Finding what you're good at and love to do is not always clear or consistent. When I discovered I love to conduct research on acting, the activity that's brought me joy for the majority of my life, I knew I had to share this with others who may not know they love doing research or have a gift to conduct research. At NIU, I worked with extraordinary people [image including two such gifted women: Halle Hoffman (left) and Abby Ferree (right).] You see, artists are not limited to art as skill sets. Art should always expand people!
When I was in my undergraduate theatre training at Millikin University, a time in my life I thoroughly enjoyed, I was told by professors that to be a successful actor, I could not be engaged in other skills or the people who hired me would not think I was serious about my acting career. Thankfully, the world has evolved to an understanding that life requires a multitude of skills and careers can be hyphenated and still be respected among peers and those who hire. In fact, the average careers of Americans is reportedly 7, though many dispute the criteria on which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics base this claim. What's important in this idea is that careers are not life-long and stagnant. Being able to have many coexisting careers can help a person have a sustainable income as well as an exciting and satisfying life.
When deciding if you should mentor someone if you have a niche skill, ask yourself:
*Is this a skill I want to see more of in the world?
*Does this person seem like someone I want to encourage and set up for success?
*Do I get energized by sharing skills?
*Will passing on this tradition make the field more rich?
Every single time I've taken on someone to mentor, I've cherished the experience. If you feel stuck or restless in your work, it may not be that you're tired of engaging in the work. You may simply be reminded of what you love about the work. Sharing your skills does this and deepens your connection with your love of the work. Happy mentoring!
Copywright 2019 Heather L. Corwin, Ph.D.