Mentorship in Memphis is on the rise. From lunch buddy programs to team mentoring initiatives, Memphians are stepping up to show that mentorship matters. When those who have gone before us are intentional in sharing life lessons, it can take us miles in the right direction. The City of Memphis reports that a child with a mentor is 81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities and 130% more likely to hold a leadership position for a school-affiliated club – wow. We must invest in the leaders of tomorrow.

I unfortunately did not have a mentor growing up, which is why I am so adamant about doing so myself. If you are a young professional having a similar experience, I encourage you to continue finding the motivation from within and to read on as I share three lessons that just might help you on your journey.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I am sure you have heard this phrase before, but have you really put it into practice? If we begin to differentiate the big and small issues that are sure to arise in the workplace, our lives will get much easier. There are certainly problems that will cause you to sweat, act promptly and even lose sleep over, but there are also a great number of small hiccups that require the exact opposite. Instead of fretting over the tiny trials, learn from them and keep moving in the right direction.

Give yourself a little grace.
I tend to be my own worst critic, which makes this lesson a tough one for me. Nobody is perfect. We are all human, which means that we are all fallible. Refrain from beating yourself up over decisions you have made that did not pan out as you had hoped. Give yourself some grace, mercy and forgiveness. So soon are things forgotten in this busy world we live in. A mistake remains a mistake forever only if you do not learn from it. 

Have a seat at the table.
Early on in my career, I had to fight to have a seat at the decision making-table. I was young. I was a female. In the 1980s, both characteristics meant I had two strikes against me before I ever walked in the door. Have confidence in your leadership skills and intelligence, no matter your age, gender or race. Your voice matters and you should be heard. 

These three pieces of advice are just the tip of the iceberg for what I wish I could share with younger generations. The challenges I’ve faced and lessons I’ve learned throughout my career have changed me for the better. The fires we go through will help us develop into the professionals and people we are destined to be. After all, that is the way gold, one of our planet’s most precious metals, is purified. 

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