I can’t keep this secret anymore. I am a huge fan of these 2 guys. Please enjoy this guest blog by a hero of mine, sub30 year old Gabe Darnell in Atlanta.
As a new mentor, I knew that Demarcus and I would need to discuss goals at some point. We all know how important goals are but sometimes we pay them more lip service than anything, if we are really honest. I know I have at times. Now, I know I had dreams when I was young but real s.m.a.r.t. goals on paper with a plan for reaching them, now that I didn’t really have. And I don’t believe many young people do. But as a mentor, I know that Demarcus needs to set and achieve some goals in life even as a 12 year old starting out an uneventful summer.
I think it was our 2nd or 3rd time hanging out, when we went to the Atlantic Station Target in Atlanta. We had just written some thank you notes and discussed the importance of a well thought out handwritten thank you note. I had written some follow-up thank you notes to companies I had interviewed with, while Demarcus wrote one to each of his teachers. He had just a wrapped up his 7th grade school year. And as if that wasn’t serious enough of an exercise, I decided we would also talk about goals.
So as Demarcus sipped on his first ever Starbucks frappuccino, I had him think through different things that he wanted to achieve and write them out. We discussed each of them and made sure they were s.m.a.r.t. goals. That means that each goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Once he wrote out a few goals, I asked him what would he have to do to reach them. And we discussed the importance of also writing out some objectives to help him reach each of his goals.
Fast forward 10 weeks. Summer had flown by and I hadn’t asked Demarcus constantly about his goals and I really didn’t know whether or not he had followed through daily with the objectives he had written out in order to get closer to achieving his goals. It was the day before the first day of school when Demarcus told me over the phone that his arms were getting much stronger from all of the pushups he had been doing. A little surprised, I quickly recalled one of his goals was to make the football team when school started back. And I remembered asking him back then , “What will it take for you to make the team?” He replied, “I need to get stronger.” I then asked, “How can you get stronger.” And he replied, “I could do pushups.” I remember smiling and discussing how many pushups he could do and how many days a week he would do them. He decided on 50 every day and put it in writing.
Its all coming back to me now, and I asked him whether or not he did them every day as he had set out to do and he said he had. Wanting to know whether or not he was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear or the full truth, I asked again and assured him that it was alright if he had missed a few days. He assured me that he had not missed a single day.
We then discussed his other goal and the objectives he had written out at the beginning of the summer. The big goal was to graduate high school. From there we talked about the importance of reading. And he decided that he would read 10 books for the summer. So here it is the day before school starts and Demarcus is telling me how close he is to achieving both of his summer goals. He had done an insane amount of pushups and read 9 and a half books. He was halfway through reading his 10th book and he just needed a little encouragement to finish it in time.
Needless to say, I’m extremely proud of Demarcus for achieving these summer goals. Demarcus has since made the football team! The coach has him playing running back and free safety. Now that school is underway we are talking about goals again for his 8th grade school year. He is in the process of writing them out with objectives and discussing them with me soon.
Follow more of this mentoring adventure at http://mentoraffect.blogspot.com/