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Mentoring Confidence in Young Women in Business

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Given it's Mother's Day this Sunday it seemed like an appropriate day for a blog on mothers mentoring daughters in business.

The opening of the Commonwealth Games last month was a moment of real pride for me – not only because I thought the Gold Coast did a wonderful job of putting on a grand show, but because my daughter was part of the stage management team who made it all happen.  

This is a picture of her showing the excitement (and relief) from pulling off the biggest show of her career – with the lights of the Opening Ceremony splashed out in front of her.

As a young woman finding her way in the early years of self-employment the learning curve is steep. As a mother of this young woman, it’s been a test of my own business acumen to be able to share what I know and translate it into a business that I’m not familiar with, and in a way that a younger woman finds relevant. It’s true that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders!

I don’t know the statistics for how many women in business also mentor daughters in business, but I’m curious to find out. Many women who go into business do it for their families, and this sets them up as a strong role model for their children to follow. Some women pursue a passion while contributing to family income, others join or participate in family businesses, and some even go into partnership with their daughters, building a business where they can both contribute their skills.

Mentoring women of any age to be more confident in business is often about providing advice, encouragement and support. In young women it is all of this while still allowing them to find their own way and discover how to make mistakes, fail and learn from that failure. Not to say that we don’t all make mistakes and fail at times, but those early errors can feel quite devastating against the youthful enthusiasm of being poised for great things. The fall back to earth can be quite a bump until you get used to it.

As a mother mentoring a young woman in business, I find myself questioning if the advice I give about budgeting and marketing is as important as mentoring her around her mindset. Ultimately, I care more about her mental wellbeing than her financial wellbeing and it will be the mindset that she carries into her business which will determine if she survives self-employment and how successfully she does that. 
 
My learning so far in the mother-daughter mentoring journey is this:
  • I need some understanding of my own mindsets so that I recognise where my thinking limits what I think she can do. It’s a risk that I dampen down her enthusiasm because her ideas trigger my anxiety and fears of failure. 
  • I need to support the way her brain makes sense of business, and not expect that she joins-the-dots the same way I do. Brains do not like to rubber-stamp someone else’s ideas, so she needs to solve her problems in a way that makes sense to her, not to me.
  • My confidence is contagious. When I am upbeat and feeling that I have a handle on my business dreams and goals, my emotions impact on her confidence in herself. The mirror neurons in her brain can’t help but reflect back this confidence to me, and she naturally lifts her energy and positivity about her business goals.
If you are a mother mentoring a daughter in business, I would love you to drop me a line at info@irenedbaker.com and let me know if you would be interested in a future program on this topic. If there is enough interest, we will look at doing something later this year. 

During Queensland Small Business Week (28 May to 1 June) I will be offering a free 2-hour online introduction training course to the Claim Your Confidence Program to shed light on the different mindset states we all experience, and explore the ones which might affect your confidence in business.  There will be some free templates and tools to help you assess your own mindsets and the impact that they might be having on your business.  Please sign up to the newsletter to stay in touch when enrolments open.

Don’t forget that you can join into our online Claim Your Confidence Program at any time.  This Program is designed for women in business of all ages. Young women in business can get a headstart on strengthening their mindsets to set them up for the future.  For only $99 you can complete and repeat the program until December 31, 2018. 

To all mothers, I hope you enjoy your day on Sunday and appreciate just how amazing you are.
Warm regards
Irene