Planning for the future can be stressful. If you’re in your twenties, planning for the future is sure to be stressful. At a time when the Lena Dunhams and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world are more celebrated than ever, you’re not alone if you’re feeling the pressure to achieve success in your twenties.

To help twentysomethings make the most of their year, I talked to Shirin Khamisa, Career Counsellor and founder of Careers by Design Coaching, about when to get a mentor, asking for advice and getting offline.

Don’t ask for advice

When making career decisions about where to work or what field to work in, we often seek out advice from a book, a friend or an online resource. According to Shirin, twentysomethings should think twice before seeking out advice.

“Only you really know what the right direction is for you. We’ll consult everybody else about what we should do next, but we haven’t thought about what we want,” says Khamisa.

It may seem obvious, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed about making a career-related decision, spend some time thinking about what’s on your mind before phoning a friend or turning to Google. Whether that means thinking in the shower, writing a list, keeping a journal or downloading a meditating app, do what works for you and don’t underestimate the power of mindful thinking.

Get offline

More Facebook, more problems.

That’s what a University of Michigan study testing the real-time happiness of adults who use Facebook found. The study’s authors attribute feelings of unhappiness with social comparison.

Instead of spending those quiet commuter or before-bed minutes looking at photos of a celeb’s vacation or the super-successful blog of that one person you went to high school with, put down your phone and practice being in the moment.

“Take a few minutes to give yourself quiet time every day to reflect on what you want, what do you like, what are you interested in. When we breathe, focus, and connect through our heart, we can access practical insights and intuition. I’ve seen this have a very profound impact on my clients,” says Khamisa.

Don’t get a mentor

One of the pitfalls of mentorship is seeking a mentor before you’re clear about who you are and what you need from a mentor.

“Mentorship can feel like a big commitment from the mentor. It’s important to build relationships slowly, first identifying people within your organization or social circles that you may connect with,” says Khamisa.

Khasima recommends getting involved with a professional association in your area of interest, allowing connections to form naturally and giving potential mentors a chance to see you in action in a professional environment.

Find a hobby and stick with it

Whether you love your job, hate or job or desperately need a job, it’s important to have interests outside of work or the job search.

“Keeping your hobbies and interests alive keeps that creative process going and keeps you connected to something you love and enjoy. You never know where you’ll get that next clue about your career,” says Khamisa.

Hobbies like sports, playing trivia or attending a weekly knitting group help build weak ties, which often end up being more valuable than your core relationships. According to sociologists, it’s often those weak ties to people with different interests and different social circles that lead to new opportunities.

So instead of killing time online this year, take the time to get outside your comfort zone and try something new – you never know where you’ll meet the next twentysomething superstar.


Nicole Wray is a member of Generation Y and a regular contributor to Workopolis.
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