After a steady dose of business non-fiction be it Deepa Narayan’s Chup or Sally Helgesen’s How women rise, I bought The Giver of Stars on a whim. As a corporate athlete turned entrepreneur and with Thrive entering the arena of social entrepreneurship, I am eager to know what worked for others, what worked less. And unconsciously I get so caught up in those journeys, in all those stories.

The Giver of Stars isn’t a business book, it’s fiction, it’s a story book and this story is just reeling me in one page at a time. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic– a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond. Just what great mentoring relationships do as they help you discover what you are truly made of.

In the first year of Thrive with Mentoring, we launched 18 times in 10 different cities, and that meant a dozen different combinations of volunteering teams that helped launch and then manage all these cohorts. We were on this launching spree, we wanted to make impact at scale and quickly.

The second year, we slowed down. We did only 4 launches. They were more spaced out. We took longer to get the best teams for the job. We course corrected numerous times. We learnt each time. As the Founder, the journey over the two years mentored me too. I met people who have found their tribes in their cohorts. I met many who’ve learnt to finally articulate what’s really bothering them about their journeys. I have seen people become who they can become, and I have witnessed these transformations really take place within a few months. Some have quit jobs that they were stagnating in, others have launched their own outfits and some have found peace with exactly where they are and who they are right now. Mentoring also supports you to believe that you are deserving and you have all the right in the world to enjoy what’s coming to you.

Why am I writing this? As the first article of the new year, I am writing this to bring together what I’ve learnt in the first two years of thrivewithmentoring.

  1. The right team is an exercise in trial and error: The Thrive ecosystem depends unashamedly on the generosity of people who work with us. Generosity in terms of time, in terms of learning and implementing new skills, generosity in terms of taking up added responsibilities. We’ve learnt to not take it too hard when one of the links doesn’t add up. We try to work with all of us, but we are far more forgiving when volunteers are not able to fulfill their own plans, because life happens.
  2. Continuous self development is non negotiable: I say continuous because you do need breaks when you are learning something new. There need to be interruptions that help you practice what you have learnt. At Thrive, we willingly throw you into the mix to see what new skills you’ve chalked up and what more you can take on your plate. Generosity as much as it is a mindset and a value system, is also an acquired skill set.
  3. Welcome criticism: If you don’t mess up what you are doing, I genuinely believe that you aren’t stretching yourself as much as you could. No, I don’t mean shut down the venture mess up, I mean, when your energy probably rubs people up the wrong way, or when another’s working style is in direct contradiction to your own. It can also be when you find ways to work together in spite of value systems being poles apart, or backgrounds being so diverse that you just can’t understand where the other person is coming from.

And you know what, through all of this – all these differences and these crazy moments and these launches, I have realised that people have this insane propensity to give. Thrive is what it is today because of the generosity of so many people in our lives, in our homes and out in the world. Each mentoring relationship has got each of us one step closer to a better version of ourselves. We’ve unlocked strengths in each other that we didn’t think we possessed. We are learning to work across Maslow’s hierarchies and not only worrying about what we need today, but what’s required of us in the future.

As we now start year 3 with Thrive, I understand plainly that there’s so much more that we still haven’t unearthed yet about ourselves. I am going to put all of this, especially the nuance of mentoring in a book – an easy to read, carry it with yourself book that you can refer to whenever you are on the cusp of being a great mentor and just need that generous nudge. It’s another way for me to learn with all the Thrivers and also with all amazing mentors out there who are supporting their mentees and growing themselves.

Again for this book and the stories in it, I will count upon the generosity of the people that Thrive has touched to share their stories.

Stories, like The Giver of Stars, which may seem unrelated to mentoring journeys, and yet for those of us who believe in Mentoring Magic, are one and the same thing…

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