Meet 13 year old Eagle Huntress Aisholpan. This young woman trained with her father to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter in the Mongolian steppe. In this documentary, viewers watch a determined daughter and father overcome cultural and physical challenges. Together they journey into the mountains of Mongolia to capture an eaglet and train the bird to hunt for their family. The film ends with Asiholpan competing at the Golden Eagle Festival. At times the film’s story line is oversimplified, yet this is a compelling story of young women who’s father was her true believer. He believed in her talents, even when others doubted them. He created opportunities for her be a successful Eagle Huntress.
Who has been your true believer? A parent? spouse? colleague?
I’ve had mentors and true believers and I believe they are different. Both had more experience than me. Yet, with a mentor we set specific goals for my growth and development. We checked in regularly to assess my progress. A mentor is often a teacher that provides tools and strategies. A True Believer is different.
True believers are often subtle and quiet in their belief in your potential. They notice something special in you and then slowly create the conditions for you to rise to that potential. My true believer caught me by surprise. I did not even realize this person was preparing me for a journey. We did not meet to intentionally plan my course or set a goal. Instead, he slowly offered me opportunities to grow because he saw something in me that I did not see in myself.
Looking back, I can now see he was setting the stepping stones for my journey ahead. He positioned me to discover my leadership potential. He encouraged me to attend meetings, participate in committees, and engage in specific workshops. Over time, he gave me increasingly difficult projects that required collaborative leadership. When the right opportunity came along, he encouraged me to apply for a stretch position. I remember being a little shocked and quickly told him, “But I am not qualified”. The day of my interview, everyone on the committee seemed determined to prove my True Believer wrong. They wanted to show him that I was under qualified. Yet, I was ready and after the 90 minutes they agreed, I was the best person for the job.
We often hear that Millennials need mentors. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 63% of millennials say their leadership skills are not being fully developed. It also found that those intending to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%), than not (32%). Perhaps, what Millennials need most of all are True Believers.
Is there a Millennial in your life? Maybe you are that Millennial’s True Believer.
Take a look around, there is a millennial waiting that needs you to believe in his/her potential.