Why Early Goals & Mentors Matter More Than You Think: A Personal Reflection From Unlocking Possibilities Workshop

Najeeb's Torch
3 min readJan 12, 2024

Introduction:

In my previous post, “Empowering Graduates to Think Beyond Job,” (t.ly/Hlv6G) I promised to share key takeaways that can benefit both young individuals and those who mentor them. These lessons, born from a recent workshop, shed light on the importance of written goals and early career mentorship.

Icebreaker & Surprise Results:

Our workshop began with an icebreaker session focused on goal setting and mentorship. We asked two simple questions: How many have written goals for 2023 and 24? How many have mentors? To our surprise, only one participant indicated a written goal, and another mentioned mentors (who, upon clarification, turned out to be their brothers!).

Why These Questions Matter:

This sparked a critical question: why should these seemingly basic aspects matter so much in one’s career journey? Let’s delve into the significance of each, first examining written goals.

Written Goals:

The absence of written goals can significantly hinder young individuals, impacting both productivity and direction. Here’s how:

• Lack of clarity and focus: Scattered energy, difficulty prioritizing, and wasted time/resources become prominent.

• Reduced motivation and achievement: Diminished purpose, disappointment, frustration, and unclear success benchmarks take hold.

• Negative impact on personal development: Missed growth opportunities, increased stress/anxiety, and feelings of being lost or directionless arise.

It’s important to remember that written goals aren’t a guarantee of success, but they significantly increase your chances. The act of defining your desires, creating an action roadmap, and having a constant reminder of your objectives is undeniably powerful. While flexibility and adapting to change are crucial, clear goals provide a much-needed anchor and motivation to keep moving forward. Dr. Gail Matthews’ research further solidifies this, revealing that individuals who write down and share their goals with a friend achieve 33% more!

Mentorship & Early Career:

Now, let’s explore the downsides of lacking early career mentorship:

• Slower learning and skill development: Trial-and-error learning, incomplete knowledge, and missed growth opportunities become prevalent.

• Reduced confidence and decision-making: Self-doubt, hesitation, fear of failure, and difficulty navigating workplace dynamics can emerge.

• Negative impact on career trajectory: Wrong career choices, slower progression, and network-building challenges arise.

• Personal well-being related issues: Increased stress/anxiety, feelings of being lost/directionless, and reduced job satisfaction can occur.

While acknowledging that individuals can achieve success through self-directed learning, networking, and other guidance, having a supportive mentor can be a game-changer. Mentors can significantly accelerate career growth, boost confidence, and provide invaluable insights unavailable elsewhere.

Early Mentorship: Not Just a “Nice-to-Have”:

Early career mentorship is more than just a pleasant bonus; it’s a powerful launchpad for success. Studies consistently show that those with mentors climb the career ladder faster and farther. From boosting college graduation rates and landing promotions to building robust networks and expanding income, the evidence is clear: seeking a mentor early can pave the way for a smoother, more fulfilling journey towards your professional goals. Correlation isn’t causation, but the overwhelming evidence suggests that early mentorship can be a game-changer.

Conclusion & Actionable Steps:

The workshop’s feedback revealed a gap in robust career programs offered by some educational institutions. While advocating for improvements and offering support to our alma maters is important, it’s crucial to remember that schools shouldn’t be the sole guiding force. We, as individuals and communities, need to be proactive in supporting our young people.

If you’re an early career individual, you’re not alone! Check out the AREWA YOUTH MENTORSHIP PROGRAM YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/@Arewamentorship) and join the Telegram link here (https://t.me/arewamentorship) to connect with a mentor and launch your successful career journey!

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Najeeb's Torch

Google Certified Trainer | Hootsuite Certified SM Expert | SAS Certified base programmer for sas 9 | Volunteer @HumanityRoad #CrisisInformatics #edTech #STEM