M.A.C.S [book]: Chapter 2 – A Tale of Two ‘Mentors’ | When to Brush Things Off

By: Jasmine Monique Lewis

In chapter one, “Roles, Relevance & Realness”, of our series, M.A.C.S [book]: Mentors, Advisors, Coaches & Sponsors, we defined each role, its importance and three authenticity qualities, which determine an effective, healthy and successful M.A.C.S relationship, the ‘C’s.

Chapter 2 – A Tale or Two “Mentors “

For chapter two of our M.A.C.S [book] series, we will focus on Mentors. In A Tale of Two “Mentors”, I will demonstrate through parables of my college and entrepreneurship journey, lessons I learned by having two female mentors. Chapter 2 – A Tale of Two “Mentors” is comprise of three separate sub sections: When to Brush Things Off, How or When to Terminate or Take a Break in a Relationship and lastly, The Necessity of Open Communication. In “When to Brush Things Off” section, referred to as Brush It Off, we will discuss why and how not to become immersed in minuscule occurrences and lose sight of having mentorship in your life. A Mentor should be beneficial in your personal and/or professional development. You should have multiple mentors throughout your life because individuals have different skills and expertise. People’s knowledge and experience are not interchangeable, thus, you can learn and acquire a plethora of knowledge and wisdom from others with various backgrounds.

When to Brush Things Off

In every relationship, situations will arise that affect you based on your values, beliefs or principles. The events can be positive, negative or neutral. I am learning not to dwell on negative events and continue to move forward. With relationships, whether its mentorship, coaching or even friendship, you have to learn when to brush things off, converse, and/or take a break/permanently cease an association. It is a hard and necessary process to grow, learn and be our best self. When circumstances occur in relationships that negatively affect me, for example, hurting my feelings or conflicting with my values, I attempt to use a combination of rationality, intuition, spirituality, personal and others’ experiences to resolve my dilemma.

In this M.A.C.S [book] series, I want my experiences and life lessons to transform and improve your life. You do not have to relive my experiences or mistakes. I share them so you can live and perform better. Using life parables from both relationships, I will demonstrate how and why to brush things off, converse, and take a break or end an association.

Let the page commencing begin!

When Others Say It Can’t be Done, Show Them

From a Liberal Arts major to a STEAM learner

I enrolled in college as an English major with a decisive dream to attend law school and own/operate a legal practice. However, after an excruciatingly boring internship at New Orleans Civil District Court, I was inspired by my love of Yu-Gi-Oh!, a trading card game revered for its intensive strategy and game mechanics, to create a gamer social network. Ignorant of how to begin, I networked in my business courses and discovered Computer Information Systems, a Computer Science major with a Business Administration minor. Initially my obsession to create a gamer social network was the catalyst for learning Computer Science, however, I became in love with its analytics, creativity, complexity and utility, especially programming. With tenacity and motivation to fulfill my new dream, I began teaching myself full stack web development. Using books, blogs and YouTube videos to learn HTML, CSS, PHP and SQL. Because I lacked internet access at home, I would spend time in between classes and late nights at school, teaching myself full stack.

A Naïve Novice’s Big Dream Pierced with Harsh Words

I met the department chair and would regularly seek assistance and guidance on my software business venture. Anytime I asked, she would help debug errors that I did not understand, guide me in the necessary directions and provide resources. However, as a novice and naïve freshman, teaching myself a computer language the school offered seniors, she would always state to wait until I take higher level courses. Unfazed, I continued studying, learning and asking. On one occasion, I copied an entire block of code from a beginner’s book to learn to get it to work with my database. As legend had it, it did not and I received multiple errors. I attempted debugging, but to no avail. Of course, I asked my mentor for assistance. Frustrated by my impatience to wait until enrolling in the database course, she bluntly stated “You cannot build this. I am telling you, it can’t be done.” Those words pierced my heart deeper than the death of a beloved mother’s weeping for her children. I barely held back tears from streaming down my face.

From Novice to Proficient in Midst of Heartache

For a few days after the occurrence, I was sad, hurt and disappointed that a department chair would say those words to a Computer Science student. Especially, when we live in a world where billion dollar companies are created in garages, dorm rooms and high school bedrooms. Nevertheless, I did not let her piercing words prevent me from pursuing my business venture and asking her for assistance. I brushed it off and focused on my goal. Before the beginning of my senior year, I was able to develop the client and server-side of a fully functioning, web content management system on my own! Interestingly, even after that conversation of her disapproval, she was always there and continues to guide me.

Don’t Let Others Dissuade You

Parable’s Takeaway

When you are working on endeavors of great magnitude, people will state you cannot accomplish them. Regardless of their education, experience or credentials. It is either from their own mindset and philosophy or their experiences and limitations that they have set for you or themselves. The department chair was fully capable of developing a social network, after all she holds a doctorate in Computer Science and has worked at high tech companies, Google and Apple, Inc., just to name a few. The problem arose when she thought my inexperience and current programming skills would prevent me. I did not fault her for it, simply because I believed in myself and the vision.

Mentors are people. No different than me or you, however, they possess skills, abilities, knowledge and resources you may not have at your disposal. Situations will arise in your relationships, however, you have to determine if it violates your values, beliefs and principles.

Lesson #3

Do not let others’ words or ideas prevent accomplishing your dreams, goals and aspirations. Sometimes people will not believe, until you show them.

Determining When to Brush It Off

To determine when to Brush It Off, I ask these questions:

  1. Does it conflict with my values, principles or beliefs?
  2. Does it cause discomfort and prevent me from the pursuit?
  3. Is it that person’s mindset, hindrance or personality?

Mentors are individuals that should aid in either your personal and/or professional development. Although they may not agree with everything you believe or aspire to, they should be open and supportive. As aforementioned in my gamer social network story, even though my mentor did not think I possessed the skills to bring my vision to life, she always was available to assist and did not turn me away when I needed her help the most. Sometimes you have to Brush It Off and keep moving forward. In life, people will say you cannot accomplish your ideas or put limitations on you; it is your responsibility to believe in yourself and focus on you goals. Do not waste time auguring or explaining, your success will show them.

I hope you all learned not to give up and take initiative on your dreams, regardless if a Mentor, Advisor, Coach or Sponsor, state otherwise. Until next time!

One more thing: with all human relationships, there are two personalities and two characters, yours and theirs; so get your M.A.C.S [book]!