How to Harness the PoWEr of Perspective: with Dr Joanna Berry

As the age-old saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved”.

But are we halving our problems with the right people in our lives?   

While certain challenges require that you turn to the people who know you best such as friends or family there are some cases where having impartial and subjective pillars of support within your network can be the most effective of all. 

This is where mentors come in.  

On this week’s episode of the Northern Power Women podcast, Simone Roche MBE chats to Dr Joanna Berry, mentor extraordinaire and Associate Professor and Director of Durham Energy Institute at Durham University, as they spotlight the PoWEr of mentoring. In the episode, Joanna shared how mentoring has impacted the direction of her career for the better, and encourages listeners to seek out mentors who can provide appreciation, encouragement and a subjective view when it is needed most.  

As well as feeling that her confidence and energy had been redirected by her mentor, Joanna’s biggest takeaway from her mentoring relationship was a heightened appreciation for the value of an impartial voice. While our existing personal and professional networks might be infinitely valuable for different problems, Joanna highlighted how people in different spheres of your life might not be the best port of call in a tricky situation:  

“You can’t always lean on co-workers, because they can get competitive, you can’t always lean on family members, because they’ll always tell you you’re great, you can’t always lean on people that you might have chosen as life partners because they might not want to tell you that you’re not great, so having a mentor who is productive, constructive and critical can be really valuable”.  

Reflecting in particular on one instance where the impartiality of her mentor saved her mental health, Joanna spoke of the advice she received through mentoring: 

“The perspective that I got from my mentor was that for my health, for my mental health, for my sanity and for the sake of my future resilience, what I needed to do was walk away. That was a really difficult lesson to learn, and left to myself I would have beaten myself against the brick wall that was this particular problem and I would have lost the battle and an essential part of myself.” 

If you’re ready to seek impartial advice and feel the benefits of mentoring and networking, sign up to our one-hour PoWEr Up Networking Event, in partnership with Barclays.