Today  will stick with me for a long time. For over a year now, I’ve brought lunch to an elementary school and hung out with the same kid. I won’t use his real name so let’s just go with Cletus since I have always wanted to have a friend named Cletus.

Cletus is smart. He is funny and I really like hanging out with him. Two days ago, I attempted to connect with him and he wasn’t at school. I was disappointed but I was also at the point of giving up. I even told his assistant principal, the program coordinator, those words almost exactly

“I’m just not reaching him.”

I really didn’t think I was doing any good. I was counting down the days until the end of this school year so  I could tell myself I didn’t quit on him.

Today was different because Cletus finally opened up to me and showed he trusted me. He wanted to confide things in me which were bothering him. He welled up in tears at some things in his life, and I did too.

Until today, I took for granted the work I was doing which established an important foundation with Cletus.

And I’m the moron here because it was something I have known all along. I finally gave Cletus a BLT. He believed, liked and trusted me.

In some sales training classes, they teach you about the BLT. You can’t establish rapport with a client without it. You can’t close a sale without rapport and you’re just wasting your time. A key part of the sales process is that the prospect has to believe, like and trust you. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels.

I can’t believe I looked right past how important believing, liking and trusting your mentor is in the mentoring process. Of course, I understood this academically. However, today it was a lesson I won’t forget (I hope).

I share this because I hope it encourages someone. I wish that I could say mentoring is fun and awesome all the time. The truth is sometimes it is not. It is frustrating and exhausting and you just want to quit. But you can’t. You have to get back up and be consistent and show up.

If all of this sounds a lot like love, that is by design. It’s because I believe all of this falls under the umbrella of love. And my good friend Robert Earl Keen once said it best,

“Flesh and blood it turns to dust and scatters in the wind,

Love is all that matters in the end.”