Years ago, I happened upon a powerful relationship. It was somewhat accidental, yet it has also been one of the most powerful relationships that I have experienced in my life. In some ways, it has been a more powerful relationship for me than my relationship with my wife, but in other ways the relationship with my wife might not have been possible without this preceding relationship. It is a relationship marked by sometimes casual, often infrequent contact, but a commitment to each other that has been more powerful than any other friendship. I am writing about the relationship that I have, and have had, with my first Mentor.
The word mentor means experienced teacher and adviser. It has its roots in Homer’s Odyssey, referring to the teacher of Telemachus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan war, he knew that he would.lilely not return until at least some of his son’s education would.need to be handled, so he entrusted Mentor with that responsibility. In our day, the name has come to take on a much more dynamic title, fitting with the breadth of education that Mentor passed on to young Telemachus.
My own mentor has advised me on a variety of things, from handling difficulties with my parents, teachers and friends during my growing up years to discussions of politics, finance, professional and Civic responsibilities and duties to home and family. I have relied on his friendship and his wisdom to carry me through many challenges. However, I have not done a very good job of being accountable to him.
Why would I choose to be accountable to a mentor, especially in a non work setting? Well, think about what happens when we are accountable, when we choose to give an accounting of what we have done and the results. At those times, there is no ambiguity. Clarity is the name of the game; we are clear on our actions and the outcomes. The impending clarity also brings with it an urgency and an intentionality in those actions.
Perhaps if he, my mentor, and I could find ways to create authentic accountability I could see even greater gains in my progress in all facets of my life. How might we go about this? I’m not sure of the specifics, but I’m sure it really only requires two things. The first is time. Time spent together, communicating, sharing what is going on, what is going well, what is going poorly, and what improvements I wish to see. Remember, it is the mentors job to provide counsel, but my job to select and guide the process in the directions I wish to go.
The second ingredient is honesty. It will do bo good to be in a mentoring relationship and be anything less than transparent. If I am willing tomeet my mentorat that level, there is a chance that the power of accountability can start to be unleashed in my life.
It’s certainly something to think about.
If you have a mentor in your life, consider unleashing the power of accountability in your relationship. If you don’t yet have a mentor, consider finding one and taking advantage of that powerful relationship to aid you in your quest to become a man of style and substance.
Go forth and conquer!