Lately, I've been thinking about mentoring and I've taken time to reflect on some of my best experiences in mentoring relationships. And one thing that keeps coming up is the role of advice in these types of relationships. As I started to journal, I realized that even though I've had my fair share of bad advice given to me, that I've also had some really excellent advice throughout the years.
So, I decided to share some of it with you! Now, some of it was from people I know very well and other times it came from resources such as podcasts or books - but the thing that I like about advice is that it let's you learn from other's mistakes, regrets and experiences.
"Work to find the best in people." - My Mom
As many of you know, I was homeschooled. I know what you're thinking and no, I don't know how to make homemade butter and I never took my sister to a school dance (she would've turned me down anyways!). For the longest time, I can remember hearing my mom say these words. She was invested in our local community, a church and with a close-knit group of friends, and so when she talked about this type of stuff, even the adolescent version of me knew to listen.
What I love about this advice, is that it clearly implies that it will often take effort to see the best in people. It's true, though, isn't it? Perhaps we have a first impression of someone and it's lackluster or maybe we wind up in a conflict with a coworker and it's painted our entire perspective of that person.
I'm glad my mom taught me this. Now, that doesn't mean that I always put this into practice, but in the times I do, I've been surprised in the fact that how we view people often influences how they relate to us.
Now, none of us would say this out loud, but the world is full of people with intentions that are far from good and maybe you've been in situations where people have deliberately set out to cause you harm.
But here's what I do know. Some of my very best friendships and relationships didn't start out in the perfect way. Instead, it often involved me working to see the best in someone instead of lazily choosing to let someone's past or mistakes determine how I interact with them.
This is harder said that done, but it's always worth it. Whether it's an annoying coworker or an overbearing friend - I challenge you to do the work of finding the best in them and celebrating it. You'll be surprised as you develop relationships with people that you once avoided - and perhaps you'll realize that a lot of what we experience is of our own making.
What is a piece of advice that you've been given that has helped you relate to people?