“Mentorship is essential to skills development and maturity in any sphere of mastery; no one is wholly self-made except for one’s self-drive, which must be self-generated.”

Reflections on the five seconds that matter

Listening to the 7 Good Minutes Daily Self-Improvement Podcast on Spotify, you come to terms with the transformative texture of short and crisp messages, adeptly distilled from dedicated exposure to wisdom and long experience over the years. Five seconds is enough to talk to yourself and change course towards a wonderful destiny, a decision which you will later forever thank yourself for having painstakingly made. If you make such a decision as a youth, you have invested wisely. This message is timely for a student joining a new school or college for another level of training, a fresh graduate transitioning from college to the unforgiving murky waters of the job market or even a young worker dissatisfied with past records of performance. Networking with mentors is transforming the competitive landscape of youth skills development and employment.

Reflections on the magnetism of mentorship

Mentors are magnets. Despite their amazing property, magnets are selective in the way they direct their attractive power. They attract only the right materials; we call them magnetic materials. Now, replace “magnet” with “mentor” and “magnetic material” with “mentee” and we are now together! Our divergent perspectives now converge into the mainstream of generative dialogue. This explains why some youth will exit a mentorship opportunity citing no support or rewards while others thrive and come out to be the best version of themselves in the same setting, due to or despite the reasons cited as excuses. The youth are, justifiably, my target in this shared dialogue.

Young people as change agents who need mentorship

As Kenya welcomes a crop of young, elected leaders who had no means to spend millions on campaigns except for selling their genuine conviction and revolutionary zeal to the electorate, key lessons spring up against the grain of established culture. Kudos to the young leaders, represented by the team interviewed by Jeff Koinange on Citizen TV on August 24, 2022.

Many have underestimated the power of the youth to influence the transformation of nations. Many voices distort the raw passion and vision of unbridled possibilities that have defined their childhood. These familiar voices, loud or whispered, transmit the potent message: You are still too young. You lack the resources. Wait until you have adequate resources for self-actualization. Wait a minute! I believe you need to be radical enough to invert that tired Maslow pyramid of needs because knowing who you are, why you are where you are, and trusting in your capabilities should come first. Think about it! Yet, those discouraging voices conveniently avoid the fact that no natural laws have ever stood in the way of young people to cause a seismic change in society through informed resolve – a force for good. It is not like saying you cannot attain the speed of light, which is a qualitatively different prediction flowing from tried, tested and trusted laws of nature. My experience as a youth mentor has, however, identified one such qualitatively immutable prediction: Mentorship is essential to skills development and maturity in any sphere of mastery; no one is wholly self-made except for one’s self-drive, which must be self-generated.

Key message to mentors and mentees

In conclusion, as a youth you need a mentor, someone you respect and admire, to learn from. Standing on the shoulders of giants is a familiar way of putting across the message. Respect is critical because you cannot learn from a person you do not respect. A mentee must adorn the right material for the magnetism of mentorship to take effect – the right attitude and well-directed self-drive in this case. For mentors, it is critical to accept the fact that you are magnets and only the right material of mentorship can be attracted to you. You cannot force mentorship on anyone who is not the right material for your skills and worldview.

Nashon J. Adero

Nashon, a geospatial expert, lecturer and trained policy analyst applies dynamic models to complex adaptive systems. He is a youth mentor on career development and the founder of Impact Borderless Digital.