I am really into Instagram right now. I especially love watching the Instagram Stories because they seem to capture more personality and the everyday life of the Instagrammers. Instagram been a great way for me to grow my network of women engineers and bloggers with similar interests and backgrounds (you can follow me too: @engineering_emily).
One of the people I follow on Instagram is Brit Moran (@brit). She is the founder and CEO of Brit + Co. It you have never heard of Brit + Co before, here is a little bit about their mission from their website: “Brit + Co is a media company that inspires, educates and entertains real women with a creative spirit. The “Brit Girl” uses creativity and a do-it-herself attitude in all aspects of her life: To take charge of her career, forge strong friendships and relationships, curate her own style, decorate her home, and entertain a crowd. Through our content, online classes and products, we enable her to use creativity to shape her future.”
I love crafting and DIY projects, and I found Brit + Co years ago through Pintrest because their content matches my interests. I’ve followed them ever since.
Brit seems very accessible on her Instagram account. She often solicits interaction with her followers on her Instagram Stories. She has been doing weekly Give it a Week (#GIVEITAWEEK) challenges throughout 2018. She gives herself a week to try something personally uncomfortable or challenging and posts about it on her Instagram Stories.
Last week she chose Mentorship for her Give it a Week challenge. She asked followers to post a video, no longer than 30 seconds, in our Instagram Stories sharing why we think this generation of girls will be unlike any others before. From the submissions she would choose 7 women to mentor during the week. She posted on a Monday and gave followers 24 hours to make a submission.
I never do stuff like this. If I even see it posted I might think, that’s nice, and then move along. I don’t even check Instagram Stories everyday, so I could have easily missed this challenge. But for some reason I saw this challenge and it called to me. I felt like I needed to participate and at least give myself a chance.
I have never filmed a selfie video of myself before, but I went for it anyway. In one take, I made a 30 sec video of myself answering the question. I had messy-end-of-the-day-mom-hair, no makeup, I stumbled on a few words, and I didn’t turn off the TV (you can see the blue reflection of the TV screen on my face during the video), but I knew if I tried again I might not be as authentic.
To see the video I submitted, head to my Instagram page (@engineering_emily), in my profile page find the Story Highlight titled “About Me” and it’s the first video in there. 🙂
Somehow, despite my inexperience and nerves, I was able to communicate my message clearly and effectively to Brit and she chose me for her mentorship!
I was thrilled and also extremely nervous about the call. I was going to have 30 minutes to get advice and build a relationship over the phone with Brit, an accomplished entrepreneur and CEO. I decided to take some of my own advice and I re-read my mentoring post that I wrote earlier this year. I strove to follow that advice on how to be a good mentee throughout this experience.
When Brit called me for the mentoring session she was friendly, open, and helpful. She wanted to know about me, my experiences, my goals. We talked about my blog and different directions it has taken (personal posts, Women in Engineering Interview Series, STEM for Kids posts, etc). It was so awesome to have someone to discuss ideas with and get advice on how to move from dreaming to doing.
She encouraged me to go for a goal to expand my STEM for Kids in a way I’ve just daydreamed about in the past. I’m giving myself 6 months to get it started. I just made that goal public so that I’ll have to hold myself to that 6 month timeline. 🙂
Overall, I’m impressed with how Brit was so giving of her time, ideas and support to me, a virtual stranger. She definitely was everything I expect a good mentor to be, and she has gained a loyal supporter in me.
I personally learned a lot about myself through this experience. I learned how to seize an opportunity, be confident, and be brave. Instead of thinking, “why bother, she won’t chose me anyway.” I thought, “I need to do this, if I post a video she will choose me.”
I didn’t realize until recently that I’ve always had this bravery inside of me. Being brave pushed me to decide my senior year of high school that I would become an engineer. Engineering school is hard, starting my first job was hard, being one of the only females at the job site is hard, but I overcame those obstacles because I believed in myself. I had the confidence to know I could do anything I set my mind to and I deserve the grade, the job, the promotion, and the mentorship just as much as anyone else.
You have that bravery in you too, we all do. Don’t let fear hold you back!
Now, I am being brave again by committing myself to launching my project in 6 months. I’ll be posting more info about the project as I work towards my goal, so stay tuned!
Have you ever had the chance to be mentored by someone you hugely admired? What is the best thing you have ever learned from a mentor? What is something you do to support other women?