3. Mentoring is More Than Caring/Friendship. It is Imparting and Speaking Hard Truths with Love.

When I first started trying to mentor, I only had the title. I wasn’t really operating as a leader. I was insecure, afraid my mentees wouldn’t like me, and terrified I’d lose their affection if I corrected them. So I only knew how to care for people during their ‘tough times’ which usually meant ‘exams’.

I think when they saw I wasn’t leading, they fell away, quite naturally 🙂 – people only truly follow if you have something to offer. I’m improving as I build up a confidence in God and develop a courage to lead as a lifestyle.

While friendship is something good to offer, people can find friends in many places. What’s rare and priceless are good mentors that offer tough love: people who are honest with you, who point out your mistakes, who help you improve. These relationships of trust take time to develop…and I really appreciate people who have that place in my life – I do not allow just anyone to do that. It takes some time before you can trust someone has your best interests at heart.

Here’s a secret: most of these valuable people are extremely busy because they’re leading fulfilling lives, so don’t expect them to give you single-minded attention. They are also humans with 24 hours and limited energy. I’ve learnt over the years to wait patiently, to accommodate, to support them in every way I can, not to have unrealistic expectations, BUT I run hard after them and do not let them get away until I manage to get time with them! I fight my way in. You have to want to be mentored.

When you experience the benefits of that kind of good mentoring, you will want to do the same for others: love gracefully but love tough. 🙂