Recently, I received a question regarding handling disappointment in a mentor. I’m really not certain I provided the correct answer. At most, it was an incomplete answer. I’d love to know your thoughts.
Success Coach and fellow speaker, Michelle Colon Johnson asked:
Bob, being in our industry we are surrounded by greatness. I had a client ask me today how to overcome someone disappointing them. They had a mentor make a promise (dealing with money) and not follow through. My advice was the advice that someone once gave me and it was to learn how to separate the behavior from the person and appreciate their greatness. They replied with, “HOW? How would you answer this Bob?
Michelle, regarding the specific situation you are referring to in your question, I don’t have enough information to be able to provide an opinion based on knowledge. When someone reneges on a financial promise (if that’s what happened) or any promise of substance, then I’m not sure there is a separation of the person’s behavior from their “greatness.” Their behavior says a lot about them and their alleged greatness. As T. Harv Eker says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
In other contexts, and in more minor situations, behavior can indeed be separated from qualities and wisdom a mentor possesses and from which one can learn and benefit. After all, we are all human (including mentors) and we all make mistakes (including mentors). However, by and large, dishonesty is a deal-breaker.
Again, though, I just don’t have enough information to form an intelligent conclusion.
I would, however, and based on your excellent question, Michelle, like to pose a question to our community:
What do you think? It seems that, usually, and depending upon the situation, we can separate a person’s mistakes from their greatness (i.e., their strengths). But is that always true? Is there a certain line that should not be crossed? Assuming we have enough information to know that this person did something we morally or ethically disagree with, do we “not judge” and continue to be their student? Or, do we (without negative attachment) let go of that relationship? Or, are there options I’m not considering?
Would love to know your thoughts.