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Design your own future.
Carve out a place for yourself in the new economy by committing to the lifelong process of creating a future with intention
We no longer have to wait for the future to happen to us. We can influence it. We can mold it. We can shape it. We can improve it. This post provides you with a simple framework to design your own future.
There is no cookie-cutter template to succeed in this thing called life.
Each human deserves the opportunity to take their own unique path.
This process facilitates your ability to carve out a place for yourself in the economy.
It’s far too easy to lose focus on the bigger picture. We get caught up in daily mundane tasks.
As a lifelong learner, I self-direct my individual growth using a personalized learning plan. It allows me to think big, chase my dreams, and build the roadmap to bring my vision to life.
This process is complex. It’s messy. If it’s not ambiguously uncomfortable then you are likely doing it wrong.
- Journey Line
Carve out a place for yourself in the new economy.
The first section is a self-assessment. Start this assessment on your own. Explore each section to take stock of your personal inventory. This is required for any person who wishes to design their own future. For those of you who are satisfied with the status quo, here’s a link to Instagram. Come back when you’re ready!
The answers to the questions below provide you with the information you’ll need to start working through the subsequent sections. This is a brainstorming exercise. There right answer is the one you give.
- Journey Line (take stock of my life, work, accomplishments, and relationships)
- Relevant Accomplishments
- What are my past accomplishments may contribute to my current pursuit?
- What skills do I bring that may contribute to my current pursuit?
- What papers, presentations, people, projects, and other assets have I created that may contribute to my current pursuit?
- What areas of growth and learning will I develop this year?
- Which of these areas should be addressed in next three months?
- Which of these areas are better addressed in the next 6-9 months?
- How will I accomplish the above growth, specifically?
- Relevant Accomplishments
- Reflection: Paint a picture of your vision for your future by describing your long-term goals
- What areas of research will I explore?
- What methods will I implement?
- What must I learn to gain familiarity and become an expert in my subject matter?
- Professional Development
- What skills must I develop in order to realize my vision?
- Reflection: Think about 10 years from now. Where will you be? What occupation or position or career will you have? Use your imagination to reach new thoughts and ideas that will give you the confidence and agency to take vertical leaps in your career.
- What are my top two preferred career choices?
- Why am I enthusiastic about each career choice?
- What are the primary factors that drive my Research, Professional Development, and Career goals? (personal interest, social impact, business, government, writing, location, family, financial, etc?)
- Objectives (activities that help me realize my vision)
- What learning experiences must I go through in order to achieve my goals? (meetups, courses, workshops, conferences, services projects, internships, fellowships, grants, teaching, mentoring, apprenticeships, etc)
- What is the timeline to complete each learning experience from the question above?
- How might I prioritize my training in order to make time to complete each learning experience?
- What financial resources must I secure in order to attend the necessary learning experiences?
- Professional Development
The first half of this process is meant to be explored, analyzed, and completed by the individual. As you answer the above questions, review them with your peers and mentors. Listen to their feedback. Ask them questions. Keep your big vision in your sights. Be willing to do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality.
Prior to starting the next section, here’s a question to help transition to mentorship:
How might your mentor help you achieve your goals?
Approach your mentor with ideas as to how you might get the most value from your relationship. The relationship with your mentor is based on respect and support. Your mentor will expect that you have investigated her background. It is up to you to lead the discussion. Your mentor does not exist to lead you. Your mentor is there to help provide clarity during this ambiguous time.
The Action Plan is the final outcome. It is your roadmap. It is to be discussed and agreed upon with your mentor.
A successful Action Plan will provide you with step-by-step blueprint to gradually work towards accomplishing your goals and realizing your vision.
Consider the following sections and questions as you develop your Action Plan with your mentor.
- What activities have you, your peer network, and your mentor agreed are important to participate in to achieve your goals?
- What financial resources must you secure in order to accomplish your professional career goals?
- What actions do you and your mentor undertake to support your success? (ie: modify working styles, scheduled meetings to check-in and discuss progress, networking opportunities, etc)
This process is continuous. Your Self-Assessment and Action Plan are living documents. They are meant to change. Revisit these assets as you progress through the days, weeks, months, and year. Make updates to improve your focus and align with your goals.