Having a mentor means so much more to me than having someone provide guidance and direction. It menas I finally get to achieve my goal of making Life Elektrik a nonprofit organization, something I’ve been working towards since March 2017 (really longer, if you count my many failed attempts .) When I created Life Elektrik, I always knew it would be bigger than myself. I am the vessel, but Life Elektrik is universal love flowing through me. I knew gaining a mentor would help me take Life Elektrik to the next level – where it’s destined to be.
I want to back up a bit, before sharing my mentor magic with you…
Have you ever heard of an organization called SCORE? They are an organization that helps small businesses achieve their goals.
I first learned of SCORE when my husband reached out to them last year. SCORE offers free mentoring to small businesses & entrepreneurs. After Brek (my husband) began his mentor search, he began looking further into all the great things that SCORE offers to the small business community. He found a LocalU marketing conference for us to attend and signed us up! The week of the conference rolled around, and Brek had something come up. Unable to attend the conference alongside me, Brek went to his engagement, and I attended the conference alone. (GULP!) You should know that I’m an introvert, although I try my best to put on the right face for every situation. This usually entails me pushing way beyond my comfort zone & sweating bullets in the process. (Can anyone recommend a good, natural deodorant!?)
At the conference, I was able to speak with multiple SCORE representatives about finding a mentor that would be knowledgeable in nonprofit organization building & management. A few weeks later, I began my search for a mentor… Having over 70 mentors locally, SCORE does a great job of making the search pretty easy, with bios on mentors and their areas of expertise listed below their photos. I searched for “nonprofit,” and was surprised at the amount of results. Even though I had not met many of the mentors, I knew that I would just know which one was the right mentor for me upon finding their photo. (Always trust your gut!)
I came across a photo that looked like the nicest lady… (I know, never judge a book by its cover, but it worked out in this case.) I began reading her bio,”Experience working in the nonprofit sector… nonprofit financing… worked for 5 nonprofits over the years… nonprofit manager…” You get the idea. It was a GREAT match on paper, but would our personalities mesh? I was sure hoping so!
I emailed SCORE, confident that I had found MY mentor. Of course, SCORE has to ask you questions, reach out to the mentor, decide if you are a good fit for each other, and check if the mentor has an opening for you. I should add that all SCORE mentors are VOLUNTEERS, which makes their program even more amazing… Mentoring can be a heavy – guiding people’s business plans, dreams, & goals is a lot of pressure, and you better know your stuff! Lucky for me there was an opening, and Beth (my new mentor) was willing to be my mentor. (YAY! A step in the proper direction.) Beth reached out via email to confirm her interest in mentoring me, and we confirmed our meeting date/time – just before she hopped on a plane to Costa Rica for two weeks!
The morning of our meeting I prepared myself for the day. Gathering my things, while a million thoughts and questions rolled around inside my head. “How many members are actually required for my board? What’s the best way to go about reaching out to donors? Make sure you tell Beth that you’ve already got a TAX ID. Don’t forget to tell Beth that you have ambassadors & support groups. How can she help me tell my story?” My stomach was in knots before I even arrived, because I was so anxious from “what ifs” and “maybes.” (I’m usually a ball of anxiety, but I try my best to cope without medication.)
I had a quick chiropractic appointment before my mentor meeting, so I stopped in Cedar Park on my way to Georgetown. (Side note: Chiropractic treatments have been a key in keeping me seizure free, easing stress, and keeping my body aligned.) I then made my way over to Georgetown. I’ve never had a real mentor before and hoped I’d be prepared enough to answer all of her questions. I continued feeling uneasy and excited.
I arrived an hour early. I’d never made the drive from Cedar Park to Georgetown, so I padded my time – a little too much it seemed. But, everything was actually working out perfectly. I hadn’t had time to eat lunch, so I searched for nearby restaurants and quickly found a Juiceland across the street. Score! I could grab a smoothie and hang out for a minute before my appointment, while calming myself down. There I was sitting on a bench in Juiceland, listening to 80s music, The Cars & Talking Heads to be specific. The familiar melodies were mingled with new, avant-garde, post-punk songs, but I pretended as if I knew them… tapping my foot with the beat of each song & drinking my smoothie, when I saw this painting tucked behind a plant near the window.
Universal words of encouragement! Sometimes we just need a little push or reassurance from the universe to let us know that we are still on the right path – in the right place, at the right time, on the right wave. I sat there for a bit, smiling while I took in the words and continued drinking my smoothie. After a few minutes, the store began to get busier, so I decided to head back towards the meeting space. As I drove towards the office, I decided to pass the entrance & continue driving. I was happy I did! As I drove down the smoothly-paved road, I came to a stop sign & saw a park in the distance. What else did I see? Swings! YESSS! (I love swinging! It makes me feel like a kid again & is one of my happy places.)
A quick swing made everything OK again. I felt calm, prepared, and ready for my mentor meeting. Even if my meeting went terribly, I was proud of myself for not letting anxiety get the best of me. It’s something I’ve battled for many years now, but I decided a long time ago to control it naturally. I headed back over to the office where I would be meeting Beth and patiently waited in the lobby for our meeting time. Upon meeting, we shook hands, and I joined her in her office. I didn’t waste any time telling her about Life Elektrik, after introductions & a little small talk of course.
Beth could see how passionate I was in telling my story and the stories of so many that I’ve grown to know through Life Elektrik . I expressed my goals and best-case-scenario wishes for Life Elektrik’s future. She seemed impressed with what I knew about business, branding, & marketing. More importantly, she agreed that I should be a nonprofit organization and helped me to better understand the ground work & details needed to continue to process of filing for nonprofit status. Beth also gave me a SCORE workbook for nonprofit businesses, and we reviewed each lesson together. I’d already completed quite a few lessons listed in the book – WOOHOO – but she still reviewed the process regardless of the task needing to be accomplished. We created an action list of items for me to accomplish before our next meeting, and I’m going to try my best to complete everything on my list.
I’m looking forward to learning from Beth and gaining more insight into nonprofit management, finances, and leadership.
I couldn’t be happier with my mentor, but I knew that we’d be a great fit the second I saw her photo. Call it a hunch, universal nudge, or coincidence – I know I’m on the right path. Light, lead the way…