By Kristin Holland • December 01, 2014•Writers in Residence, Issues, Mentoring and Networking
My blogs this year have been about finding real-life mentors. But what if you just can't find a suitable mentor at work or in your community? When you feel alone, and no human mentor is available, turn to books. They work for me. Just in time for the holidays or your next trip to the library, I looked at my irl and virtual bookshelves and found these jewels to share with you:
- The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer (how to ask for help)
- My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (her life is amazing)
- Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott (my favorite writer breaks down spirituality into three words)
- Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou (when you need mothering)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (bossy girls for the win)
- Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned by Lena Dunham (if young, to relate; if older, to develop gratitude about your wisdom)
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (my go to when I don't get what I want, lose what I have or am heart-sick)
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (to get riled up)
- Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal by Lloyd Cassel Douglas (the secret of life is mentoring without advertising it)
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (everything you need is in your own backyard)
My shelf used to contain lots of other "women and work" books. Most were donated when I had to cull the herd to move to Hawai`i. I've read many books on leadership, negotiation, life-balance, the perils of being nice and secret strategies for manipulating your way out of the pay gap and maneuvering into the corner office. You'll find these in the Women & Business category at Amazon, and many are less than $1 used. I don't think that most men read these kinds of books and I've largely stopped doing it myself. I need something more spiritual these days. I want to read about women and men who have admirable perspectives on life. I don't want to be told how to act. I want to observe right action.
As a result, my list now consists of entertaining autobiographies and parables with powerful messages. None are hard-reads. The writers hail from all facets of life: corporate America; the Supreme Court; poetry; busking and performance art; Hollywood; and Buddhism. I often follow my mentor/writers on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as well. I like including them in my daily morning ritual. They become a constant stream of news for me. I learn from them. They inspire and amuse. I enjoy it when they write about current events, handling family holidays or how they cope with crisis. They mentor me.
If you are at a loss to find a mentor, fill the void with some virtual ones. I hope my reading list helps you get started. Ms-JD is also one of the best resources for women in the profession. There are hundreds of blogs on every issue related to women in the law.