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The Mentor/Mentee Relationship


Why am I writing about this today? Because things come up that make you go hmmmm, and I had to speak to it.

Theresa Reed and I had a great mentor/student relationship, and we still have an ongoing relationship, over a year after we closed on our apprenticeship.

There’s so much admiration and appreciation I have for this woman. Truly, tons. Which is why I feel the need to write this post about mentors and students going about the whole mentorship thing the wrong way.

Some people think that having a mentor means copying them move for move, business strategy for business strategy, word for friggin’ word. SO not the case. In fact, that’s a way for a mentor/mentee relationship to go straight down the tubes of anger, resentment, and downright plagiarism.

Fact: Theresa and I have many strong, awesome business ladies and men that we hold in high regard. Most of those classy broads and dudes I know, or know of, through Theresa, such as:

❥ Alexandra Franzen

❥ Marie Forleo

❥ Erika Lyremark

❥ Denise Duffield-Thomas

❥ and more…

Interestingly enough, while we look to the same people for inspiration, encouragement, and business swag, we tend to take different approaches to applying the wisdom culled from them. That’s because there is a difference between outright copying (which Marie Forleo talks about a bit here: How to Make Your Business Stand Out from the Crowd) and the form of learning called “modeling”. And no, I’m not talking about RuPaul!

What is modeling, in the business sense, and what’s the diff between modeling and outright copying? Marie Forleo covers it pretty damn well in this video:

The right mentor can absolutely make the difference, and I adore great mentors. And the right student that commits their time and attention to learning the ropes from a seasoned pro is golden in my book.

So I’m VERY done with some mentors not reveling in their students’ successes (and in fact, sometimes sabotaging them outright!), and students copying their mentors verbatim and then acting surprised when their teachers get pissed. Mentors should be stoked when their students excel (let me clue you in: it means y’all did a good job!) and students should realize that a mentorship isn’t a free ride and the work needs to be done themselves.

It happens across all business types and relationships… this ain’t just a problem in the metaphysical biz. Think about it the next time you have a great idea… are you sure the idea is yours? When following the idea, is it still your voice we’re hearing, and your opinion… or are the words not ringing true? If you get a ‘yes’, rrrrrrrewind, my friend, and examine.

Recommended Reading:

Do You Know the Difference Between Mentor, Coach, and Teacher?

Mentorship Wrap-Up (aka the Tarot Apprentice Rises)


Image courtesy of ddpavumba /

Join in the discussion: Have you mentored someone and gotten jealous by their success? Gotten your style jacked by a student? Or maybe it ain’t all bad and you want to share some pride in your mentor or mentee? Leave a comment below!

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3 Responses to The Mentor/Mentee Relationship

  1. I’ve been extremely proud of the work you’ve been doing, Hilary. Keep it up!


    • Hilary says:

      I know you’re proud of me, T, and I’m equally proud of you! You know I wouldn’t be here without your patented brand of tough love and asskickery! 😉

  2. […] found people make SO many excuses, especially when they are afraid. Students should realize that a mentorship isn’t a free ride and the work needs to be done themselves, and teachers can’t be doing the […]

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