I came into the Sankofa Intergenerational Learning Hub Appreciative Leadership Training in Athens with an open-mind. This was my second training with The Ubele Initiative. So, I knew what to expect from the organisation and felt confident that I would learn a lot, meet a groupof like-minded people and enjoy deep meaningful conversations.
And I have to say, this training widely exceeded my expectations.
Although it would take about a thirty-page dissertation to share the entirety of what I have learned from this training, both from the exceptional participants and the course itself, one word stayed with me throughout the week:“mentorship”.
Unsure of why this particular wordwas resonating so strongly with me from the first day of training, I started investigating in order to find out who amongst the participants had been or was a mentor and/or mentee. I asked these questions expecting everyone would say yes to the latter and tell the story of how it had been the stepping stone for them becoming the confident, successful and committed people they are.
Their answers actually surprised me, because contrary to what I thought, mentorship had not been an integral part of their success and hadn’t always been positive or impactful. After discussing with a few of them, here are three core teachings Iwas given:
Mentoring can be formal or informal, but either way, make sure your mentor is someone who can understand your issues and vision.
Choose your mentor by asking the right question: “how can they help you achieve your goal?” Liking or admiring them is not a good enough reason to choose someone as your mentor.
If it doesn’t fit, just quit! Don’t waste anytime, if it’s not a match, you don’t have to feel obligated to continue.
After a few days of being surrounded byexceptionally driven, humble, passionate and open-minded women and men, I realised that what had truly resonated with me - that was so new to me – was Community. Knowing that however different and inadequate I felt at times, I would always belong, because I was present, I was showing up to contribute to society as they all were, and that was enough.
When I realised this, I could open up to receive the lessons from my fellow participants, I could receive the intergenerational knowledge, from the youngest going up. While I am still processing some of it, here are a few gems that my fellow trainees have gifted me with:
Don’t ask for permission.
Just do it!
Be you, unapologetically.
No matter who you are, you have something to contribute.
I’m very grateful to have been a part of this brilliant group and can’t wait to see the amazing projects that come out of this training.
by Laurentine Insonere Amaliza