One of the most important relationships you’ll ever have is that between a mentor and mentee. It could be a parent/child relationship, a coach/player relationship, a teacher/student relationship, or a boss/employee relationship.
The challenge with these relationships is that the most friction anyone will ever typically have is found in an mentor/mentee relationship.
Because usually, no one challenges a child more than a parent. And no one challenges a mentee more than a mentor, or the coach and a player or a teacher and a student.
Whenever a challenge takes place, it’s easy to take it personally. We don’t really like it when it happens. And we respond to it in different ways.
One of the most eye-opening moments for me regarding mentor/mentee relationships came about through a conversation with a good friend of mine. The discussion was about a relationship between a father and son, but I realized that it has a lot to do with any relationship with an authority figure, and the relationships that you’ll have the most friction in as an entrepreneur.
He said that almost all fathers and sons go through these three phases of a relationship:
- First, the son idolizes the father
“My dad is the greatest! He’s just amazing! He’s the most powerful person in the world!”
It could also look like, “I love my mommy. I love my coach. I love my teacher. They’re just such great people.”
- Second, there’s a phase where the challenge takes place
In this phase, we demonize our parents, our leaders, our coaches, our mentors.
- Third, we realize no one is perfect
In this phase, we humanize the person and accept their imperfections without being angry about them.
The kicker is to get to the phase of humanizing as quickly as possible.
So my challenge to you today is to start working on humanizing the relationships that you have with your mentors, coaches, teachers, and parents. By doing so, you’ll reduce friction in the relationships that matter most.