lifestyle

Are You Tapping Into The Full Potential of Your Friends?

Happy Sunday, friends! Switching things up this week… I have a post going up tomorrow, so I moved Maxie Monday to Sunday.

Without a doubt, Maxie is one of my friends who I consider to be a peer mentor. We have the usual conversations 20-something girls might have (swapping dating stories and a thorough discussion of Adele’s eyebrows most recently), but we also have pretty deep conversations. Together, we push each other to work through career and personal issues, and I feel like I’m a better person because of her unconditional support. I love that.

Peer Mentorship

Guest Post by Maxie McCoy

One of the coolest things about my career is that it entails talking to women for a living. And in those conversations, it’s so so clear that all of the problems we face and the hurdles we’re scared of are actually universal and incredibly similar. While all of our individual stories are unique, our challenges and fears are very common.

One of the questions I hear the most is, how do I find a mentor? Basically, people are looking for these wise and sage humans decades their senior to give them insights. And I can speak from personal experience to say mentors can be huge when it comes to the next steps in your career and life. So huge. But like dating, these relationships can take a long time to get right – because two people have to be mutually invested and benefitting.

I’ve seen the disappointment and frustration women feel from not having mentorship in their life. It’s my personal belief that much of what we think needs to come from these super successful people can actually be supplemented by our peers. We’re just not looking in the right places for the things we need.

Enter close friendships.

Some of the women that have taught me the most in life have been ones very close to me. For example, if it weren’t for Carly doing a work session with me on how to build more traffic on my site and then opening up the opportunity to write for all of you, I wouldn’t be here today. Truly. I call these women my #girlgang – because they’re friends that are so near and dear to me and also teach me so much.

It took me a long time to figure out how to tap into the full potential of my friendships. Here are a few things I learned:

Try talking about something new:
Sometimes, we get used to talking about the same ole things with the same ole friends. If you try discussing a different topic than normal, you may get completely different advice or insights from the people who are close to you. You didn’t know what they had to offer because you’d never talked about it!

You have to ask for help:
You must hand over your problems to get your solutions. If your friends don’t know that you’re having a hard time prepping for your internship, they may never know to tell you about how they handled theirs. If I hadn’t of ever been willing to ask Carly to teach me about blogging or been willing to share my dream of writing with her, she may have never known to provide her life experience that could help me! Plus, asking helps build trust between you and your friends.

Do you want what they have?
If you’re going to get advice or wisdom from your friends on a particular area of your life, whether it’s school or work or family or love, it’s helpful to do a personal assessment of if their version of success is your version too. Do they have the same values? Are you inspired from how they have handled their life in these areas? If the answer is yes, then march on! They probably have so much to teach you.

Invest in them, and they’ll invest in you:
Like in life, you get out of your friendships what you put in. So invest in the humans that you know in your gut are worth investing in, and it will come full circle. You’ll both have each other when the times are right and when you need their friendship and wisdom most. Because as Carly said to me over Skype this past week, “The more successful you are, the more successful I am. And vice versa!” And that’s probably the best mentality any of us can have when it comes to investing in our friendships.

Whether you have mentors in your life or not, your friends and close relationships can provide SO much wisdom to your life that you may not have been previously looking to them for. #Girlgangs are everythingggg (and use this workbook if you want some help building and deepening yours!) There is a GOLD MINE of resources we’re not thinking about all around us – the people we get to call friends!

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14 Comments

Taylor

I love this! It is so important to have friends who are supportive and will help you grow but you have to be willing to do the same. I love these tips in how to foster such a relationship.

Taylor

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Sarah

I’ve been really trying to put myself out there and form more meaningful relationships since we moved to DC. I feel like it’s really important to have someone you can go to for advice and a helping hand 🙂

Sarah
Midwest Darling

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Christian K

Great advice! I’m part of a mentorship group on Facebook and it’s been great to have a forum where you can ask questions and get feedback from others in my career field. One thing I’ve noticed is that younger people seem to think having a mentor is like having their own personal Yoda; someone wise who will groom your to be your best self. Like you said, it’s a two-way street and you can’t just walk up to someone and demand to be mentored. The best success I’ve had has been to connect with someone on a personal level so it’s not always work related. Also, I ask specific questions to people, like “Hey, I’m considering these two options and this is what I’m trying to achieve, what do you think?” and then listening to their advice. And I always try to be respectful and appreciative of their time and their advice. Even if you don’t end up doing it exactly, it may open your eyes to new possibilities and it keeps the communication lines open for the future.

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Eva

I have never had a mentor and I know I really would have benefited from one at many points growing up. Just to have someone who has been where you’re going, or to have a cheerleader who backs you despite others in your life discouraging you, is important.

http://www.shessobright.com

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