Fostering a newer member to the industry is a great way to help support the profession. Volunteering to do so makes it possible to participate in launching one or many successful careers. We have all come across them, the wide-eyed newcomers to the profession. They come in all shapes and sizes and from a vast number of diverse backgrounds. Some are kind of quiet and reserved and others come blasting into the field like raging fireballs, filled with a ton of tenacity of spirit. What makes them remarkable is one common ingredient – they each possess a whole lot of positive traits supported by a whole lot of personal integrity. Everything they say and do is an indication that they are filled with enormous promise. They may be straight out of school, but there is something about them, a person only has to glance at them for a mere second to see it. They have success written all over them.
I shudder to think where I would be today if it had not been for the intervention of my own mentors early on in my own career. They immediately gave me the right focus and helped me to map out my career objectives in attainable stages. They encouraged me to concrete on specific actions that they laid out for me and, then followed-up consistently to ensure that I would put their pearls of wisdom to work with everything necessary and in its proper place. Mentors help their mentees to cement their commitment to the field from the get-go. They insist on making us independent of them but coach us so that we can carve our own sure-footed path that will lead us to where we most want to go. Out industry mentors are both precious and priceless to us all because they ensure that the industry’s newbie’s start off properly on their professional journeys. They make informal and formal introductions for them and stick around long enough continuing to educate them about the in’s and out’s of networking in this field. They donate enormous amounts of their time and energy to instilling a sense of professional community in these potential high-performers that one day may very well become mentors themselves. When their mentee eventually makes it, and most of us do, we give back to the profession because we know that wherever we are in our career – it took the efforts of many to get us here. Mentors do not wait for professionals to come to them to ask for their help. We are always on the alert for the exceptional ones. We know how vital these individuals are because we recognize their talents and we know they are truly gifted. In addition, to the best and the brightest we can spot those who will make a difference just out of the sheer will to do so despite whatever obstacles are put in their path. These are the future pillars of the professional community because, brilliant or not, they will try with everything they have in them to make a difference by putting their best foot forward.
Imagine if you can, where we would be today if we never recruited new stars to our industry. A growing number of new graduates enter the profession every since day and go unnoticed. If we do not single out these individuals, we are at risk of losing them. They will be lured away unless we can capture their intentions from the beginning and cultivate their aim to build and grow the field with their contributions. Among the many dangers that loom on the horizon is the threat that we currently could be losing these bright hopefuls who may be drifting off at this very moment. They could be turning in another direction and taking with them all their uniqueness and their special skill-sets right out the door. Without the proper oversight they could err and leap into another occupation. We need to encourage our specialists and grow them so that they will not go. We need them to stay and become our next renowned experts. If we mentor them just right, they will go on to become our instructors, authors, consultants, and bridge-builders that pave the way for us to merge with other professions. They will start new enterprises and create new jobs. The opportunities they will create for us all are not to be believed if we will just give them a hand. It is up to us to broaden their vision about our field and extend their range of service by assisting them with skill-building and helpful advice so they can better navigate our professional terrain. It is not easy to enter a new occupation and create a substantial career. Those of us who have done so know how much it costs to realize our dreams. It is not a simple task for anyone by any measure nor, is it one that we should leave up to those who hold the future of the field in their hands. With a little nudging from the right type of mentor they could end up to be quite remarkable. In fact, quite substantial, indeed.