A friend, Ben made a video about mentors. He explained how a mentor he aspired to be like drained his inspiration for a very long time. Ben said he had this teacher he really looked up to, he literally idolized the man. But a business deal brought both Ben and his hero together after many years of losing contact. The teacher couldn’t recognise Ben. Of course Ben recognised him. According to Ben, the business deal went bad because his hero wasn’t ethical in his dealings. Ben was so disappointed. Is this who he really is? Ben asked. He didn’t describe in details but this incident kept him down for years. In his short video he warned against looking up to people so much that it hurts when they disappoint us. Nobody is perfect, even our parents disappoint us sometimes, that’s what makes us humans, our imperfections. In this post I will talk about my views on mentorship and how you should handle mentors.
The goal isn’t to be like your mentor, it is to be guided by your mentor
This reminds me of one of our favourite ways to tease people here in Nigeria, “I want to be like you when I grow up ooh” LOL. It’s also a compliment though.
Back to business. A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modelling positive behaviours. From this definition, the goal is to be guided by your mentor, not to be a mini version of him or her. We all want to be the best we can be, but how can you be the best trying to be someone else when the best you can be is yourself.
When you say someone is your mentor, let that person, his life or his books guide you into being or building what you want to be not what he is. Don’t lose yourself trying to be someone else.
Don’t idolise anybody, only God should be idolised
From Ben’s story, he so idolised his mentor. The man was his idol. When your idol disappoints, of course you get hurt. Do you even know that idolising humans is a sin? LOL. I know you just screamed in your mind, “how?” Yeah, I read peoples mind too. Or maybe I don’t, you never can tell #winks. The point is, you idolise him, which makes him your idol, which makes it idolatry. At this point I will let the 10 commandments say the rest.
When you idolise humans, you give them room to hurt you. When you idolise people, you just become another version of them.
What part of your life is he/she mentoring you?
It is wrong to have a mentor and not know what part of your life he/she is mentoring. You can’t receive mentorship in every area of your life from one person. I am yet to see that person that has an all-round perfect life. Someone might be good in business but treats his family wrongly. Your pastor might be a good Christian but is reckless with money.
Pick the part of your mentors’ life you want to be guided by him/her. At that point you will get the best you can from your mentor because his or her incapacity in other areas of life doesn’t bother you. Let your business mentor guide your business decisions only.
Understudy your mentor properly
I have a mentor. He is a great innovator, an Entrepreneur, a motivator, a leader and a strategist. I won’t disclose his name because I will do a post about him tomorrow, so do come back. Better still subscribe to get the link to the post delivered to your email. I have read his books, watched a movie about him, and seen YouTube videos of him. The point is I understudied him, I know his bad and good sides. I know him, I know what I want to tap from him. My mentor was irresponsible at some point in some of his decisions. He didn’t care about the people he should have cared about, and he was hardly sober at some point in his life. But it was the way he built one of the most amazing companies of all time that interests me. How he brought out the best in people was exemplary.
My understudying this man is making me get the best from the life he lived. I try to model his good side, and caution myself when I’m modelling his bad sides.
Mentors are necessary, but don’t let them ruin you. Did I mention that my mentor denied a pregnancy he knew was his? Well, story for tomorrow.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed the post, please like, share and comment.