When I was reading Lean In I was struck by a lot of things she said, but I was confused by her chapter on mentors. She talked about how women ask other women to be their mentors which apparently is the wrong way to go about it. I was confused by that because I have, in the past, asked more than one woman to be a mentor to me and never gotten bad feedback.
This week I was at a networking event and I got the chance to have a great conversation with a strong, passionate woman who has been through a lot of what I was to get through over the next few years. She’s become fit, she’s lost weight, she strengthened her marriage, she’s raised brilliant children and she’s built a business.
This woman takes no nonsense and I can tell that I can learn a lot from her about a lot of things, so I asked her if I could consider her a mentor for the future.
Sheryl Sandberg seems to indicate that asking is the problem, that men don’t ask their mentors to mentor them. To me that makes no sense. All I’m asking of these woman is the opportunity to chat with them about life and work and what they’ve accomplished. Being my mentor is not anything strenuous, I’m not asking them to consider me for opportunities or hire me for work just because I felt a connection and a desire to learn from them.
What I do with that knowledge is up to me.