Have you ever panned for gold? I have, and I can tell you that it’s not the easiest endeavor. Years ago, we lived by a gold mining site outside of Atlanta. It was old, dusty and had a tremendous amount of history. We brought some of our family members there one summer.

Panning for gold takes hours and hours of dedicated work. You fill your pan with silt and continuously swirl it around while letting more and more water and sand wash out. When you get to the bottom of the pan it’s normally covered in gold dust. Aficionados will collect the dust in small vials. Occasionally someone will come across an actual “chunk” of gold. This piece could be as big as the head of a pin but worth a fair amount of money. We came across a guy whose goal was to mine a whole ounce. He figured that would earn him a few thousand dollars.

To be taken seriously you must have a certain amount of experience.

One of my mentors says that after ten years at something you can do anything. So, what is it about experience that opens the doors to new horizons?

People don’t listen to, trust, or take advice from someone who’s never been through some pain

And odds are if you’ve only been at it for a short time your pain threshold is pretty low. You must pay to play.

The frustrating part is going through the process. I spent my college internship at a large office furniture manufacturer. I LOVED my internship and wanted to continue doing it after I graduated. Unfortunately, I had little to no experience and my boss reminded me that very few people would actually listen to a young, twenty-something teach them how to be a better leader. I needed experience. Looking back, I definitely understand his point.

There’s no way I would sit down and listen to some young kid whose biggest challenges the last 10 years were controlling his acne, getting his dad to let him borrow the car on the weekend, and showing up to his Marketing 101 final on time after a major kegger the night before. Experience is king – period.

So, my young, idyllic friends, you have massive amount of potential for greatness. However, what do you do if you’re on the short end of the experience stick? You work and work hard. Your time will come, and when it does you’ll be more prepared than anyone else for your moment of greatness. Keep fighting and failing and learning because before you know it, you’ll have enough gold in experience to cash in and do what you want to do.