On mentorship


Oh how I wish to sing.

By now I have had time to relativize every moment of today and make them seem ‘unworthy of drama’ as I try to do to everything that happens; but my mind remembers the shivers in my back. My thoughts were there, so there, when they were being told how they felt, by someone else.

Today I finally understood I had found a mentor. I always thought I would have to beg for my mentor to take me, that they would be disdainful and make me learn by copying their every move. I thought it would be so clear when I’d find them, but it wasn’t.

A good half hour before my first ‘client meeting’ I was called out for my red pants for the coordinator. I felt uneasy. I felt disrespectful towards him. I felt like I had let him down. He didn’t know me, I didn’t know him. And yet, I WORE RED PANTS. As he stepped aside, my mentor leaned over to me and whispered:

“Crap! I can’t believe he just said this! No one has given me that type of comment in ages! This stupid business school!”

But I didn’t know it yet. Know I had found someone I could finally trust. Finally believe.

But then, a few hours later, as we debriefed, she called me out on my lack of concentration during parts of the meeting, and my slightly passive lack of reflexes. I could only feel shame, lack of worthiness once more. I felt uncomfortable. Then I was asked how my last three weeks had gone.

I described how much I had enjoyed the polyvalence of my recent tasks: illustration, design, communication, hosting workshops… But how frustrated I felt by my lack of concentration. My improvised mental escapades have always been a draw-back to everything I try to do.

She quickly suggested a few ‘things’ I should perhaps try to work on my concentration, but then mentioned a parallel problematic.

“You know I can see when you want to ask questions. But often you don’t. It seems to me sometimes you are scared what I might think, scared of appearing slow. It also seems you are perhaps not confident enough. Not confident that you have a right not to understand. But you know, I have a right to let ideas jumble out even if it is unclear without worrying if I will be understood. But I can’t if I know you won’t ask.”

I thought I’d have to compromise for a mentor with the same intellectual interests as I have or one with the same passion as I do. I found both. I am very grateful, I have never been this eager to learn.


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