The importance of women as mentors in our lives

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by Angelica Perez

Angelica is the founder and writer of Modern Familia, a family well-being blog for parents with a focus on bicultural living, where she offers insight, ideas and resources on how to create confident and happy families. Angelica is a practicing psychologist and modern life coach.

There are mothers and sisters and good friends and teachers. And then, there are mentors…

Along the curves and bumps in my life journey, I have been fortunate to have mentors to steer me in the right direction, to get me back on track and to cheer me on at the finish line. Most of them have been women — inspirational, wise and strong women.

They have appeared in my life like a blessing, just at the right time and with purpose. I have met them in college, in graduate school, at work, online, in my community and within my family. They have served as powerful role models, anchors, life coaches, motivators and firm reminders of who I am and what I can become.

Mentor as wise advisers

Traditionally, a mentor is known as a wise and trusted adviser, teacher or friend, who is usually a more experienced person than the mentee in a particular community or role. Mentoring relationships normally exist in corporate environments and in higher education settings, where mentors help individuals advance in their careers, enhance their education, and build networks.

Mentors in the business of life

I propose we broaden the concept of mentorship to include the invaluable role that women serve to each other, as powerful sources of inspiration, guidance, support and encouragement.

Undeniably, men can be great mentors too, but it is the commonality of womanhood that makes women true life mentors. Consider the friend(s) you called upon as a new mother full of questions and doubts. Or the women you reached out to when life was unkind. Think about your go-to person when you need inspiration to balance it all and continue to move forward. And what about the wise women you look up to because they’ve been there and done that – successfully and confidently? These women, I say, are life mentors.


Photo by J.Cliss

Are you a life mentor to someone else?

You may not be aware of it, but you also have the opportunity to be a life mentor to someone else! Consider the following common characteristics of life mentors and how they might describe you as well:

  • They have experienced and conquered challenging moments in their lives, which have made them a wiser person
  • They readily use their own personal experiences to instill hope and share life strategies
  • They are resilient, positive and open-minded
  • They enjoy empowering others and bringing out their best
  • They are supportive and are able to put aside their interest, for the sake of others in need of help and guidance

Why do we need women as mentors?

Women today are busier than ever. As working parents, we work long hours or hold multiple jobs. As stay-at-home moms, we take care of active and busy children while managing our homes and sometimes even working from home. We are creating new possibilities, starting or running businesses and pursuing our dreams.

Today, we need each other more than ever. Traditional support systems, such as extended family members, are less available to provide support due to their own busy schedules or distant living. So in these modern times, we need our small community of women mentors, to embrace us and empower us.


Photo by Ben Dodson

Where to seek life mentors

By now, you might be wondering how you can sign up for one of these! The truth is, life mentors are all around us. We may not see them in this way, as potential life mentors, but they are among our social circle. Here are a few places to begin your search:

  • among close, supportive friends
  • among co-worker or colleagues
  • extended family members
  • people in your community (women’s groups, places of worship, other parents at school)
  • former or current teachers and professors
  • professional life coaches and counselors
  • mentoring network websites (Mommy Mentors, HerFuture, Mentor)

You can also form your own group of life mentors interested in mutually mentoring each other. You can hold monthly meetings or do so completely virtually (online).

If there is someone in your life that could serve as a life mentor, try to connect to her, and don’t hesitate to ask for guidance. You will know you have connected when you find yourself feeling good about yourself and feeling deep admiration and trust for this person after a meaningful conversation.

It might take a village to raise a child, but it certainly takes a small community of life mentors to help women transform and reach their full God-given potential in life.

Do you have women in your life who you consider mentors? Have you mentored others?

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Comments

  1. Great post. There are various women in my life who I look up to and have offered advice at different points of my life. They have never formally been called mentors but that is what they are. I will definitely continue to nurture these relationships as they have a real positive effect on your life.

    I have also find myself indirectly being a ‘mentor’ to younger friends of mine and I love the relationship. Being able to listen and offer advice from past experiences in order that someone else can benefit is great.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. I have had many life mentors who have helped me be a strong and sensible mother. In some cases I find women who have a daughter slightly older than mine, or who are slightly older than me, can offer their experiences and reflect on how they have managed. Sometimes it is an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
    The most beneficial life mentor relationships I have enjoyed are when there is support and not judgment. I try to remember that others need to make their choices, as I do once offered guidance. It is in our mistakes that we learn the most.
    It’s great to focus on who in life are mentors and mentees. I’m reminded of our mutual need to connect and foster these opportunities to lift each other.
    Thank you for a great article, I’m going to shre it with everyone I’d like to remind about their importance : )

  3. Thank you, Angelica. As always, your message is inspirational. I am grateful for your work.
    .-= Carrie at Tiki Tiki Blog´s last blog ..Latina Bloggers go all Tiki Tiki =-.

  4. This is brilliant. I didn’t grow up knowing my mother, so all my life I’ve tried to surround myself with mentors and role models. They are all an integral part of who I am today and I am forever grateful for their wisdom and influence.

    Sometimes it’s a bit intimidating to step out and ask someone to be a mentor, but it is SO worth it.
    .-= Kat @ Inspired To Action´s last blog ..Play Your Position =-.

  5. I totally agree! My biggest mentors are my stepmom, mom, and mother-in-law. Especially my stepmom. She is a Christian, like me, and she really gives me encouragement when I struggle. I hope to do the same thing for my friends as well, as they really encourage me!

    God bless!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Learning Perseverance from an Unruly Contact =-.

  6. Wow. This post has made me stop and think about all the female mentors I’ve been fortunate to have in my life. Sometimes we get so busy it is easy to forget, and I’m glad for the reminder. Helps me to keep things in perspective.

    Thank you.

  7. Thank you for this post, Angelica. You have inspired me to recognize the many women who constantly serve as an inspiration in my life as mentors. I’m sure they don’t even recognize themselves as one.
    .-= Ana Lilian´s last blog ..Bilingualism Doesn’t Cause Confusion =-.

  8. Great post Angelica, reading your words I recognized some mentors in my life, mainly very good friends who have been walking next to me since our kids where babies. My closest family lives overseas, my friends are my mentors and my family in America.
    .-= Silvia´s last blog ..Dibujando “ojitos” / Drawing “eyes” =-.

  9. As always, great advice that is well organized and easy to read.

    I’ve been lucky to have many mentors step into my life at the right time. I don’t look for them, they just show up all on their own :)

  10. Great post! There have been several women who have taken me under their wing and for that I am immensely grateful. There is nothing like the power of women and our collaborative energies. That’s why I created the Real Women Do Social Media program – it’s all about women helping women.

    What’s the saying? Teach a man and you teach an individual, but teach a woman and you teach a nation. Amen to that.

    Thanks for this post in celebration of women and our ability to ignite and unite around change.

  11. I can say, without a doubt, that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mentors, starting with my own mother. I’ve been lucky enough to find mentors in pretty much every professional setting I’ve ever worked and thanks to them, I’ve been able to advance and continue on my path to success.

    Although I’ve done a bit of mentoring myself, to younger and less experienced co-workers, I have been wanting to find a way to mentor a young Latina on a regular basis. Thanks to this post, I have finally decided that the time has come to actually make it happen.

    Great post, Angélica!

  12. I’d be lost with my mentors, most especially my mother, my sister, and my closest friends. There’s nothing more reassuring then being able to turn to one or many of them when I need some extra support or advice.
    .-= Tina@RideonToys´s last blog ..The Disney Princess Girls Bike Is The Prettiest 16″ Ride For Girls =-.

  13. Great blog! I consider my mom one of my greatest mentors. We do not live in the same town so I’m not in contact with her as much as I would like. So, I’ve found a few more mentors along the way. A great place to find amazing mentors and support has been in leading Personal Renewal Groups based on the book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal by Renee Trudeau. The women in these groups grow and learn so much from each other. It’s wonderful to be in this group of women inspired and energized by the same topics…to be able to hold each other accountable for continued personal growth. I’ve seen lasting relationships stem from these groups because of the deep work that is done around empowerment and self-care.

  14. What a great reminder of the incredible knowledge and wisdom we can gain from other women. What a blessing my mentors have been in my life–they have helped to shape me into the woman I am today and continue to guide and encourage me along the way. Thanks for posting this!
    .-= Leigh – To Have and To Hold´s last blog ..Pirates, Popsicles and Dancing in the Kitchen =-.

  15. Chchi and Carol,
    I’m so glad to know that women have played an important role in your life. The role modeling and the support we give each other is key to our sucess and feeling good about ourselves — at least that’s how I’ve experienced it.
    .-= angelica perez´s last blog ..Recommended Weekend Reading: The Art of Non-Conformity (and Free E-Book) =-.

  16. Kat,
    You bring up a great point. I actually have friends who, although they’re only several years older, they have served the many roles that mothers typically serve — they’ve guided, supported and been there, regardless.

    Thanks for sharing…

    Angelica
    .-= angelica perez´s last blog ..Recommended Weekend Reading: The Art of Non-Conformity (and Free E-Book) =-.

  17. Angelica,
    Thank you!!!
    You have captured my passion and now my life’s work. Since 1986, as the director of a nanny placement agency, I counseled professional women on the front lines as they confronted the challenges of career and motherhood. Now, my life’s work is to establish the very connection and support you describe through individual and group mentoring as well as retreats and organizational consulting. It is a challenge to educate the public that this type of service exists. It is not therapy, but proactive support. Thank you for being an advocate. Let’s also not forget the women who are in the process of considering motherhood. It is not a decision to be made lightly. They need the support in their challenges and choices, too.

    Nina Sutton, Executive Director One Smart Mother™

  18. thanks your advice . I find mentors in my life ……. It’s great felling .

  19. avatar
    Christina Haskin says:

    One of my mentor’s is the craft book author, Carol Sterbenz. It was through her generous encouragement to create a craft book that I wrote and illustrated my first book “The Dancer’s Book of Ballet Crafts,” published by Creative Homeowner. Th backstory is that I had illustrated a column for Carol when she worked at Mcall’s Needlework and Crafts and we developed a great friendship over the years. I met Carol for lunch in New York and we talked about books and she threw out,” well maybe you could create a book for me”. On the train back to the suburbs I came up wth the idea of a book about ballet and ballet crafts and called her the next day. She loved the idea and presented it and eventually after many meetings it became reality a went on win several awards.

  20. avatar
    dolphine says:

    One of my mentor’s is the craft book author, Carol Sterbenz. It was through her generous encouragement to create a craft book that I wrote and illustrated my first book “The Dancer’s Book of Ballet Crafts,” published by Creative Homeowner. Th backstory is that I had illustrated a column for Carol when she worked at Mcall’s Needlework and Crafts and we developed a great friendship over the years. I met Carol for lunch in New York and we talked about books and she threw out,” well maybe you could create a book for me”. On the train back to the suburbs I came up wth the idea of a book about ballet and ballet crafts and called her the next day. She loved the idea and presented it and eventually after many meetings it became reality a went on win several awards.

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