The road we wander is far from simple. Full of confusing signs, potholes (I’m looking at you Houston roads), traffic, and just plain ole confusing nonsense, it’s easy to lose your bearings. I remember as a child before we went on long road trips, my dad would always stop by our local AAA to get a small forest’s worth of maps, guidebooks, and brochures. Despite all the guidance, we would still get lost because of my dad’s determination to ignore the maps and guides, which brings me to my first point on mentorship.

  1. Stop, listen, and think.

You can have the most brilliant mentor in the world, but if you choose to ignore all their advice then there is no point in having a mentor at all. Just like my father had all the sources he could ever want to get from point A to point B, his frequent decision to rely upon his own intuition led to many extra hours on the road on so called “shortcuts.” The same applies to our relationships with our mentors. Before we try to dispute a mentor’s advice, let us first stop, listen, and think.

  1. Trust, but verify.

But every once in a while, my dad would stumble upon some shortcut not given in the “official” directions. As the old adage goes, “Trust, but verify.” Like a map, mentors can be outdated or just flat out wrong. Just because we have the wisdom of a mentor, doesn’t mean we should give up all semblance of critical thought.

  1. Participate in an active mentorship.

These mentorships are ones where mentees actively seek out advice, participate in various opportunities, and critically reflect on the advice of mentors.

All of us have mentors, formally or informally. As we continue through these relationships, hopefully we can all participate in active mentorships.

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