Everyone at some point has had a person in their life who is/was a “mentor.” This person taught you something of value, either through words or actions, that you would later implement into your own life.
The people we encounter help to shape who we are, passing down the wisdom they have learned. If we are open to receiving this wisdom this will make the journey and finding our purpose easier, which allows us to be more impactful.
I’ve been very lucky to have had several excellent teachers in various stages of my development. Their guidance has made me better, while also giving me the ability to impact others in a (hopefully) similar way.
Like many people, family members were my first mentors in life. My oldest brother, Robert, had a huge impact on my spiritual, philosophical, and musical development He studied philosophy of religion at Harvard Divinity School and went on to become a very successful chiropractor. His blending of his love of spirituality with his desire to impact people in a positive way showed me how influential we can be. He taught me HOW to think. Plus, as a wonderful guitar player with a wide range of musical taste, he definitely impacted my love of music!
My uncle, Milt Dobkin, was another hugely significant mentor in my life. My uncle was a prominent figure in the automotive industry in the Northeast. He created automotive products that became widely used at the time Tremendously innovative, he created an entire business model around training people to sell his products and showing dealer principals the ROI of having someone in their dealerships trained to do this.
I’ve been in the automotive industry myself for a few decades now, which would not have been possible had I not followed in his footsteps. Is it a male-dominated industry? You bet it is. That has never fazed me though, for my uncle, whether he knew it or not, laid the foundation for me to become a successful businesswoman in any environment.
My uncle's influence as a mentor was at the beginning of my career in this industry.
The one who really helped me grow was Ron Esserman, a true giant in the automotive industry. Being with Mr. Esserman was like getting to go to college for free! Every situation was a learning experience. Every hurdle I faced was met with sage advice and a perfectly-applicable quote (you see where I get my love of quotes now!). I’m not exaggerating when I say he was like my guardian angel, sent down to steer me in the right direction as I continued to make my mark as a professional. When he passed in July of 2020, I not only lost a boss and a friend, but a father figure. I hope I’m half as good a mentor as he was to me.
But what about my other endeavor? Unless I’ve maybe seen you in our dealership, you probably know me as Gail Gensler the pro-aging fitness enthusiast and lifestyle influencer.
During my journey in this endeavor I have been approached by many people who felt that they could guide me and help me achieve my goals. It wasn’t until I met Jana Short the founder and editor of Best Holistic Life that I felt confident that I had encountered the right person. Jana is my business coach and mentor. I call her my Obi Wan, my tutor, my teacher, and most importantly, my friend.
A true professional with an incredible life story I know that she has my best interest at heart because she understands that being a success means that you have helped others to achieve their own success. She has the knowledge and the experience and puts ME first in all we do together.
Every stage of my life has been accompanied by the perfect leader to help me succeed. As Joel Barker said, “A leader is someone who people will follow to places they would not go alone.” I would not be the grounded, confident (and silly) woman that I am without my brother Robert, I wouldn’t be in the automotive industry without my uncle I know I wouldn’t have been as successful if not for Ron Esserman’s mentorship, and I’m CERTAIN I would not have the proper direction to achieve my goals if not for Jana Short. These people have not only taught me how to improve myself, but how to improve others too and keep the wisdom flowing.
My mission to change the narrative and collective mindset about aging will require some serious leadership. If I’m a good mentor, I will be able to convince other people in the midlife to dress, exercise, and behave the way they want, not the way society wants. How will I do this? By taking a page or two out of my mentors’ books.
Because having a good mentor doesn’t just make you a better version of yourself, it turns you into a mentor yourself.