Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mentoring 101


When I was younger, one of the questions they used to ask frequently either in schools or when you’re filling that “goodbye book” everybody used to fill back then (I think it was called slung book or something, forgive me if I’m wrong) was “Who is your Role Model?”.  My curious self always wondered what anybody’s business was with whom my mentor was and I remembered having different answers every time the question was asked. I had Ben Carson, Pastor Adeboye, My Dad, and My Mum and so on at different points in time. I’m sure of one thing though: My Dad had the highest number of occurrences then; I’ve always wanted to be (partially) like him and I still want to be like him today.

As I grew older; I came to realize that there’s a major difference between whom you admire and who you want to be like. I might admire and get inspiration from someone who isn’t my role model. Let’s break it down in the most basic way we can:
A role is a function or a position
A model is a standard or example for imitation or comparison.

Admire: to regard something (someone, a quality, etc.) with respect or warm approval.
Therefore, a role model is the standard in a function or a position.  

This is how I understand it: I might appreciate some qualities about a person, but it doesn’t mean I want to be like the person. For instance (and this is not personal in any way), I appreciate some qualities about Beyoncé- her voice, her ability to hold it all together and of course, her figure, but I do not want to be her or want to be like her simply because she doesn’t fit into the picture of how I see myself. On the flip side, I’d look at Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and think “hmm, that’s a great woman that I can fashion some parts of my life after”

If you call somebody your role model, following the definition above, the person should presently be or should have been in a position where you know that you can fit into with little or no adjustments; so it will be easier and more appropriate for me (as a techie) to call Marissa Mayer (Yahoo) a model than to call Victoria Azerenka (Tennis).

Also, I have come to discover that it is almost impossible to have one role model- professionally, spiritually or personally except God is your model. God is the only one that cut it perfectly; every other person comes with baggage and the ability to be able to separate the baggage from the exceptional qualities is what makes you the better person. You definitely have someone you aspire to be like personally, another professionally, another martially and the list goes on because of certain qualities that have that you see yourself being able to emulate. Combine all of that together with your own baggage, and you have a total package. (Did you notice I just rhymed? :D) If you have just one model, you have to be a really blessed person.  

I found an article on Forbes recently talking about mentorship amongst female professionals and different people had different things to say about how the women already at the top (Generation X) do not properly mentor the younger generation (Generation Y). This one stood out for me:

“I recently spoke with a female leader I admire about work/personal life balance.  She explained to me that she has given all of her energy and time to her professional life, and in retrospect, at 65 years old, she wishes that she had allowed for more balance with other areas of her life.  This conversation affirmed me in my personal search for balance and my own recognition that I seek professional mentors who share my values. I do not want to live to work – I want to work to live.  I want to succeed at work and contribute to my work place and community.  I want the time I spend working to be meaningful, but I also want plenty of time to pursue passions outside of work such as volunteering, having a family and traveling.  If I found a mentor who did not share those values, their advice would have only limited value to me.”

This leads me to the question:

What do you personally look for in a role model or mentor, both professionally, personally and in other ways?

Side Notes
  • Forgive all the tech names. Err…I’m techie.
  • There’s a slight difference between a mentor and a role model. I have used them to mean the same thing here.
  • Big birthday shout out to Toinlicious. Wish you many more years in good health and prosperity. God bless you!
  • Thank God It’s (almost) Friday. J
  • Shout out to my two new followers. Thank you guys J


  1. lol@rhyming stunts u were pulling
    hmm,,,i get that part abt God being ur role model and then nicely cut
    i know all humans hv flaws and so, wen like u fr being u, i like u and can look up to u. d ish is just wen u fall my hand. its not easy fr me to look at u d same way again but with God's grace, i did try and hope it could be restored
    well, what i look for in a role model or mentor as u put it wud be He/she must Love God eg the likes of Lisa bevere, Kenneth hagin, and some i myt perhaps remember later. i just love someone i can relate to, y'know, who doesnt make this spiritual journey sound like one heavy burden...its sin that shd e a burden and nt my belief in God, you get?
    professionally, u shd be someone who knows what he/she is doing and lets the whole world know this and dont be too proud to let ppl know its God behind it all
    personally, ur life shd inspire me.
    so best role model..Jesus..He knew where He was coming from, made it clear where he was going and did a good job of letting us know we could be like Him
    hope i havent turned ur blog to my notebook sha...loool

    1. Wow! Thanks for your comment. Very insightful! I totally get that part about belief in God not being a burden. Many people make it seem so.

      Lol @ turning my blog to notebook. iAppreciate.

      God bless you!

  2. Is it okay if my role model is a fictional character? Jane Eyre. :)

    I miss your old blog template!!!

    1. Lol. Of course...what matters is the reason you chose her. But Jane Eyre though...Lol.

      Seriously??? I always thought that template was a lil ominous and this is err...happier...?

  3. Thanks for following my blog. Now following back. Hope to be inspired by you.


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