One of the biggest mentors I had in my life was my sister Lisa, but I’ve already written about her, so let’s give someone else the spotlight. During my time working at a local bank, I had an amazing mentor come into my life. She was a challenging person, but very smart, and dedicated and it was my goal to make her happy.
Her name was Tina, and she was the Senior VP of Operations at the bank. She had worked there since she was 19, I believe and moved her way thru the ranks. For the first 4 years that I worked for her, it was a struggle. I never quite felt like I was doing things to the point that she (or anyone) was completely happy with. There was a coworker that would come into the office very quietly. Every morning, I would stew about it, thinking that I’d done something to make her mad or upset. If she and Tina had a side conversation about something, I was always convinced they were talking about me. Finally, at the 4-year mark, things took a turn.
One day, Tina pulled me aside to have a conversation. I was telling her how I thought someone was upset with me and she stopped me. She said, “Michelle, you have to get rid of your paranoia.” This made me stop for a moment and think. What if it wasn’t me that was the issue? Why did I think that I was the main concern of everyone else? What made me so important?
The next day, I made a decision. Instead of assuming that I was the issue when my coworker came in quietly to work, I spoke up. “Hey there Suzie. Are you ok?” Suzie smiled weakly at me and replied, “I’m ok, but I’m dealing with another morning migraine.” WOW – I was in amazement. So – all the time that I thought Suzie was upset with me, she was actually just dealing with a headache. I can’t begin to explain the weight this took off my shoulders.
From that point on, my entire demeanor changed and I let go of my paranoia, just as Tina had suggested and the next 4 years working with her were wonderful.
Unfortunately, in January 2020, tragedy struck and Tina passed away unexpectedly at the age of 57. She will be missed by many and I will never forget the lessons she taught me. I regret to say that I never told her how much she meant to me and how much her words still resonate with me today.