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How can we allow are goals to become reality and how to acquire mentorship.

I am 19 years old. I have many goals and ideas, however I find it difficult to figure out the steps to make my goals reality. I believe imposter syndrome and the lack of knowledge stops me. I am interested in psychology and entrepreneurship. #career #college

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


2 answers

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Amy’s Answer

Hi Nicole,
Your interest in psychology and entrepreneurship provides many options, wow! And you ask great questions.

But first: please do not think you are alone with imposter syndrome or turning goals to reality! Many people, especially talented, perfectionist individuals have strong doubts at times and can get stuck. Asking for ideas is a great step.

Before I get to your interests and goals, a little more on imposter syndrome. Oftentimes we have a hard time assessing our own individual skills and strengths. We can be MUCH harder on ourselves than anyone else would ever be. Some ways of fighting this critical voice include 1. checking the observable facts and evidence and 2. asking for feedback from people you trust. If that does not help, or it is significantly impacting you, 3. talk to your school counselor or mental team or reach out to a private provider. Many people do, so please do NOT hesitate!

Now back to your goals and ideas. These are such an interesting mix! To give a few examples of career paths that blend these interest:

- If you want to work directly with individuals, you could be a mental health provider with a private practice (ie, your own business). You could also work for a clinic or business coaching entrepreneurs from the psychology and or business angle.

- If you prefer to work by yourself or with teams in a business, school, non-profit, etc., you could be a researcher or consultant and study and teach the habits and practices (ie, psychology) of entrepreneurs; or the impact of entrepreneurs on communities, or developing countries, etc. etc.

- If you want to be an entrepreneur first and foremost, you could develop some new product or technology that helps people or communities.

So, how do you get unstuck and started?

FIRST, commit and block out 30-60 minutes a day to work on "Nicole's Life Plan". Yes, you are THAT important!


1. Develop a 3-10 year vision for yourself. Write or draw, etc. how you see all aspects of your life in that timeframe. (One popular trend is vision boards. You can make one with paper pics or magazine cutouts, or you can use a vision board website or app). Family, social, work, community, financial, health, place, etc. etc. Whatever is important to you. A vision will late help you decide which goals and dreams fit with who you are and where you want to go in life.

Once you have a vision:

2. Decide which goals and ideas to pursue first.

- You could start by listing out ALL of your goals and ideas - no matter how challenging, crazy or costly they seem!
- Then collect some information on each. Do any go together (category)? Do any rely on one another (dependency)? How important is each to you (priority)? Roughly how long do they take (timeframe)? Roughly how much do they cost? Etc. If you are a visual person, you might want to take them and create a "life map" - as a timeline or in some more creative form.
- You might also ask for input from people who know you well. Those people might remind you of interests or skills you have forgotten!

Once you have an idea of where you want to start:

3. Get specific by drafting those first (1-5) goals as "SMART" goals.

You can read more about SMART goals online, but it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. I say "drafting" because once you have your goals, you will want to do some research. You should expect that research will change some things. (For example, you might draft a goal to get your PhD in 1 year. Once you research this, you'll find it takes 5-7 years to get a PhD. You might want an apartment in NYC for $100 a month. Once you research this, you'll find you have to time travel back to 1900 to find that rent. Just joking! But you get the idea. You will have to edit some aspects of your goals, and that is A-O-K!)

When you have goals, create a step-by-step Task or To Do list.

4. Research your goals and list out the steps in a To Do list you can follow. If you can't determine the steps on your own, find an advisor or mentor at school, on your job, in your community, etc.

TIP: to avoid self-doubt and procrastination when you go back to DO the tasks, make each one small enough and easy enough that you won't procrastinate!

5. Define your entire support team - the people who can help you stay motivated and confident and healthy as well as those who can help you with specific types of tasks.

Since you're 19, you have probably graduated from high school. Your local community college will be a great resource. Career focused organizations like WorkSource, the Small Business Administration and non-profits will also have good information and individuals.

That is probably WAY more than you wanted to know, and you can find tons of related articles and videos online. But I LOVE this question. In my job I help many special education students tackle this exact challenge. With help from their teams, they walk their self-designed pathways with great success. AND SO WILL YOU!!!

Good luck!

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Emily’s Answer

Hi Nicole,

To bounce off of Amy's answer, it's very important to devote time to think about your goals, and self-reflect on the progress you're making towards them. Amy also mentions creating a support team. To dive into this point more, in addition to goal-setting, creating a support team can lead you to finding more mentors as time goes on. For instance, two people I've always had in my support system are my best friend and my brother. Both of them have excelled in their professions, and now in addition to friends/family, I consider them both my mentors and go to them for career advice.

Other possible mentors you can look for are bosses, coworkers, and professors. Through the years, I have worked with people that have helped shape me into who I am. I've tried to keep in touch with the ones that have impacted and challenged me the most over the years, and it's led to hearing such great advice, interesting stories, and wildly different perspectives. I find hearing things such as this can be so important in shaping a person and evoking thoughts that can impact what you may want from life. Because of this, I find keeping these relationships and finding these mentors integral to goal setting. It can also help to give you a window into different career paths, or advice in how to enter or advance in their field/company.

Hope this helps! Best of luck!