I am truly fortunate in so many ways. My kids are amazing, I have a loving husband, a wonderful home, an awesome support system and I get to go to work everyday and do something that I am passionate about. As a goal-driven person, I sometimes forget to take time to appreciate all of those things. Being self-motivated is a blessing and a curse all wrapped into one — my eyes are generally on the horizon looking for the next challenge. Fortunately for me, I have some people in my life that remind me to slow down and take stock of my accomplishments. Some of those people are friends, some are family members and others are people who I mentor as they are on their journey to become who they are meant to be. If you are fortunate enough to have one or more of these types of people in your life, then you understand what a wonderful influence and inspiration they can all be. I hope you enjoy some of my experiences and how they have helped me. Mentor Mentoring is something I am committed to doing and it brings me perspective on where I’ve been and how I got where I am today. I honestly believe that as women we have a responsibility to pass knowledge along to those who are coming up behind us. I know that I have certainly reaped the rewards of the advice and attention of successful women. One of the complaints I hear from women across generations and in various walks of life is that many women don’t support other women. Even worse, they admit that they have felt that other women have purposefully attempted to hinder their personal growth and development. Ladies — please don’t ever adopt this behavior! Life is all about relationships and I believe you get what you give. As my late Nana always said “there will always be someone worse than you, and there will always be someone better than you.” There is no need to feel threatened by other women’s potential for success — there is room for all of us to be fabulous. The best thing about the mentor/mentee relationships is that each person learns and grows from the other. Friends I have the BEST group of friends! To be successful, you must surround yourself with like-minded people. My friends vary in age and interests, but we share a love of life, family and achievement. Our friendships remain strong because of the energized and uplifted feelings we have after we get together. Isn’t that what friendship is all about — a mutually valuable experience? As natural nurturers, it’s easy for women to get themselves into one-sided relationships. While friendships are not always going to be 50-50, those that constantly drain you of your energy and positivity should be reviewed. The beauty of having close friends is that you can be each other’s sounding boards and help one another through difficult times. But if you have friends that always seem to move from one difficult situation to the next, perhaps you could recommend they look for a more professional setting to get the help they need. Remember, honesty is an important part of friendship and some truths are harder to say (and hear) than others. Family As the saying goes “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” It’s so true, but I am fortunate to have been blessed with a pretty awesome family. My mom is probably my biggest fan and is a person I can count on anytime I’m in a pinch. She jumps in as baby-sitter, assistant, office organizer and anything else I need to achieve success. It’s wonderful having her in my corner and I am truly thankful for that. I am doubly blessed in the mom department and have a fabulous step-mom who has been such an inspiration to me. She is more than a mother figure to me — she is also a mentor and advisor and I am so lucky to have her in my life. My step-mom has owned her business for almost 25-years and it is amazing to have someone of her caliber and experience to rely on. She believes that executive women should support one-another, and watching how she supports other women (me included!) has certainly helped shape the way I think. Are you taking care to surround yourself with positive people and give back to others? I highly suggest you do — it just may be the greatest thing you can do to make your dreams a reality.
Shelley Davis Mielock
Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.