“ WEEK 6 / 133 – 133 WEEKS TO SUCCESS ”
I’ve heard countless stories about the importance of mentorship, which I certainly agree with. However, I notice that we rarely have the conversation about sponsorship, and the key difference between mentorship and sponsorship. Mentors are those who guide you, specifically mentors in your field or career who give you advice along the way. Sponsors are those who advocate for you, who go out of the way to vouch for you. Mentors are more laissez-faire and behind the scenes. Sponsors are more proactive in their approach.
Several months ago when I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, which was quickly gobbled up and thoroughly embraced by the middle class working, feminist community, I declared by vying love for finding a mentor. Now, six weeks into my 133 Weeks to Success program and six months into my first “real job”, I find that I am searching for something more substantial than a mentor. I am searching for a sponsor, and advocator.
I have always loved helping others, and have believed, still believe, that one of the best ways to help others is to help them learn how to help themselves. This is a crucial component to the mentor and mentee dynamic. Now, I see that beyond mentoring, we must also advocate and sponsor others. This sponsorship can take many forms: financial, physical, emotional, and so on.
The key factor for seeking out a sponsor is knowing that one fares better and appears more prepared when approaching a sponsor with a situation-specific need. This means being open, honest, and clear about our intentions. If you want to expand your responsibilities, learn more skills, or veer off the path into a new direction of possibilities, dwell in these possibilities and find someone who will vouch for your skills. Then, as you get closer and closer to where you want to be, pay it forward. Remember those who helped you along the way, and help others. The cycle will continue, and you must make the choice as to whether you want that to cycle to have a negative or a positive impact on yourself and others.
@AlphaFemSociety tweets by @KellyRGonzales
Each week, I take a tip from Lois P. Frankel’s book, Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office, and explore how each of these tips affect myself and other women in similar positions on the road to becoming the women we want to be. There are far and few between who are a few steps behind me, and many more who are far advanced. I found that Lois P. Frankel’s advice applied to novice, intermediates, and experts alike. It helped me see that I was already doing right, served as a reminder to keep on doing what I was doing and how to keep that momentum going. The book also showed me areas where I could improve, and gave realistic tips to jump on board. There are a total of 133 tips, and explore one tip per week in a program I call: 133 Weeks to Success.
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