I have had a number of experiences with potential mentors and have almost reached the conclusion that it’s all a very big hoax! There is no such thing as legitimate mentorship. Everyone seems to be out for what they can get from who; the mentor from the mentee and vice versa.
I have met people who in the name of mentoring will make you build their empire for them and then turn around and step on your head like you did not matter in the first place. It’s a very puzzling place for anyone to find themselves because when you look up to someone, you more often than not put them on a pedestal. They are untouchable because of the kind of respect you accord them. Many times you’ll even defend them in front of people who believe otherwise.
So for that person who you respect beyond anything to disrespect you and bring your world crushing down is a harsh thing. It changes you in ways you did not know were possible. It toys with your belief in the goodness of people. Many times, it has the power to tun you into a cynic!
But there’s also the case of the mentee who uses the mentor to climb their social ladder and then dump them like a sack of stale potatoes! I don’t know which is more painful! Or less irritating but I do know that even in reverse roles, it’s an ugly thing to take advantage of people. It seems to be the order of the day though- for people to believe that in life you must take what you want regardless of who stands in your way!
It’s not a pleasant thing; and it destroys so many people that they put their hope in so many human beings only for it to get thrown into their faces! As a mentor to many young people, I have found myself stuck in a place of feeling like I have out-given myself and I have nothing left to give. Yes, that is a very frustrating place to be.
So how does one deal with this whole mentor / mentee complex?
I was talking to a very wise gentleman this morning and he helped me see things in another light:
First as a mentor, understand that your job is to build whoever you’re trying to mentor. Your primary goal is to mentor not to build a friendship. A lot of mentor/mentee frustration is a result of the blurred line between mentorship and friendship.
Be deliberate in evaluating what is working and what’s not working. Know and edit each other’s expectations from get go. Communicate very clearly what expectations are realistic and which are not.
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As a mentor, at all times be transparent with whoever you mentor. Don’t bite the hard things- put them out there for the sake of this mentorship thing working. At all times, remember your role as a mentor is to build- honestly, openly and deliberately!
Are you a mentor or are you infact looking for more friends? Selah!