Goal Setting and Dealing with Disappointment

As we continue this month’s focus on how to build resilience in the students we mentor, I want to encourage you to think about ways that you have built resilience in your own life. Remembering ways that you’ve built resilience is an important part of the mentoring process, because it reminds you that you were a teenager once too. And, how resilient you are now is a testimony of the adults who invested in your life back then. So, think about the ways the adults in your life helped you build resilience when you were growing up. Remembering these things can be a good motivator for you as you pass on what you’ve learned to the next generation.

Here are 3 more ways you can help your mentee build resilience:

  • Work with your mentee to set achievable goals. Setting goals is one way students can develop self-awareness, and also learn that they have the power to make conscious decisions that will affect their future.
  • Talk about dealing with disappointment. The reality is that sometimes our own actions or unexpected obstacles will prevent our goals from being achieved. Remind your mentee that no one succeeds all of the time (perhaps even share an appropriate story from your own life). But, also remind them that we can learn valuable lessons from our mistakes or failures. Talk through their options with them. Do they just need to keep trying to achieve whatever goal they’ve set? Or, do they need to re-evaluate their goals and set new, more manageable ones?
  • Remind your mentee that sometimes things will go wrong that are beyond their control. And, it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or hurt when that happens. Remind them that even though they can’t change what’s happened, they are still in control of how they react to it.

As you help your mentee build resilience, you are also helping them understand that they are responsible for the choices they make in life. And, part of that responsibility includes accountability for their actions. Learning these things is an important part of the process of growing into healthy, resilient adults.

–Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach