29 Jul Be a mentor, find yourself
by Rebecca Gallogly
Wedu mentor, Thailand
A few years ago, I was looking back at my journals from high school. I chuckled while reading excerpts written by my younger self which today I would interpret as ranging from profoundly trivial to remarkably insightful. And I recalled all of the challenges that I had faced as a young woman, coming of age and navigating life, with dreams of exploring new things, making memories and changing the world. I thought about all of the crucial words of support which had led me forward, from my teachers, family and friends. In particular, I remembered when my sister reminded me about the importance of following your instincts, and how there is no right or wrong way spend your time if it makes you happy. Isn’t it amazing how a few wise words and expressions of encouragement can help a single person find her own strength?
And then I learned about how I could be a mentor to a young woman who might have not had anyone in her life to provide guidance or support relating to her path through university, early career choices or challenging her to rethink what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. I learned that I had a chance to nurture a budding leader who will spark social development in her community – representing an opportunity for amazing social impact. So, about six months ago, I joined the Wedu program and started mentoring a young college-age woman from India. We connected instantly, realizing that, although we are different in many ways, in more ways we’re the same.
My Rising Star showed me what strength looks like. She’s an inspiring young woman who has worked hard to get where she is and still has so much positivity about the future. My mentoring relationship has taught me the value of listening, reflecting and being thoughtful in the way that I engage with another person. I have learned that the best thing I can do is just listen and support her in making the choices which she already knows she needs to take. I find that in many ways we’re a sounding board for each other, both gaining a new and unique perspective. For example, when we discussed the content from the second Leadership Lesson, about empathy and the danger of stereotyping, we exchanged mirroring personal stories which indicated a common experience and understanding of the concept. We were confirming ideas with each other that we both already know, confirming the universality of the human experience and giving both of us renewed confidence in our outlook. Being a mentor has changed the way that I connect with people in all areas of my life.
Being a mentor is a chance to reflect on your own development path and, at the same time, contribute to the realization of someone else’s development path. The intense bond and the moments of discovery are so unique and magical. I highly recommend that you apply to be a Wedu mentor.