Throughout my life and, most importantly, during my rewarding career in the travel industry and owning my own businesses, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a range of mentors who’ve helped me to navigate my way through the many trials and tribulations I’ve faced. I can honestly say that without these people I wouldn’t be where I am today. With this in mind, I wanted to write down a few thoughts on the power and importance of seeking guidance and tapping into the wisdom of those who’ve been before us. And also highlight the neat, circular nature of adopting these learnings and then being able to pass it on myself to others who might benefit from it.
In Indigenous culture, the role of the elders, of those who hold the knowledge, is highly revered and respected. And to impart wisdom to the next generation has always been vital. In the business world, however, this idea is not as strong. Business owners often flounder and fail without asking for advice from those who’ve done the hard yards before. In my own case, though, I’ve always seen the value of having a strong network of people I can call on to get feedback from and to have my ideas and assumptions challenged. Maybe this is a cultural thing, or maybe I’ve just been blessed, but the number of incredibly talented and successful Indigenous business people I can contact when I’ve got a problem is such a huge help to the work that I do. I can read every business book under the sun – and I try to do just that! – but nothing beats the one-on-one mentorship I have available to me whenever I need it. It’s one thing to learn something academically, but it’s a another to have it reinforced by a mentor with real world experience and examples.
With setting up Inspire Travel Management, which involved an extensive Joint Venture process, I felt so lucky to have Indigenous leaders to go to who’ve done the same thing before. And what surprised me the most is how open and receptive people are to giving this help, with no expectation of anything in return. For me, this is one of the great things about being in business. And now that I’ve been given these opportunities and learnt a lot of lessons along the way, I find myself being more and more open to the idea of helping others too. Nothing pleases me more than being able to assist an aspiring business owner to achieve his or her dreams.
If you’re someone who has some wisdom to share, I encourage you to share it widely. And if you’re someone who needs support, all I can say is don’t be afraid to ask.
The people who have helped me over time:
I’ve pestered a lot of great people in my time, so I can’t list everyone who has helped me, but I do want to name two people who were highly influential in my career. In the early days, I nearly quit my first travel job, but I was lucky to have Jodi Sampson around who convinced me not give up. And also Shane Kennelly, who has been a great help throughout the creation of Inspire Travel Management. Thanks Jodi and Shane!