her ideas and prioritize them.”
I asked Pawel why he thinks people might be hesitant to mentor and his reply was simple. “The Rising Stars at Wedu are incredible young women- many of whom accomplished more and dream for more than we did at their age. It’s daunting and people think we can’t be mentors because we don’t fill the requirements, but I think listening is more important for a mentor than talking. The Rising Stars have accomplished a lot, but we shouldn’t underestimate the value that our wealth of experience has to offer.”
In short, he says, “That’s what I tell people what Wedu is about: it’s like being an older sibling to young women who need someone to listen to them or offer advice or encouragement”
#KeepRising Ho Chi Minh City Meetup: https://www.facebook.com/events/746668858821774/