In this article, I will put forward some key things you need to think of and I will also present an example to give you a more concrete view of what is being said.
The key points which you need to think, are as follows: (these points are dependent and inter-related with each other and should be read in the order presented, make sure you don’t miss anyone)
1) Life Mapping: the Vision of Your Success
2) Origin: Who you are!
3) Destination: A vision of who you want to be
4) Vehicle: Your Mission
5) Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude
6) Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives
7) Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes!
Life Mapping aka Planning: The Vision of Your Success
Plan, plan, plan! You will get nowhere in life without it. In all your simple daily nitty-gritty, you need to plan. And planning is PIVOTAL to success!
Success is more than economic gains, titles or degrees. Planning for success is about mapping out all the aspects of your life. Similar to a map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.
Origin: Who you are ?!
A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now.
Most people when asked to introduce themselves would simply say: “Hi, I’m Ayesha and I am a 17-year old, senior highschool student”. It does not tell you about who Ayesha is. It only tells you her present preoccupation.
To gain insights about yourself, you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles aside from your economic, professional, cultural and civil status. You can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses.
Upon introspection, Ayesha realised that she was highly motivated, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination was in the biological-medical field. She believed that life must serve a purpose, and that wars were destructive to human dignity.
Destination: A vision of who you want to be!
Who do want to be? This is your vision.
Now it is important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea of who you want to be and the things you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view.
If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
Continuing Ayesha’s story: after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decided that she wanted to have a life dedicated in serving her fellowmen.
Vehicle: Your Mission
A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination.
It can be analogous to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself.
Bases on Ayesha’s self-assessment, she decided that she was suited to become a doctor, and that she wanted to become one. Her chosen vocation was a medical doctor.
Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to live a life dedicated to serving her fellowmen as a doctor in conflict-areas.
Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude
Food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities are contained in a bag.
Applying this concept to your life map, you also bring with you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success.
Ayesha realised that she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills on medicine so that she could become a doctor. She knew that she was a bit impatient with people so she realised that this was something she wanted to change.
Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives
Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time.
Thus, in planning out your life, you also need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound.
You cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a masters degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a masters degree is two years.
Going back to Ayesha as an example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map:
a) completing a bachelors degree in biology by the age of 21,
b) completing medicine by the age of 27,
c) earning her specialization in infectious diseases by the age of 30,
d) getting deployed in local public hospitals of their town by the age of 32,
e) serving as doctor in war-torn areas by the age of 35.
Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes
The purpose of your life map is to minimize hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But very often our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control (human and supernatual factors). Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes. In this respect, we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly. Improvise!
I hope that this article will bring you enough insights about certain aspects in your life and that this will urge you to start or continue or still re-construct a new successful life of which you are capable of!
You can achieve most (perhaps, all with time?) of the things you want with a careful and thorough plan!
So, take some few minutes or even hours (it’s worth it!), think about what you have done till now, think of those bad and good moments you had. Analyse where you went wrong, build on those errors, forge a good present and confront your future with a convincing morale! And yeah, this is an on-going process!
I wish you all the best in your life my friend!
Do share your experiences, opinion, advice or any suggestion in the comment form below.