The One or My Search for a Mentor
Last year I attended a three-day mentorship program in Vancouver called E-Series Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. It was an incredible program that a dear friend of mine had been to the previous year. She raved about her experience of networking and spending time alongside other driven, passionate women who were at different stages of building their businesses.
Prior to the FWE conference I had been seeking mentorship. Being in a band is a challenging line of work, and one that is difficult for people in other lines of work to understand. There are so many different hats to wear, and it’s hard to always be wearing a business and creative hat simultaneously. If you wear one more than the other, the whole project falls apart, so it is important to be diligent about balancing the two. Other entrepreneurs and artists can grasp the challenges that being self-managed bring, but I was struggling to find balance, purpose, time to create, time to connect with people I loved, and always feeling a nagging feeing that there was something more I could be doing. I thought if I could just find one person to guide me, one person who had all the answers, that I could find the perfect balance. I thought that I could take someone else’s experience, follow their exact steps, and then I could strike the perfect life balance.
I spent the summer of 2015 on tour searching for a mentor. I went from festival to festival scouting women I admired who seemed to have it all together, and subtly seeking their mentorship. But festivals are short, and in the brief encounters I had with all of the inspirational women I met, I realized that there had not been time for them to answer every question I had, and that maybe I had not yet met “the one.”
Almost serendipitously, I attended the FWE mentorship program during this quest. It was then that I realized that I was already surrounded by mentors in my network of women. I also discovered a gift being on tour gave me. It allows me to stay connected with friends from various times in my life, scattered across Canada and the world, and turn to them on the road for advice and inspiration when feeling unbalanced away from home.
Now I look forward to tour not only for performing and spending time with my bandmates (who are also mentors in my life), but also to connect with the women across the country – my “road mentors.” When I find myself at a tour stop in Winnipeg, I turn to my friend who is a relationship and sex therapist for advice on balancing business and family. When in Vancouver, I spend time with my artist friend who shares her secrets on when she creates, what times of day she has the most inspiration and how to stay focused and driven, and my other friend a nutritionist who gives me advice on healthy meals, recipes and ideas for staying healthy and energized. When we tour to Calgary I connect with the women from from the band Sidney York and Nice Horse to discuss songwriting, the music business and goals.
When I am back in Fernie, I have a network of women who are all so driven and focused and inspirational in their different lines of passion and work, that it gives me the energy I need to get back on the road, and find the balance I need when I’m home.
Through the FWE mentorship program and in my search for “the one,” I discovered that there is not just one. Mentorship can and should be sought from the people who surround you, and those you have yet to meet. I have also learned to not be nervous or avoid asking for advice from those I admire. They may not have all the answers, but you never know what someone has to offer unless you ask.
Where to Find A Mentor in Fernie: Join the Facebook Group “Fernie Lady Bosses” and attend the monthly meeting of women entrepreneurs, sharing ideas and inspiring one another.
FWE E-Series Mentorship Program: Visit their webpage and apply – fwe.ca/programs/e-series/
New Album to Look Out For: Jenn Grant - Paradise, released: March 3, 2017.
Playlist of Canadian Women who make me move, dance, cry, create and smile:
- Hey Ocean – “Big Blue Wave”
- Terra Lightfoot – “Never Will”
- Hannah Georgas – “Dance Floor”
- Repartee – “Dukes”
- Feist – “Mushaboom”
- Stars – “My Ex-Lover is Dead”
- Grimes – “Oblivion”
- Sky Wallace – “Dead Things”
- Cold Specks – “Blank Maps”
- Neko Case (honorary Canadian) – “I Wish I Was the Moon”
- July Talk – “Picturing Love”
- Amelia Curran – “The Mistress”
- Metric – “Help I’m Alive”