Philip joined LifeXchange in 2016 as part of our mentoring process in Mitchells Plain. Throughout his journey with a difficult, avoidant mentee, we’ve come to know him as someone who is incredibly persistent, even when there is little to no encouragement from his mentees side. A nominee for the 2016 LifeXchange Mentor of the Year Award, and one of our most consistent donors, we interviewed Philip to learn more about the origin of his perseverance.
Tammy: Philip, people have described you as someone who is both determined and resilient in your mentoring journey. You’re persistent in reaching out to your mentee and go the extra mile even when they show no interest… where is this persistence coming from and why?
Philip: I think it’s because of where he’s at, that he believes he’s not worthy of being helped. Therefore I need to carry on and stay in his corner. But it’s still very difficult.
Tammy: Tell me about the difficulty. What is it like when you drive all the way and he’s not there?
Philip: It’s extremely frustrating, especially when he agrees to a meeting and then he doesn’t pitch. Most of time he also doesn’t apologize. It’s very discouraging.
Tammy: What kind of stuff goes through your mind at that moment?
Philip: My gut response is almost ‘well, if you don’t want help then why must I carry on?’ You get to a point where you feel like you can’t do any more, and that’s where I’ve reached out to LifeXchange for support. What amazes me then is that you guys manage to get him to a meeting and I wonder why I can’t.
Tammy: Maybe because he’s scared of the relationship. A once-off meeting with someone is fine, but now you as his mentor would like to get to know him better and maybe he thinks you wouldn’t like what you see. But with all these frustrations and challenges you’ve had, what is it that keeps you going?
Philip: I really think that he needs help, I know he does. I don’t think I’m the total solution, but I think it could be encouraging for him if he realises that I could be a support. But it’s a long journey.
Getting to know Philip through his involvement with LifeXchange, I’ve come to appreciate his character, sincerity and clout, not only as a mentor, but also as a friend. We hope to see him continue in his growth as his journey with us unfolds.
Interview conducted by Tammy Oosthuizen
Written by Esther Hamman