Since I entered professional life, I have been missing something in the “work space”; no matter what position I have worked in nor which circumstances, I have been missing something! Maybe this is something missing in professional relations in Greece. If this is not the case, I have to say that during my eclectic working experience I have not encountered many places and people who inspire younger generations, who might be less experienced, without “killing” them but triggering in them the impulse to create.
While I was a student, I had a professor, whom we called «professor with a capital P», or «Sir of professors». Some of the reasons for these special attributes were on the one hand, his British educational background, and on the other hand his rare polite nature. Even though he was among the strictest teachers; he could bring the best out of his students by inspiring them, to improve themselves and to always try harder. «Sir Professor» remembered his students, not by their short names, but by their writing style, their research method, and their opinions. He gave directions, not solutions, for the students to find their own way. If I had to describe him with a single word, it would be «mentor».
Who am I to talk about the criteria of a mentor? Which are the criteria of inspiration? Is experience a matter of time or work and applied knowledge, beyond theory? At some point I started to search for «my mentors», mentors in my personal life, but especially in my professional life. The truth is that I have been quite lucky that, not only have I met people that inspire me, but also have been working with some of them during the last months.
Some weeks ago, at a cafe somewhere in freezing Vienna, young entrepreneurs (if we want to use the trendy slang of our times) from different countries and from different fields, were discussing about the gap, and the need for dialogue between different generations of entrepreneurs. A discussion that brought into my mind images from the Greek space. The young, passionate and stubborn on the one side as opposed to the more experienced, being sure that they know better. Innovation production is somewhere in between, I guess. Every gap, needs a bridge (of communication) or a translation between the two generations. It is not a matter of compromise but a matter of composition. Issues of education and mentality are coming up again. Education, is not only about educational systems as some might think. Mentality is something that can change. It changes with thought, analysis and the development of something new, a new model, if you want to call it so.
Somewhere here my social-entrepreneurial philosophy comes to an end…for now.
P.S. This is a translation of a post originally written in Greek on my personal blog.
Picture by DodogoeSLR on Flickr.com