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I have a mentor whom I meet with a little too infrequently in my mind.  We get together every couple of months and though he’s busy, I feel like I have his focussed attention when we are together.    It’s not a friendship though we are friendly.  He agreed to mentor me in my present occupation.  I respect him and listen to him.

His questions to me are pretty standard.   1.  “what have you been doing lately (list them out)?”   I usually just get out my calendar and work over the event of the previous few weeks/months since we last connected.    2.  He then asks “why?”      3.  He then asks “how’s it working?”

He’s not “Dr. Phil” but he’s blunt like Dr. Phil.  I like him.  I give him permission to ask me those questions and he holds me accountable to the things I say.  He is always supportive but he’s not always congratulatory nor affirming.  His frequent line to me is “sounds like YOU have a problem”.  It’s been a comic exchange at times.  I say “there is a problem” and he responds, “yes there is.  Do YOU have a problem or is THERE a problem going on here?”.  Sometimes I try to communicate that THERE is a problem and he clarifies it for me, “no, it sounds like YOU have a problem”.

Recently he suggested I was “trying to hard”.  I was over functionning.  Hmmm.  Made me think.  I felt kind of honoured that he would recognize how hard I was trying.  He didn’t mean it to be a compliment.  He thought I was “trying too hard” and as a result not really helping the organization, nor really helping myself.  Hmmm.

Can you relate to it?  What do you think?    Can pastors over function?  Can parents over function?  Can spouses over function?  Can executives over function?   Hmmm.

What do you think?