I did not have a mentor until about six years ago. This probably sounds insane to some, especially if I mention that I was in the military for 11 years, separating almost 12 years ago.
I never understood the importance of mentorship. From an outsider’s perspective, it just looked like the mentor was using their status to benefit someone they favored.
However, I learned a valuable lesson from my first ever mentor. I learned that I have no idea how anyone else’s relationship is with others, even if they tell me, and I should not concern myself with it. I learned to focus on my relationships and my life a little more every year under this wise person’s guidance.
For five years, I was mentored for the first time ever. To be honest, I didn’t even know I was being mentored at first. It was a beautiful, challenging, and sometimes annoying relationship. I did not always like what he had to say and he did not always like that I did not follow his guidance 100 percent.
It was tough when I realized I outgrew my mentor. Just like you will never forget your first love-you will never forget your first mentor. I clung to him for dear life-believing I would drown without the security of his guidance. Little by little, he became less invested and less available to me.
It hurt. But, it was necessary. He understands me and knew that he could not tell me I no longer needed him the way I once did. He could not tell me enough that not only would I swim without him, but I would fly.
I now understand you cannot know the value of mentorship until you have experienced it.