Never stop dreaming

How to be the mentor you always wished you had.

By Judy Hoberman

Some people believe that dreaming big means you think too highly of yourself—that big dreams signal you are arrogant or perhaps directionless. But in truth, having big dreams means you are determined to live on purpose, you nurture a vision and you take the steps to make it happen. I encourage you to dream big. Otherwise, you will wake up one day and ask, What could I have become?

Imagine how different your life would be if you actively pursued even a few of the dreams you had when you were younger. Life was simpler then and dreaming was something we all did and were not afraid to share. As we grow up, some of us tend to abandon our dreams while others stop dreaming altogether.

It all comes back to your mindset. Allowing yourself to be inspired and encouraged by your dreams can prompt you to set goals and establish a plan of action. If you believe you can accomplish those big dreams, you will go after them. Why settle for the small ones instead?

Imagine a world without dreamers. Without them, we would not have the things we take for granted, cars, phones, lights, airplanes, computers and the ability to connect globally. Take a jog outside your comfort zone and surround yourself with other dreamers. Support each other.

Mentors can play a huge role in turning your dreams into reality. My mentors have helped me tremendously and I am privileged to mentor others. Look for someone who has expertise in your chosen area, wants to help you succeed and will help you get there. Besides guiding you, mentors will celebrate your successes with you and help you make adjustments when things go astray, which is inevitable when venturing into new terrain.

Personally, I have started and restarted so many times that I cannot even remember all the chances I have taken along the way. I started a new career in the insurance industry at the age of 40, knowing nothing about it. I rose through the ranks as one of the only women and I became an agency manager without ever having formal training or mentoring.  

Our agency had no presence in North Carolina and I was asked to build an agency there. For nearly a year, I travelled each week from Connecticut to establish an agency before finally moving there. Two years later, I was asked to move to Dallas to take a corporate position building sales training. I resigned from that big position to jump into the unknown again. I started my company, Selling in a Skirt, at the age of 55, branching way outside of my comfort zone.

If I could do it all over, would I do it differently? No. Did I make mistakes? Definitely. Were the risks worth the rewards? Absolutely! Women in leadership benefit from many inherent qualities. Taking a big step takes courage, which inspires others. Giving back by mentoring takes generosity, two important leadership qualities.

Mentoring young women has been a tremendous pleasure and honour for me. At one point a few years ago, I was officially and unofficially mentoring four women simultaneously. Showing them the ropes not only helped me remember some things I took for granted, it also led me back to some of the basics I had forgotten. It was a win-win situation all the way around.

Mentor. Think about what you wanted early in your career. Share your experience and your expertise. Hold your mentee accountable and show them love and support when they need it.

Judy Hoberman is the president of Selling in a Skirt and is an international speaker, trainer, coach and mentor. Judy’s mission is to help her clients live the S.K.I.R.T. philosophy: Stand Out, Keys to Success, Inspire Others, Results-Oriented and Time Management, all while having fun.