Guidance. We’ve all needed it throughout our careers.
One of my first mentors in my early years, Rafael Zabala, frequently addressed this topic with me using a very unique analogy.
“Luis, never forget the crib,” Rafael would say to me.
The first time he mentioned it, I looked at him, bewildered. “What do you mean, ‘The Crib’?,” I asked.
Rafael went on to explain that when we start our careers we are like babies in a crib. Naive, impressionable, and new to the business world. Constantly wondering what life will be like once we break out of the confines of the crib. The responsibility of nurturing us then falls on the leaders and mentors whom we encounter throughout our careers. Ideally, as our careers progress, we outgrow the crib and mature into leaders ourselves. The onus is then on us to encourage and develop future generations of leaders, as it was previously done for us.
The concept was simple: One day, I would have to proactively take on the responsibility of developing other young professionals, just like Rafael did for me. I accepted and embraced the challenge, and I never forgot about the crib.
Having mentored and developed leaders for large companies, including Bank of America and MBNA America, and currently creating and administering leadership development programs through Lincoln Barretta Consulting, mentoring the next generation of industry leaders has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. As a mentor, I take great pride in helping my mentees progress in their careers and personal lives, always thankful for some piece of advice or recommendation that I may have given them along the way. In turn, the network of loyal, professional partnerships that I have established through mentoring have been extremely beneficial for my career progression and my professional success.
As business leaders and entrepreneurs, it’s important we acknowledge and support the crib as a way to ensure that our careers and businesses continue to grow and that our professional legacies live on. It’s in this spirit of professional legacy that I challenge each of you.
Take a moment and think of all the great, unselfish leaders that have helped you advance in your career. Now ask yourself, “Who do I currently mentor? How am I paying it forward?”. If you can’t come up with a name to answer this question, then it’s time for you to go back to the crib.
I’ll see you there.
- Luis Jimenez, Managing Partner, Lincoln Barretta Consulting Group LLC