Success how do you define it? Is it economic gains? Perhaps some title? Maybe a degree? However you define success, the only way to achieve it is with a plan. A plan that 'maps' out YOUR definition of success, YOUR life, and YOUR vision. Don't let someone else define YOUR success. Make a map of life to vision YOUR definition of success.
A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most people when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi, my name is Susan and I am a 47-year old, mom of three." It does not tell you about who I am; it only tells you what my present preoccupation is. 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. Moreover, 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, most will realize what their specific origin is really about.
Here are some examples:
- strengths - heart centered, generous, service-oriented, good listener
- weakness - lack of time management skills, not a public spotlight type of person
- beliefs and values - life serves a purpose, Great Spirit guides, treat others as you wish to be treated
“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 Susan’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, just as she had dedicated her life to her children and family.
A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be analogized to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Based on Susan's self-assessment, she decided that her passion was to become a hospice worker. Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to live a life dedicated to serving her fellowmen as a hospice worker to help other families in their times of need.
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. Susan realized that she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills in grief counseling and hospice work to fulfill her vision. She knew that her time management skills would have to be polished in order to stay on schedules for hospice work.
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. Thus you cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two years. Going back to Susan as an example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map: completing a hospice worker training to become certified as a volunteer in the next 12 months, discover a hospice team with spiritual values to serve with, and complete hospice worker training as hospice worker in next two years.
The purpose of your life map is to minimize hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But oftentimes our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly.
By pausing to create a Life Map YOU can take a vision of success to the reality of success.