Before 2015 I had never really considered what it really meant to set myself goals or what it meant to work on my own personal development. The only real goals I had ever set myself centered on my academics. I always aimed high and was only satisfied with grades that reflected this.
As I have said in a previous post, I knew I wanted to be successful and I guess this was my main goal. Honestly, I did not know what I wanted to be successful in. They say that a goal without a plan is just a wish. In early 2015 I was fortunate enough to take part in Googles Top Black Talent Programme, where I was introduced to a life changing document. A document that gave my life better structure and an adequate focus.
Personal Development Plan (Example below)
As you can see above this plan allows you to set time specific goals within two categories: Academic/Professional and Personal. Each goal sits along detailed action points of how you plan to achieve that particular goal. For example in early 2015, one of my academic/professional goals was to secure a summer internship before the end academic school year (so essentially by May/June).
My actions points were to:
1. Practice psychometric testing 3 times a week
2. Devote 3-4 days maximum per job application (if time allowed for it)
3. Seek guidance from those around me (proof reading applications, providing feedback etc.)
4. Never give up 🙂
My PDP forced me to think about what I wanted to do in life, the type of person I wanted to be and how I planned to achieve all of these things. It gave me the direction I did not know I lacked.
I went as far as to set myself goals I planned to achieve within the next 5-10 years. Some of you reading this may not think you are capable of planning that far ahead. But you are. Our hopes and aspirations should not be limited to the short term only. Not every goal has to be extensive or in-depth. In 2015 one of my long term goals that I hoped to achieve within 5 years (from that date) was to gain international work experience in Africa or the USA and/or possibly Asia. At that particular time I did not have any detailed action points of how I hoped to achieve that goal but I knew that I could create stepping stones for this goal to become a reality. For example I wanted a job where I could work with global brands (my graduate job gave me this opportunity).
You have to remember that everything you do now is a step towards something greater. Decisions that you make today will either act as a stepping stone towards your goals or impede your ability to reach them.
Do not allow the idea of self-reflection and goal setting to scare you. Reach for your laptop and create your own PDP.
As Malcom X said ‘the future belong to those who prepare for it today.’