At the 2017 Ramp Up the Conversation Interpreter and ISP Conference, one of the presenters, Agustín de la Mora, made reference to “the stairway to becoming the best interpreter ever.” What a juicy and enticing thought! A stairway. The best. Interpreter. Ever.
Where is this stairway? How long is it? What types of things or events are on the stairway? Who else is on the stairway?
I’d like to invite you (yes, you, the talented individual who is reading these words!) to answer these questions. Use this stairway metaphor as an opportunity to document and map your own professional journey. To do so, just complete the “individual activity” described below.
1) Draw a stairway.
2) Add some professional milestones.
3) Draw yourself on the spot of the stairway where currently are in your professional journey.
4) (bonus step) Repeat steps 1 through 3 at intervals that seem right for you. (I’d recommend every 3-6 months.)
Seriously. Grab a paper or napkin (Lots of creative-types document their best work on napkins.) or open a drawing document on your fancy electronic device. Then draw your stairway.
Have you completed the activity? No? Okay, take one more minute to wrap up.
Done? Yes? Excellent!
Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful to share your stairway with someone else who is just as excited about it as you are? To see the stairway that your colleagues have drawn? To get ‘milestone’ ideas from them? To see what their journey has included so far and the goals they’ve set? To gain inspiration and encouragement from others who are also on this journey? Yes, let’s do just that! Continue by completing the “group activity” described below.
1) Complete the ‘individual activity’ above.
2) Email an image of your stairway to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and title. (Interpreters, managers, and anyone else who would like to participate are most welcome.)
3) We’ll add your stairway to this post so that others can gain inspiration and insights. (Let us know if you’d like to remain anonymous. No, we will not post your email publicly. We respect your privacy.)
Doesn’t that sound like a fun and easy way to dedicate some energy to your professional journey and share with colleagues? Marinate in that thought for a moment. Cool, eh?
Possibly the most important thing to remember about this metaphor is that the stairway never ends. It keeps on going. You never reach the top. Hopefully, that is an exciting thought, not a daunting one. There is always more room to grow – to learn and develop new skills, new applications, new information, new professional relationships, etc. You can keep climbing higher and never exhaust your professional growth opportunities. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
To answer the very first question in this post, you are already on the stairway. Let’s journey together in pursuit of becoming the best interpreter ever. The people who count on us for effective communication deserve nothing less than the best interpreter ever. And it certainly is a fun and rewarding journey!