Growing Opportunity

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison

 At the end of my working life, my greatest joy is mentoring young people. In them, I am reminded of my younger self – at 15, 21, 30… I see their promise. I see their great strengths and hope. Like me, they will fail to see opportunities in front of them. Like me, they will think life is throwing obstacles in front of them. And hopefully, like me, someone will help them weave through the wild waters.

We need mentors; I need them still. Along the way, I have had many. Some simply planted a seed in a short moment they spent with me. Some invested in me and helped guide me through many years of learning.

Every mentor I have had helped me see opportunity when I saw none. The best helped me see the work required to turn that opportunity into success. One simply told me where she saw I was most gifted. It was a one minute exchange. Another spent some hours with me, sharing his personal experiences and teaching what would then become an unexpected success. Another spent a bit over a decade leading me by his example.

As I look at my potential impact today, I remember all three. I may, with just a minute of investment, help a young person see something they might not have not seen. I may, with just a few hours of investment, help a young person discover an opportunity to succeed that they had not expected. I can, with time, guide a young person to be the kind of mentor which (I hope) I have learned to become, because of the years my mentors offered me.

At the end of my career, I hope to leave this to those who follow: Put on your overalls – get to work – it’s opportunity taken that will be rewarded.

Written by Blog Contributor: Linda S. Henderson