Good mentorship

Four Things That Make You A Terrible Mentee

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety.

Proverbs 11:14

Mentorship is such a terrific thing to include in human relationships. This relationship is so invaluable that you’ll hardly find anyone who goes far in life without being mentored by an industry leader, directly or indirectly.

In my understanding (and from my many experiences), mentorship makes our life processes smoother and faster. Sound counsel from our mentors helps us navigate each season of our lives with less effort because mentors would have walked similar paths and succeeded at those things we are still trying to accomplish. It’s like seeing the answers to your examination questions just before you get into the hall.

Sweetheart, mentorship will save you the time and resources you would have spent making mistakes and picking yourself up because you’ll learn from your mentor’s mistakes. So, I recommend you have a mentor (or mentors) you look up to for guidance in different areas of your life.

However, there is a thin line between mentorship and human worship; most people do not realize when they cross that line.

So, in this post, I’ll show you four things you may be doing that show you’re a terrible mentee and may have crossed the line between mentorship and human worship.

You Become a Sponge

Your mentor should have more knowledge, wisdom, or experience than you do in whatever area of life for which you follow them. However, you should also have personal values and belief systems guiding your actions and decisions.

If you act like a sponge and absorb everything they say or mirror to you, hook, line, and sinker, then that mentorship may be doing you more harm than good.

After receiving counsel from a mentor, you should first express gratitude or let them know you have acknowledged what they said. Next, you take time and sort through what you see or hear. Some will not work for you based on your natural wiring or beliefs. Discard or save those for later, and use the ones that work for you.

Why is it essential to constantly filter the counsel of a mentor?

First, while your journey may be similar to your mentor’s, you’re still you, and they remain them. Not everything that works well for them will work for you. Your precise destination and graces still differ from theirs.

Secondly, if your mentor has not thoroughly dealt with self-centeredness, they’re going to want you to continue to do or live off everything they say. When you eventually realize you can decide what you use and what you discard, they may put an end to the relationship or subject you to unnecessary drama.

You Esteem Your Mentor’s Words Over God’s Word

Now this is where I have severe issues with the mentorship relationship. If you ever find that you’d rather do what your mentor says than follow God’s precepts as revealed in His Word, then I’m sorry to break it to you: you’ve dabbled into human worship.

While it is honorable to please your mentor, remember that they are only human, and their breath is in their nostrils. God, on the other hand, is the Giver of life and knows what is best for you.

So, if you sense God leading you in a particular direction, and your mentor happens to lead you contrary, the wise thing to do is to prayerfully and respectfully decline their suggestions making sure to let them know God’s stand. Better still, save your relationship some drama and let God reveal His counsel to them.

You Cannot Make the Slightest Decision Without Your Mentor

Your mentor is supposed to guide you, not live your life for you. Hence, you should be able to make certain decisions without necessarily getting their input. Your mentor should also not take God’s place when it comes to making decisions.

And this is not arrogance in any way.

As a mature person (I suppose), you should be able to weigh the impacts and consequences of your decisions before making them. That’s because at the end of the day, you, not your mentor, will bear the consequences of your choices. 

It’s okay to hear what your mentor has to say and maybe get a tip or two from what they have experienced. But remember that everyone is unique, and their experience will not always be yours.

So, build the competence to make decisions without external interference. Most especially, build your relationship with God – He gives the best counsel.

But, suppose you encounter difficulties in your decision-making process. In that case, you can seek the counsel of one or two mentors so that they can help you see the bigger picture better and point out blindspots you may not see by yourself. In the long run, however, you’re still the primary stakeholder in your life.

You’re Not Growing

So, Mr. A has been your mentor for 10 years, yet you’ve failed a million times where he clearly succeeded?

Then you were not subjected to mentorship. You’ve only been Mr. A’s number-one fan.

The hallmark of mentorship is that you experience success in the area of life for which you need your mentor. So, if your career mentor is doing exceedingly well at their job, you should be able to attain an acceptable level of excellence in your job as well. Else, why did you follow them in the first place?

Tell me in the comments (or write in your journal), have you been playing this mentorship game well enough? What will you start to do differently?

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