In the Navy we had a role called a “Sea Daddy”. This was not a reference to promiscuous sailors with children in every port (at least not as far as I know), but the role of an older, more experienced sailor, usually in the same field
(SEALs, Aviation, Surface Warfare, etc.) who could provide sound advice to someone less experienced. Note that “less experienced” in this case may mean someone fresh out of boot camp who was listening to a Petty Officer with 5 years of service, or a 2-star Rear Admiral who has a 4-star Admiral or Master Chief Petty Officer mentor or adviser.
Mentors can help, in whatever field you are in. One piece of advice that I have given to entrepreneurs over the years is to find mentors who are current or former entrepreneurs. Something at which I’ve been pleasantly and repeatedly surprised is the eagerness of successful entrepreneurs to help others, often without any expectation of compensation. I think part of the reason for this eagerness is the happiness at finding a like-minded soul. Much like SEAL training, being a successful entrepreneur is pretty much up to the individual – you either choose to make it or you don’t. I’ve seen people who failed out of SEAL training multiple times who went back to succeed the second or third time, even it meant having to go through Hell Week (an aptly named crucible week of training where trainees are forced through torturous evolutions 24 hours a day with no more than an hour or so of sleep the entire week) several times. I’ve seen people who have failed time and time again at starting a company finally succeed as well. When you see the person who has succeeded, you both know that you’ve “passed the test”, and I think there is a willingness to help each other out.
So in summary – whatever your career path, you should look for like minded mentors who have been successful at skills in which you desire to be exceptional. In your company, you should actively encourage the process of people seeking mentors and, if practical, formalize the process to ensure that people in your company see that they have a career path, not just a job. This will improve morale, retention, and recruitment.