Public Comment on UnRepeatable: We are Called to Make a Difference (In Others)


The word “mentoring” does not appear in the Bible. But examples of wise advice and counsel appears throughout. In Exodus, we learn how Jethro gave management guidance on delegation and subsidiarity to his son-in-law Moses.

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26 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Cabral says:

    I enjoyed reading the article. It brought up some interesting ideas about the idea of leadership through love or service. As a leader, one needs to understand and care for their team’s goals and visions. It is also essential to support the team and each team member’s individual needs. Since each person has human dignity, they should be treated with love and respect. Without these two things, they will struggle to grow and succeed in that environment. This means that we should see people as unique individuals instead of as means to an end. When managing, it is crucial to not only relate to others, but to care about them. It is about going the extra step to help them to grow as a person. As a leader, it is also essential to give people the encouragement that they need, as well as keep them accountable for their actions. We should be focused on creating strong, healthy relationships with our mentors. One can do this by creating a safe space for their teams to voice concerns. Leaders also must realize that they cannot do it alone; leaders must lean on others to keep them accountable and encourage them to be the best version of themselves.

  2. Chris Resetar says:

    In reading this article it reminded me of a mantra that one of my elementary school teachers used to emphasize over and over again throughout the school and that was “If I leave you with anything I want you to learn how to make mistakes and lean to accept the mistakes of others.” At face value, this mantra is antithetical to everything that school seems to emphasize with a focus on individual achievements such as letter grades and honor societies. While I didn’t understand the importance of learning to make mistakes until much later in life I have found that sage wisdom passed down to me many years ago to be immensely valuable.

    Nowadays, my main takeaway from learning to make mistakes is my acceptance that I am innately human and while I will fail over and over and over again I have the wonderful ability to assess my approach and make changes but also to lean on my many supports when I need them. For most people whom I deal with on a day-to-day basis they understand that if they come to me seeking help that I will ensure that I provide the best answer I can yet at the same time be honest, truthful, and respectful. In return, I expect that my friends, mentors, teachers, bosses, etc. apply the same standards to me and when I fail help me up and learn to improve from the experience.

  3. Richelle A Torres says:

    Mentoring “provides support and actionable tasks to encourage individuals to identify their unique, indeed, unrepeatable talents.” A good mentor wants to see his/her mentees be successful and to achieve more of what they had accomplished. Yes, there is certainly a lot of obstacles one must experience in order to reach one’s potentials and a mentor helps mentees so as to not to duplicate the same errors they did “but also to avoid repeating mistakes made by others”. I believe I can hear mentors say, ‘been there, done that!’ Since mentors had already gone down the road that their mentees are about to take, they, more or less, knew the ups and downs, the tricks and techniques, of overcoming barriers mentees are to face.

    Mentors are also expected to know and support their mentees in order to guide them to the correct path, however, this should not mean micro-managing mentees rather, this should be an opportunity to understand more about their mentees and to let them “practice what they have learned from their mentors.” Mentees, on the other hand, must be able to seek advice, when needed, and not to be too arrogant on asking for help when they fail.

    “Encouragement and accountability are key theme in Unrepeatable.” It must be a two-way relationship, when the mentee has reached his/her success, mentee should never forget and leave his/her mentor out of the picture of his/her victory. The mentee’s success is also a triumph to his/her mentor.

  4. Colin Klingman says:

    Well written piece, and valuable information and lessons on the importance of mentoring. I really like the quote from Jack Kemp, “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Mentoring and leadership is all about the positive interactions that can be formed from a mentor and mentee. I am really interested on the template for mentoring that Burgis and Miller suggest. More templates and mentor programs should be available. Educating and more information on how to lead and mentor will help people develop future leaders. As a leader, it is their responsibility to help their followers develop as well. I think a good representation of leadership and effective mentoring is looking at their followers or mentees. Lastly, I really like the idea of never repeating mistakes as a mentor. The quote from Jethro to Moses, “Don’t make the mistakes I did; make your own and grow and surpass me” makes me think about the idea of vicarious learning. A mentor has had the experiences in life that a mentee hasn’t had. It is their job to emphasize the idea of learning through what they see and have experienced. In order to be an effective mentor and leader, you need to emotionally connect with the people that look up to you.

  5. Victoria Barros says:

    I truly enjoyed reading this article, thank you. This article for me brought up different ways to look and interpret a mentor, mostly putting it in the perspective of God’s teachings. I honed in on the section of “Make new mistakes” it is important to do and understand that mistakes are almost like stepping stones in our own growths. Personal and professional. It is so easy for mentors to say “don’t make the same mistakes, I made,” we as leaders and managers are guilty of ensuring we vocalize the do’s and don’ts, but we fail to see that those do’s and don’ts are what has shaped us. We instead need to make sure we provide the safe space and support needed to guide the mentees.

    It is important that we understand the meaning of mentorship and look at those who have been mentors and continue to be ones in our own lives.
    “(Mentorship) It provides support and actionable tasks to encourage individuals to identify their unique, indeed, unrepeatable talents.” This quote stands out to me, as this is a part of mentoring we do not tend to think about, mentoring is not about giving and receiving sound advice of what has worked well for the mentor, but part of the learning and guidance is about leaning into the professional growth that each person has in them that is unique. It is about pulling out strengths and qualities that will help success that will not only translate in the professional growth but personal as well.

  6. Marybeth Osazuwa says:

    I absolutely enjoyed reading the journal article for the assigned reading. It provided me with such a great perspective and insight on mentoring that I wasn’t aware of. I specifically like where it discussed the fact that love is the answer and that we should put what we learn into practice. I firmly believe that is entirely true, due to the fact that when we learn something passing it to others goes a long way, or simply utilizing the information allows growth. I absolutely enjoyed reading the article because it spoke about mentoring and how a mentor isn’t just a parent it can also be a coach, a manger, or simply any individual willing to take on the role of guiding individuals. I absolutely believe it is important to have individuals within the world who are willing to take on the role of being a mentor for others, and open to supporting individuals altogether. While in high school I struggled tremendously my freshman year with making friends and thankfully one of my teachers took on that role to help me and push me into the direction of forming friendships with individuals and without her guidance I wouldn’t have made thos friends and I would have been without many friends. Mentors are important and needed.

  7. NS says:

    This article brought up a lot of valuable points. Two comments particularly stood out to me: The first being that managers are coaches and coaches are managers. This connection is one of the reasons studying Management & Leadership has helped me grow as a sports coach. If a coach only coaches then they may struggle to find organization within the group. For example, they need to figure out how to best manage their schedule, their players, and their recruiting. A lot of time coaches aren’t necessarily coaching. Similarly, managers should not always managing. They should be taking the time to mentor their employees and help them grow as leaders. Leaders create leaders.

    The second point that resonated with me was Jack Kemp’s quote: “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Talking at people and talking with people are to very different actions. When coaches are able to explain why they are doing something or showing the team something, players tend to have more buy-in. Likewise, a mutual care and passion for the team develops a more loyal culture. If a player sees how invested their coach is to the process, they will have a stronger desire to perform well. They will want to work for other people other than themselves.

  8. William Duke says:

    As a student at the Catholic University of America, the influence of the Bible in my work and studies has been prominent. Especially in the world of business, the Bible offers many extremely impactful points that can benefit the ethical aspects of companies. I believe that mistakes are part of learning in every aspect of life, but the most crucial aspect of understanding how to progress is identifying the characteristics of a mistake. Analyzing why a certain mistake occurred and what occurred as a result of the mistake is the most important piece to progress and prevent errors from occurring over time. These mistakes can be business decisions, employees, or errors in future planning. The best companies in the world learn from the mistakes of similar companies and plan for a variety of situations that can occur in such an unpredictable world. I greatly enjoy how Professor Yoest is able to connect many essential messages from the Bible into the realm of business. The concept of “eliminating weaknesses and maximizing strengths” is crucial to the success of any organization, but even more important on an individual level. If a leader or manager cannot grasp their own identity and traits, how can they understand the personalities of those whom they are supposed to lead.

  9. Holly Regan says:

    I really enjoyed this article and reading about this perspective on mentoring. The quote that I took away most from the article was “Esther Dyson, the technologist and venture capitalist, warned us never to repeat our mistakes — but also to avoid repeating mistakes made by others. Any experienced mentor has been scarred by experience. Jethro says to Moses, ‘Don’t make the mistakes I did; make your own and grow and surpass me.'” We should know that it is okay to make mistakes as they help us learn and grow, however we should also do our best to learn from those that came before us on the same path. I think the phrase “make new mistakes” is a good one to abide by when growing. The best way for a mentee to do this is to ask for advice, to ask questions and to act on the counsel. A good mentor knows when to give advice or “be a therapist” and a good mentee knows to listen and act. The mentor should advice the mentee on their own experiences and mistakes as way to guide and teach them to not make the same ones. This open connection makes for a better relationship and positive growth for all parties.

  10. Kyle Helfrich says:

    This description of UnRepeatable was very interesting to me. In today’s society I often see people looking out for themselves. This extends into management structures as the so called, “leaders” want to move up on the corporate ladder, and neglect the needs of their employees. I think UnRepeatable does a good job using timeless examples of how being a leader for others will allow everyone to go further in life. This article made me think of a proverb that reads,, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I think this relates to this article in a few different ways. The first way is that I think it gets into the philosophy behind the post. It shows that mentors and mentees are not so different from one another, and in order for each of them to be successful, both of them need to work together. While the article describes how the mentor and mentee have different responsibilities, the two need to have an understanding of one another’s feelings and motivations. I think this is where people develop the strongest relationships because each of them understand each others perspectives, and this allows them to truly understand where the person is coming from. Their relationship then allows them to be successful in each of their individual lives because they have a foundation of trust.

  11. Alex Kincaid says:

    Mentoring when done right is an act of love and an act to better society. From a business or organizational standpoint, we should be mentoring others not just to reap the rewards of what we teach them, and make them better for our purposes, but also to empower them to grow into their best selves. In a lot of HR development, there is a fear of training talent that inevitably leaves the company. This fear should not hold any wait in what we do. If we mentor with compassion everyone gets better, and mistakes that have been made in the past no longer happen. The end goal should always be for society to grow and improve and knowledge to be passed on. The best company’s feel like family when this aspect is done correctly.

  12. Emily Sullivan says:

    I find this article to be very interesting to read and I found the article to be very insightful. I like the part in the article about how a great mentor creates a safe space for the mentee to be free to discover, embrace, and fully live out their personal calling. I think that that is important people need to be able to make mistakes and learn especially in new environments. I like the idea of how your mentor should provide you access to capital. Time, Talent, and Treasure are all important things to be able to inherit from your mentor. I think having a mentor that helps you with all of these things is very important because they are willing to teach you to possibly surpass them in the future.

  13. Kelsey Perretta says:

    The concept of mentoring and guiding is applicable to our work life as well as our personal life and showing your love. This article refers to the way that mentoring in the Bible can guide people not only spiritually or religiously, but also through our professional career. The article also refers to Unrepeatable, the book which guides us in business as well as in sports and I can personally relate to both of them. Mentorship is guiding someone to do the right thing as well as letting someone learn how to navigate mistakes and learning from yourself. Good mentors are not only good leaders, but also good listeners. Recently, I have learned some of those qualities and its proven to be very valuable.
    Through this article, I have also realized the importance of the difference between a mentor and therapist, but also how to balance between and be the role model you strive for. I think that its really important to listen to people and I like how that was touched on in this article. Listening to what people are actually saying is also important rather than nodding aimlessly. A true mentor will take the words being said and then act from there.

  14. DENNIS ayitey GABAH says:

    The article was very fantastic to read. One thing that stood out to me is never repeating our mistakes. In life it is very very important to not make the same mistake twice. If the same mistake is repeated its no longer a mistake its a choice. Also another thing that stood out was not repeating the mistakes of others. when someone makes a terrible mistake, most individuals should use that as a life lesson and know when it situations like that, what to do so you dont make the same mistake the person you witnessed made. we were definitely not born to be alone, it is about creating relationships and bringing everyone together to make a big family. Connectons is the key in todays society, in most cases if you have lots of connections with people in higher places it could lead to the possibly of you becoming someone in life, lead to alot of doors be open for you. love is definitely the answer as hate cannot solve any problems but instead create more hostile situations. only thing that can drive out hate is love. encouragement is also powerful, words in general is powerful, the words that comes out of individuals mouth can lead to their success and also can lead to their downfall. As a mentee, if you have a coach or mentor that always speaks words of encouragement to you, it triggers you to achieve the greater good, also makes you want to exceed your expectations. Having that mentor who is always there to guide you, motivate you, show you the correct path to take so you dont make mistakes is extremely beneficial. we all have to be good people not just for ourselves but also our community. Another thing was accountability, whatever actions you take you should be held accountable for those actions. As an individual you know whats right and whats wrong. wrongdoing of a person is common, but mentors should let the individual take full accountability of their actions and learn from it so they can grow from it and not repeat the same wrongdoing again. let them see their mistakes and own up too it. last but not least, parents are definitely everyones mentor as they are the ones thats suppose to set you on the right path to becoming a prominent and a good person to society. last thing that stood out for me was the growth mindset. if your not learning from past mistakes then you really have no no growth mindset. Most indivivduals with growth mindsets always do things differently and it shows as you can see how smart they move or operate. Us people makes the society, theres no society without people so its up to us to have a positive mindset and love one another to achieve a common goal.

  15. Kelli Doherty says:

    Making a difference is extremely important in this world. Whatever your calling is whether its a job or just a lifestyle there is opportunity to get involved and guide others. This article had a great take on the importance of mentors. It spoke about how mentors can have a true effect on someones lives and guide them through stuff they have already experience. Making new msitakes is important, it could be something that you yourself is doing or just from the experiences of others. If you see someone you admire making a mistake you can realise that and avoid making the same ones yourself. That is also why menotrs are there to give you a loving hand through the obstacles of life while still trying to help you get to be the best version of yourself.

  16. Emily Sullivan says:

    I found this article to be very interesting. I like the concept that a mentor is supposed to create a safe space for the mentee. When you are starting off you are supposed to make mistakes but also you need to make those mistakes to learn and grow. Your mentor should be there and help you through it. I also think that you need to be able to recognize that your mentor has the capital to be a proper mentor. Will they have the time for you? Do they have the right talent to push you forward. Do they have the right treasure to be able to assist you in launching your career or business. I think it will be interesting to see how I can apply what the article is saying in my real life.

  17. The article speaks to the cardinal virtues of a prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Yoest describes the senior mentor in Luke Burgis and Joshua Miller’s Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person as one who “performs three functions: contacts, consulting and capital.” The mentor exercises prudence when he or she consults to deliver the message in good judgment. He or she will consult because it is their duty to give mentorship. This gives the mentee the volition to choose based on intellect and truth. The senior mentor demonstrates fortitude by advising the mentee to make new mistakes in order to learn and grow. By he or she who provides contacts and capital to the mentee, both the mentor and the mentee exercise temperance to act selflessly with what is given and received to create a higher value to society and life. Thus we see that the overall overarching theme to Unrepeatable of encouragement and accountability is shown through these cardinal virtues and the functions the senior mentor to fulfill them. The ultimate achievement the senior mentor following the call to make a difference and perform for the common good of the tribe (Logan, 2009).

    Logan, D. Ted X “Tribal Leadership”. 2009.

  18. Solomon Banti says:

    There is no sin/mistake while learning new things. We have been blessed with opportunities to grow and be better. Those who garnished their journeys are live testimonies of what knowledge plus experience behaves and does. The wise advice and counsel of people like Jethro not only saves the day and a task but kingdoms and paves the way for dreams to come true. It also builds relationships and trust after the breakthrough for any unclaimed prizes. Power and authority given to us need to be shared and bestowed to others so that others can do better than us. Mentors shouldn’t leave mentees where they found them. Jethro’s advice to Moses is, don’t make the mistakes I did; make your own and grow and surpass me. It gives Moses the advice to learn and grow with his own dealings and unlearn from his old way of doing things. To bring in the new, mentees must let go of the old, create more room for a new way of learning and doing.
    “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.” It is the compassion, love relationship, and trust that helps the mentee to absorb and grasp all the knowledge and experience of their Mentors.
    Encouragement and accountability- as managers and mentors, continuous encouragement to those who dare to be in unison to the visions is essential. The whole picture may be blurry from where they are at, our motivation to the unknown, but a fruitful and prosperous future can be achieved with loving relationships and trust.


  19. Vicente Garcia says:

    This commentary on mentorship from Burgis and Miller’s perspective in their book Unrepeatable helped me better appreciate the mentors I have had in my life and how they have impacted me, but also inspire me to do the same for others. My experience with mentorship has varied. I’ve had my parents first and foremost to the degree that they can mentor me, treating me with dignity, being crazy about me, and caring genuinely in addition to knowing a ton. I’ve had coaches and leaders in my recreational activities like tennis, swimming, and the Boy Scouts help me develop my skills and unrepeatable talents, as well as making mistakes. I’ve had professors in academia show care for me and my life and walk with me for some tough stretches. I’ve had “life coaches” for a time help me transition out of the college realm while providing encouragement and accountability. Currently, my oldest brother and my lay spiritual director are who I see as my mentors. I look up to my brother a lot because he has developed a fantastic friendship with my dad over time such that they both can mentor each other in various life topics and adventures. While it’s not feasible or appropriate in every situation, I think this is a good model of the fulfillment of mentorship, where each person can mutually provide support and accountability and encouragement to the other. This is related to what St. Paul encourages us to do in his letter to the Hebrews (10:24-25a) “And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have, but let us encourage one another.”

  20. Matthew Maddatu says:

    This article delves into some important concepts that are necessary in organizational change. Whether you are developing a vision for change as a leader, managing change as a manager, or operationalizing change as an employee, it is important to learn from others, especially their mistakes. Because the change process is so interconnected, there is significant overlap of roles and responsibilities at all levels of the organization (Palmer, Dunford, & Buchanan, 2017). From a Christian perspective, this interconnection is rooted in the imperative to respect the unique dignity of every individual. Every person is on a journey of life and work. Leaders, managers, and employees need to be able to recognize this whenever they build relationships with anyone in the organization, especially in a mentor-mentee relationship. A concept that has helped my personal and work life is Carol Dweck’s concept of “growth mindset.” Learning from everyone else’s mistakes is equally important as taking the necessary risks for your own growth as well as the growth of the organization of which you are a part (Yoest, 2018). It is necessary to be prudent about seeking opportunities for growth, and having a mentor and being a mentee can provide more resources and support for the organizational changes that can lead to further development.

    Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. (2017). Managing organizational change?: a multiple perspectives approach (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin.

    Yoest, J.W. (2018, March 5). We are called to make a difference (in others). The Stream.

  21. Nolan Lundholm says:

    After reading that encouragement and accountability were key themes in Unrepeatable a memory came to mind that is applicable to the Jack Kemp quote: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The memory was during a baseball game in which there was an at-bat where a player popped out in foul ground. After running down the line and passing the first base coach the player yelled “I need encouragement” towards the coach on the field. This example shows that the player was unsuccessful, but there was a greater failure on the coach’s behalf. It is important to note that this player and coach were better off after this game, and worked on their relationship in mentoring. For my perspective it’s what I try to use for the “coaching philosophy” on my team; and with the relationships with the players through their development process.

  22. Jess Murtagh says:

    There are many different aspects to being an impactful mentor . Mentorship involves motivation, advice, training, support, and direction. This type of leadership is only accessible and impactful when it is genuine and comes from the heart. Like this article states, “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you are.” A leader must gain the trust of another person before they can learn from them.

    This type of care involves growth and learning from making personal mistakes. How do we learn? By doing. By allowing people to make mistakes, they are able to embody different forms of self growth while remaining in a safe space. It is up to us, as managers, to create this safe space for mistakes to be made. This article asks us to “encourage individuals to identify their unique, indeed, unrepeatable talents”. This is where the growth happens.

    With this open space to make mistakes, a proper mentor does not allow us to neglect the opportunity to foster connections with others. Personal connections are there to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Work should never be done alone and in that, we grow as a community and as leaders.

  23. Nick Loney says:

    This article strikes on the right message about mentor and mentee relationship in the workplace. I know from personal experiences that having a mentor is a vital tool for success in moving up in the workplace and becoming a better employee. It has helped me understand the dynamics of the workplace but understand what a boss may want from an employee and how the industry works overall. The other point that the article talks about and is spot on is that your mentor is not your therapist. Every relationship may be different and communication may be more direct because your mentor may be your boss or a senior employee that you may directly report too. Most of the mentor-mentee relationship will be cues that you pick up along the way. It may be something such as what time do arrive? How do they conduct themselves in a meeting? How do they speak to other people? Do other employees respond to them in a positive or negative way? These non-verbal assessments of a mentor are almost even more valuable then and advice they may give you. It is them in their natural everyday state. I think this were the idea of making mistakes comes in like the article describes. A mentee can assess where they are making mistakes and look to see where the mentor may be making mistakes. This can be valuable to a mentee because they take the strong attributes and create themselves into a better manager down the road. Cultivating a relationship with a mentor, whether directly or afar, is crucial to success. It can teach a lot about the approach you want to have and the type of employee you want to be.

  24. Danielle Waldschmidt says:

    Everyone has made mistakes, a person in a leadership position is no exception. Helping others so they don’t make the same mistakes, is something a good leader takes time to do. Mentoring has been an important part of my professional development. I have had good mentors that have helped me grow, taught me from their experiences and helped me through challenges. This is something I try to continue with my employees. I’ve been told to train my replacement. I try to built all of my employees. I think there is a fear for someone to reach out to their supervisor for advice, but in reality, most supervisors want to help those who want to advance.

    The summation of the three things a mentor provides; contacts, consulting and capital; is a good summary of what a mentor/mentee relationship should be. It could be easy to fall into the idea of becoming a therapist, but it really is more than that. In a small world having relationships is key to being successful. A mentor can help with building those relationships and connecting you with additional relationships. As I continue in my career, I will continue to use mentors to develop myself. Because they have been so helpful in my career I will continue to mentor anyone who is interested in growing themselves.

  25. Caitlin Foley says:

    This article was very well written and thought-out. It is useful for managers and people in the working/business industry in general to read and to learn from. One of the areas I particularly liked was the part about making mistakes. We often think of making mistakes as something very bad and something to be avoided. However, as the article suggests, making mistakes is actually something that can help guide learning and growth. Of course, to encourage mistakes is a little backwards, but encouraging a space where mistakes can be useful is very important. It creates a “safe space” for both learning and thriving in ones area of expertise. Going off of this idea, the role of a mentor is another thing that was brought up that I thought was very good. Mentors help guide us and help us grow by teaching us through mistakes and helping us through various processes. They also, like the article says, provide a network of people for use to connect with. Making connections is very important, so choosing one’s mentor should be one of the first steps and should be done with a lot of thought behind it. Whether one is religious or not, scripture can teach us a lot about life. It teaches us through the use of storytelling, one of the most powerful learning tools, so there is a lot to takeaway from this article.

  26. DT says:

    As a husband and father of two young sons, a small business owner, and a graduate student in management at the Catholic University of America, I naturally enjoyed reading this article and have already added the book to my reading list. It was interesting to read a little about the authors’ backgrounds, and I hope to learn more about their work down the road. I appreciated learning about one of the examples of wise advice and counsel that appear throughout the Bible: Jethro providing management guidance on delegation and subsidiarity to his son-in-law, Moses. I liked how the article was structured: make new mistakes, love is the answer, and a great cloud of witnesses. As a father, I try to provide a safe, loving space for my sons to grow and to teach them that it is okay to make mistakes as long as they don’t repeat them and that they can learn from others’ mistakes so that they can avoid making the same mistakes. It was good to read about the authors’ template for mentoring, the three functions that senior mentors perform, and the key themes of encouragement and accountability. I look forward to incorporating what I learned from this article into my work and my life.

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