.Seeing Into the Future-2013 and Beyond .[The Career Edit]
♣. Sunday December 23, 2012
It’s that time of year again, where ideas of starting anew and reflecting on this year’s passing come to the forefront. With that in mind, pen and paper in hand we begin listing what we’d like to do more of, do differently, or completely stop. I think that this type of reflection should be done once a month, every month instead of the proverbial new year’s resolution etc etc… You will often find that those that check back more often than not with their lists of goals and ambitions are those that are more likely to succeed in the endeavor. Some of us will make the argument that they don’t need to check back in as often or at all and they get everything accomplished. However, think of this edit as a foolproof way of going about this endeavor. The results of this strategy is based on my experiences and everything that I wanted to accomplish to best of my abilities was indeed so, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions were the result of unexpected, disabling and uncontrollable circumstances. This is something we all experience and is important to take note of as to not put ourselves down for not achieving x, y, and z. Instead, it is a pat on your back for putting your fullest efforts, with the best of intentions and in the best direction. That being said, rather than just write up a full on post on how to go about outlining all of your ambitions we are going to divide and conquer. Reflecting, managing and planning out your next steps takes more than a sit with down with a warm cup of tea (silver needle tea—if you were wondering). So, this here is a strategy of taking a couple hours for a few days and purging yourself out on paper; reflecting on your life in three ways—your health, your career and your personal life. Now as the breakdown suggests, there will be three post in the first edit of this series to get your ambitions straightened out and aligned! It’s pretty important to divide your life in the aforesaid three categories because when your clean and organized in your thoughts, so will be your life. Today lets start with…your career.
I suggest to begin with a draft pad and jot down thoughts that come to you regarding whether your employed or not. Don’t worry about being organized with them—that comes later. Just begin asking yourself, if your employed do you like your job? How do you think your doing? Could you be doing better? Is this a field you find yourself working in the future? Do you want upward mobility? If so, are you in a position where it’s available to you? If your unhappy with your job is it because you it’s temporary and your focused on pursuing something else whereby efforts have been already made? How do you feel when you’re at work regardless if you like it or not? If unhappy, miserable, or frustrated, try and figure out why. Is it your coworkers? Is it because of the form of employment itself? Is it simply because it’s temporary and you find your academic studies more important? Are you waiting aimlessly for an opportunity to fall in your lap or your making efforts towards that opportunity (i.e. upward mobility or a better paying job elsewhere or in a different field). You may want to consider readjusting your mental state to an optimal balance if you find yourself frustrated, stressed or upset with your form of employment and there isn’t a real concrete problem that your facing. If it is something more or less tangible like an issue among coworkers or your dislike for the job itself and have not begun making efforts to face the problem and do something about it…now may be the right time. Either speak to the person that may be the cause of your pain or begin a search for another job. If it’s neither of those two issues, and your job is temporary, try bringing in positive thoughts and driving away negative ones—and by positive, I mean optimistic thoughts. There are always, at least two ways of perceiving a circumstance—and at least one of them is positive. If you are at school—how do you think you are doing academically? Could you be doing better and your not? Did you make any improvements than previously and want to maintain them? Is what you’re studying suitable for any career or graduate studies options you have in mind for the future? If not, then you may want to look into opportunities (internships or research with professors) that may assist your applications. Are you taking any internships? If no, you may want to consider looking into ones available in the near future as you will need work experience if you won’t be going to graduate school. Also, if you do intend on applying to a graduate or Phd program, internships will always make you a better candidate. If you do have an internship, do you think you would continue in the same field or change? How has your work and efforts been? Could they be better? Should you be networking more than you have? Also, if you are a student, how are your study habits, in-classroom behavior, relationships with professors, and extracurricular activities? If you are planning on applying to graduate school, have you begun to look into programs, schools, requirements and standardized entrance exams? If your employed or a student ask yourself what do you see yourself doing in the future—if there is something you’d like doing but don’t have the funds to do or the time to get involved with it, write those thoughts down as well!
I know these are a lot of questions, but just think of these as a guideline to assist you in assessing your past year and what you could be doing differently to be a better you and a happier you! Once you’ve completed this list, which may take a few hours or even a few days (I warned you), you need to figure out if you do want to make those steps of improvement or change in your life. If your not sure, I would suggest on reflecting what “changing” means and how fearful, challenging, and stressful it may be. But if you find yourself lacking or in need of improvement and don’t feel up to changing, than why did you even think of reading this post anyways? Change, like most wonderful things, requires the best and strongest part of us to actually realize. I would be lying to you if I said it would not be challenging and that it would not to instill fear and anxiety, as well as the occasional moment of despair. Nonetheless, the most successful people are those that actually face the facts and make a decision to do otherwise and live differently. We are all strong individuals but it is a matter mustering the courage, finding your strength and using it that allows you to warrant saying “I am strong.” That being said, if you’ve been swayed, just do a bit of research or asking around about the challenges you would like to face because taking on a challenge also means accepting the difficulty of the endeavor. However, if you continue to feel that you can get by another year or two and get away with not making improvements in areas where you do indeed lack or need to change, know that your complaints or negative statements of your current status at school or in your career is unwarranted. Calling me ice cold or mean for stating a mere fact is not going to help you either. Know that whatever it is you think is impeding you from doing better and being the best person you can be in your career, someone else in this world is going through far worse…and guess what…they’ve managed to conquer it and succeed—and I believe you can too! Change is not easy, but it’s a force worth reckoning with—and when you do, you’re worth applauding as it’s a mighty challenging feat!
Now for those, I’ve hopefully convinced—it’s back to business! So we have this wonderful messy list of reflection. The next step is to turn that list into goals and ambitions, if desired of course. For each piece of feedback, write it out into a goal with a specific deadline and be as specific as you can. If it is something that does not have a specific end date here is an example from my career vision list for 2013-2014 of how to go about writing it out: “I am to always be a role model to younger generations of all ethnicities and races, especially women, as well as foster the opportunity of education and awareness.” Also, make sure to write in the affirmative. For instance, do NOT write “I will take the LSAT by etc…” do WRITE “I take the LSAT June etc…” When writing the affirmative it’s a subconscious way of actually pushing forward and achieving your ambitions! Once this is complete begin by numbering your goals not in the order of priority or want, but by end date. Efforts that should be made on a daily basis with no specific end date should come first. Second, begin listing the goals with dates and deadlines that are the soonest to the ones down, down into the future (all in chronological order—of course). Once the goal making and organizing is complete, whip out the computer and begin typing away at your new list! Try bullet points and be as neat as possible, with a heading titled “Career.” Also, even if you do not do lists or written day-to-day routines, just—at least once—try…and implement your day-to-day goals into your routine and mark the end date of each month on your calendar to review how you’ve done so far! I can promise you that if you follow what you’ve come up with, by the end of 2013 you’ll be quite the accomplished individual. Tomorrow, I’ll post up the edit on ‘health,’ with guidelines and questions that may slip your mind during this written or mental exercise—I know I have and it’s taken quite a few drafts to fully complete mine. P.S. upon completing this first part, you’ll probably being feeling tired or overwhelmed and I recommend treating yourself, because what you’ve accomplished was not easy!
I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and New Year’s + the best of luck with this personal exercise! It’s difficult but well worth anyone’s and every one’s time.
Best wishes + Yours truly,
General Naps Lulu
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