Some of us are growing closer to our 60's and seeing the end of our careers as we have known them. Younger, brighter, faster, smarter people are rising behind us. How do we navigate our way in this new land?
We have a unique opportunity to become their mentors and champions. The greatest thing we have to offer is our hindsight. They are rising. We can help them rise a little farther.
I am thrilled today to see the rising stars around me having opportunities that I only hoped to have a decade or more ago. What can I offer? I can be their champion. I can herald them forward and ensure they have the connections they need to move forward and upward. I can caution them and tell them about the mistakes I made in hopes that they can avoid those same mistakes. I can give them greater historical reference than I had. I can try to help position them for greater success.
I have put my heart and soul into many endeavors, then watched them flounder in my absence. This time, I want to leave a group of talented people behind who will achieve more than I ever dreamed. I want to see them 10 years or 20 years from now and be WOW'ed by their success and achievements. I want to feel I left them well positioned to soar.
Maybe - just maybe - this time I get it right. And if I have truly gotten it right, they will do the same 20 years from now. If each of those people can sponsor and champion an equal number of people and those people sponsor and champion an equal number of people....
In my remaining years, my deepest desire is to leave something that grows and thrives and serves the community well. If I have learned one great lesson, it is not about what we can do ourselves but more about what we can inspire others to continue. Our best gift is to pass a brightly burning torch that can be passed again growing brighter.