I never planned to become a mentor.
Well, except for that one time at Uni when me and my friends signed up to every society meeting that had free food at the meetings.
Yes, I left pockets filled with sausage rolls and biscuits and no shame whatsoever. And a couple of weeks later I had a CB check through. Nothing ever came of it though – they must have realised we only came for the food and not the mentoring.
Anyway, I digress.
So, this mentoring stuff – it sort of happened by accident, which in my experience is always the best way. Creative flow at it’s finest. It’s whenever my life works best. And with the gift of hindsight, I’ve been able to see just how much I’ve always done this for people – I even recently came across an old letter from one of my teachers praising me for giving up my time to help younger pupils at school. Cheers Miss Fry.
Anyway, about a year or so ago, I received a call from one of my biz buddies, Joanne who works at Chester Voluntary Action – about a girl who had just dropped out of 6th form and was looking for some volunteering opportunities. She was interested in photography so Joanne asked if I would take her along on a shoot or two to build her confidence.
We met for cake and tea and to have a chat.
I saw a very lovely, yet totally unsure and timid girl. I saw a lot of myself in her – the not feeling quite like you fit with everyone else around you. Except this girl had bigger lady balls than I did at her age – she actually had the courage to drop out of 6th form because it was making her unhappy.
First thing I did was say how awesome she was for actually listening to how she felt and taking action. Some people go through their whole lives knowing something isn’t right but they don’t have the strength to do anything for themselves. They don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to stand out and be different. They don’t want to be judged. So they carry on regardless.
It felt like this was music to her ears. After all, there’s a set path after finishing school and some adults haven’t really cottoned on to how the world has changed since they were in that position.
I gave her a couple of dates to come on shoots with me and off we went.
In the car we talked about life, the universe and everything.
I felt really wise! She would often say, ‘oh my goodness, that makes so much sense’ or ‘wow, I’ve never really thought about it like that’. I’d remind her that I had many more years under my belt, had made enough of my own stupid mistakes and have also spent the past few years working on myself, working on personal growth and healing many years of shitty thoughts and trauma, as well as judgement from others about wanting something more for myself.
Since coming on to do a couple of shoots with me, she went and made a heck of a lot of connections around town, set up her own meet up group for other teens with self confidence issues and is soon to be jetting off to Australia for a few months. We still meet up every now and then for cake and tea. I still help with new perspectives on dealing with parents and boys but mainly it’s nice to know that in a way, the ups and downs of my life and my own issues with self confidence have been able to help someone else so much.
“When I dropped out of my A-Level’s-due to being completely unhappy – I thought I had totally lost my way. I felt as though I had failed at life! Marie-Claire helped me to see that it was only the beginning of the journey to my happiness and it definitely wasn’t the end of the world.
It’s been about 8 months since I met Marie-Claire and I am the happiest I’ve ever been! She has a wonderful positive energy that when I leave her presence I feel as though I could take on the world. She helps you to see the important things in life and to fulfill your potential. She is bouncing with self confidence and has helped me and many others to feel the same way about themselves.
She just has an overall gift for making people happy. I feel honoured and privileged to know her and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank her enough for the huge impact that she’s had on my life. “
Gaynor B. January 2017
I fell into this by just doing what I’m naturally good at and have helped hundreds of people since mentoring Gaynor. Sometimes all we need is someone to see us for who we really are. To validate us. To encourage us. To know we’re not alone.
If this resonated with you and you want to do something about it, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need! A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!