AskKirubi: Have a mentor but walk with your teacher

January 26, 2017


Towards the end of last year, I sat down with a few young people and we reflected on the year and stated all we wanted to achieve in the New Year. Listening to the dreams and goals they had and seeing their determination to achieve them really challenged me. It increased my desire to personally mentor and interact with many more young people in 2017. So this year I have chosen to widen #AskKirubi and do my best to mentor more young people in Kenya and Africa.

Young people are bold, burning with ideas, have boundless talent and ready to take risks. This is why I enjoy working with them and spending most of my time listening to what they have to say. We can all learn from each other but the young people yearn to have mentors and teachers who can guide them on their journey to success.

A mentor is defined as a wise, trusted and more experienced individual who guides and gives advice to a less experienced or younger person. A mentor assists in developing certain skills and instils knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth. They help you to unlock your potential and push you further to attain even more. Having a mentor is key because you look up to them and their success is a benchmark that pushes you to achieve your own success.

We all know that a teacher helps others acquire knowledge, competences and/or values. However, in this perspective, a teacher is not an educator but a professional in your line of work who plays a significant role in every stage of your career. This means that as you keep progressing in your career, you keep changing your teacher. For those employed, I believe a teacher is someone you need to have. As you transition from entry level to senior level, you need various teachers who will guide you through each stage and help you achieve your goals.

Although it’s important for you to have a vision, you need to set various milestones/targets that will help you achieve that overall vision. Your teacher is that person you pace yourself with at the beginning of every milestone. Once you reach your target, you move to a different teacher who will help you achieve the next target that you have set. You will notice that as you move up the career ladder, your teachers will vary in skills and experience.

Many of us have mentors who we haven’t met (and probably will not meet) but admire from afar. We want to take after their leadership, success, values among other great qualities. This is acceptable, however, get a teacher who is easily accessible and is willing to walk with you all along the way. Your teacher should be able to help you gain skills and the experience you need to move to the next stage of your career.

A mentor may not be reachable but a teacher must always be available. Let your teacher (s) help you follow after your mentor as you get closer and closer to achieving your dreams. I wish you all the best as you choose your teachers and mentors.


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