As we climb the ladder of success in our lives, both personally and professionally, we can never lose sight of those who, from a few rungs higher up, occasionally took the time to look below and offer us a helping hand. Likewise, as we ascend the same ladder, it’s crucial to remember that our industry, future, and personal sense of self depends on our ability to extend encouragement and guidance to those just stepping onto the ladder behind us.
Mentorship has been a powerful force in my life and work. Linda Miles, Cathy Jameson, John Kois, Bete Johnson, Ian McKelvie, Gary Kadi, Mary Fox, Debra Englehardt-Nash, and many, many others have given me not only candid and invaluable career advice but also encouragement and, at times, a gentle push to live up to my potential. They have blazed the path and lit the way for those of us who followed in the training, coaching, and speaking profession. My career has definitely been made quicker, easier, and more enlightened by their generosity and wisdom.
And it occurred to me last week while attending the annual conference of the Speaking Consulting Network that there is a particular and special force at work here: They are completely fearless in their mentorship. Fearless when it comes to growing or enhancing their own competition. Fearless in terms of concerns about someone surpassing them in income, clients, reputation, or expertise. Fearless in sharing resources, contacts, and knowledge. They truly believe and embrace that all ships are elevated with a rising tide. It is the selfless and fearless spirit of their mentorship that allows them to make such a profound difference in my life and the lives of countless others. I’ve learned so much from them … including how to mentor, encourage, and open doors for others.
Last week, at the SCN conference, I was incredibly humbled and honored to receive the Linda Miles SCN Spirit award given by Linda Miles herself and Bete Johnson (last year’s recipient). It was one of the highlights of my career so far and something I will treasure because of what it stands for as well as the sheer weight and beauty of it. I’m proud to be seen anywhere in the vicinity of the caliber of these women and industry icons and hope to make them proud of the lessons on mentorship that they have modeled for me.
This week, be grateful for and to those who have helped you along the way in your career. None of us got here alone. Likewise, look for opportunities to encourage, teach, and gently nudge others in the direction of their dreams. Be known as a colleague who nurtures and elevates those around you and shares your resources and wisdom from a fearless, generous platform.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”
~~John C. Maxwell