Want to map out your own career path? Here’s how!

Think about a career as a personal journey. How person ‘A’ makes it work, is never the same as how person ‘B’ makes it work. In an industry with hundreds of skilled talent coupled with the rapidly evolving times, how can you craft your own path and remain relevant?

Now more than ever, is the time to be intentional about what you bring to the table; what makes you unforgettable? Case in point- the career journey of popular Nigerian Media Personality, Toke Makinwa – she went from making the big move from banking to being the media star we know today.  The key to her progress has been owning her unique career journey.

How do you map out a career path tailored just for you? The three P’s for writing your script are Purpose, Place, and Plan!

 

No purpose means no perspective!

career path- I see you gif

The secret to a knock-out career is a personal vision. What is your ‘why’ and how can the world benefit from this? Quickly identifying this helps you to know right where you fit in. Think about it this way: without ‘you’ there is no career. So, authenticity is required to create or find the right opportunities for you.

This is what will enable you to be successful irrespective of the dynamism of your sector. So, what if machines took over your sector, how would you evolve to stand the test of times? The answer is ‘you’.

I have always envisioned a world with more women who are relevant and living their authentic lives. This is my personal vision and it translates to the kind of career choices I have made. Through my various roles as writer, administrator and civil leader, my purpose has not changed.

Knowing your place means there is a vacuum just for you

Career path -Chess gif

What are you able to bring to the table? Remember it is all about you, and how you can make everything work in your favour.

What has kept Ms. Tyra Banks relevant until now, is mapping out a career path that only she can execute. What is your place in the industry you are in? Where can you work or not work? The path becomes even narrower.

It takes consistency to find a niche or establish a track record, but when you can identify what exactly it is you bring to the table as well as where you can function in terms of delivering your personal vision? That’s when you know you are off to a great start.

In my case, after identifying how I could add value to the female audience, I developed my niche as a columnist on a lifestyle blog for women. I created a column for aspirational women; for daily motivation and personal development. This was how I started out, which in turn enabled me to learn a lot about myself, and evolve. I have built my career on this foundation.

Draw up a plan for you or go home when their plan changes

I mentioned Tyra Banks earlier. Actually, Tyra was forced to make sustainable career plans when her industry rejected her. If she took the list of designers who said they couldn’t book her anymore and admitted that she was done, she wouldn’t be who she is today. Instead, she rewrote her narrative by creating opportunities for herself.

Having found a purpose and a place, then there has to be a great plan to keep you relevant. Like a custom-made strategy just for you.

In formulating a plan, ask yourself the following questions: What is the right network for me? Where is the right environment? How can I gain more confidence and experience? What is crucial to remaining relevant? In answering these questions, you will be able to craft a career strategy for yourself.

To wrap this up…

I have been able to identify opportunities that re-enforce my competencies, which in turn have helped me evolve in my career. This consistency has helped me to learn more about myself, and envision where I would like to be in years to come.

I first started out as a content creator for women, but I have evolved to channel my passion of empowering women, into development work and not just media. As a key-employee in an organization for women, I have first-hand experience in helping women stay relevant. 

If you are hoping for a Toke Makinwa or Tyra Banks type of evolution, then you need to put yourself at the centre of your career. Not the money, or being on fleek, or the people you are rolling with. Think hard to make the right decisions. Long-standing personal brands are birthed from consistency.


How have you mapped your career path?

Let us know more about you and your story here.

5 Work-Life Balance Tips For New Entrepreneurs

You know that popular quote that says that the first year of business for any entrepreneur particularly a solopreneur is usually the hardest? Well, nothing can be further from the truth. What they also didn’t tell you is that in that first year, in order to get things rolling, you might lose yourself to your business. This also includes but is not limited to your family, friends, network and social life. Depending on your perspective, this might seem like an investment in the long run. After all, the first five years are the most pivotal point of any business. After that, it’s supposed to get easier. But does that mean you have to wait until your business has fully taken off to get your life and have a semblance of work-life balance?I think not. Here are five simple work-life balance tips that I have found works for new entrepreneurs.

Separate your business from your personal life.

This might seem like a walk in the park but believe me, it is easier said than done. In a bid to be always available, accessible and offer excellent customer service, the thin line between your business and your personal life might be blurred. So, it is key to separate them. This can be as simple as getting a different phone/WhatsApp number for your business. This way, you’re not tempted to respond to messages that are not urgent outside work hours.

Determine your work hours.

As much we live on the internet, it can be tough for internet-enabled businesses to switch off for the day but it’s important for work-life balance. Entrepreneurs are known to work around the clock but by determining your work hours you are giving your business structure and leaving out time for yourself and your life.

Make plans ahead

It’s one thing for you as an entrepreneur to not have a social life, it’s another thing entirely to not make plans outside your business.

The great thing about making plans ahead and following through with your family and friends is that you’re completely distracted and not tempted to work. No matter how little it might seem initially, it means that out of your super busy schedule, you are making time for your loved ones and that is one of the keys to a balanced life. So, draw up a special calendar and slot in some dates and fun activities for the next three months. This gives your friends enough time ahead to prevent a clash of schedules. (SLA TIP: Google Calendar is your plug)

Observe public holidays

As an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to become a workaholic. But as much as strong work ethics are admirable, it’s important to know when to take a break to re-energize and avoid burning out. One of the most simple ways you can achieve this especially when you don’t have the luxury of taking vacations yet is by observing public holidays. Turn off your work phone and emails. If possible, stay off social media and cultivate a habit of resting.

Learn how to rest

Everyone has their definition of rest but one thing is certain, it does not involve work. One of the key things I learned over the Christmas holidays is the ability to sit down and do absolutely nothing. As difficult as it was initially particularly for someone that has worked all year, by the time I got into the state of inactivity and idleness, it was refreshing to truly rest. Try it and see! As a compliment, you can also find passive non-work related activities (such as listening to audiobooks) to pass the time.
Got some advice for new business owners and entrepreneurs? Share your advice with us here.

Three Things To Tell Your 20 Year Old Self Before Hitting The Dredged 30

I turned 30 recently, and truth be told, it’s all been very anticlimactic. I don’t actually feel different, but there is a constant awareness that I am older and I should feel different. A big part of this is because I spent my 29th birthday having a pity party in anticipation of turning 30.

 

 

Silly, I know, especially considering the fact that tomorrow is not guaranteed, much less another year. My closest friends couldn’t understand why I was having a premature break-down, but 29 reminded me of all the things I promised my younger self that I would do by the old age of 30.

In my mind, I had one year to get married, buy a house with a white picket fence, start a business, have 2.5 children, and get a doctoral degree.

I’m all for miracles, but the realization that I was still so far from some of these things left me immobilized and in bed for most of my 29th birthday.

In the months and days leading up to my 30th birthday, I expected much of the same. Thankfully, no matter how much I willed myself into a funk, my heart and mind just would not let me get there.

Somewhere in the days between my 29th and 30th birthday, I’d finally accepted the following truths about life.

The tough lessons in my 20's allowed me to know better - @Andrena_Sawyer Click To Tweet

 

Ditch the Plan

No one’s life ever goes as they planned. That truth alone should bring a sense of relief to everyone, especially if you’re a planner like me. Since my teenage years, I’ve had a 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year plan.

Each plan has inevitably been met with opposition. Some plans, like my goal of becoming an internationally-known civil rights attorney, I’ve had to forego completely.
One of the most difficult lessons life has taught me is that if despite my best efforts, something is not working out, it may be time to step back and assess the other opportunities that are coming my way.

I’m not talking about quitting, but rather using wisdom. I spent three years in my mid-twenties in a place I was miserable in because I wanted one career path to work out so desperately.

When I finally let that plan go, and opened my eyes and heart to new possibilities, I discovered hidden talents and a career that I thought I could only dream of. When I ditched the plan, I became free to try new things, meet new people, and gained the boldness to grow beyond my expectations.

The only way that aging can become a bad thing is if you are not fully living in the moment now- @Andrena_Sawyer Click To Tweet

 

You are Getting Older. Embrace It.

If no one else will admit it, I will. One of the reasons that 30 is scary, especially for some women, is because it seems…old. Culture has done a great job of getting us to believe that lie.

As you approach 30, the time seems to go by much faster, and you become keenly aware that you cannot get away with the antics you used to get away with. Society now holds you responsible, and so does your body and your bills.

Overall, you’re expected to have a level of stability that’s unprecedented in your life. I dreaded it. I didn’t so much mind looking older (some people still think I’m 23), but I dreaded having to relinquish my youthful fervor for the doom and gloom that I thought was coming my way.

There’s good news, then bad news, then good news again.

The good news is that I was wrong about the doom and gloom part. If you’re like I was, and you’re dreading what 30 represents, then you can breathe a sigh of relief.

30 is not old. In fact, I feel more calm and confident than I’ve ever felt before. A defeated attitude is your choice. However, it’s not a choice based on reality, and as with anything, your attitude will determine your actions.

The bad news is that you are getting older. For those of us who take the lyrics to “Forever Young” literally, it’s an inescapable reality. We have to get over it, and continue to live in the moment…each moment.

The only way that aging can become a bad thing is if you are not fully living in the moment now. I look back at my 20s, and I had a blast and formed relationships with people that are now more like family than friends, I started a business, I visited new places, and even wrote a couple of books.

However, amidst the great things were some tough lessons, which brings me to the other good news.

 

There’s Freedom of Responsibility

There’s an old saying that when you know better, you do better. The tough lessons in my 20s allowed me to know better, which will hopefully allow me to do better. There are certain situations that, if we adjust our perspective, can become our practice field for a game-time opportunity.

I was reckless with my finances in my twenties, ate poorly and devalued relationships that should have had more value and gave way too much attention to people and things that should not have had any of my time.

That realization comes with heartache. However, with heartache comes an opportunity to respond and adjust. While the recklessness and forever young attitude was great, there’s no greater peace and freedom than knowing that healthier decisions now mean less stress and more security.

The Roaring 20’s is more than just a term to describe a decade in history. For many of us, it’s a decade in our individual lives that determines, more so than any other decade, the course of the rest of our lives.

Use it wisely. Reject comparison, because circumstances are fleeting. Focus on your own journey, and you’ll be amazed by how much you accomplish.

 

Lastly, choose to live in the moment. You will never get another time in history that is just like the moment you are living in now.

Collective moments make for great experiences, so live each one loudly and boldly.


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How to tailor a career development plan to your personal development goals

In creating my own career development plan, I’ve realised the importance of aligning my career with personal development goals. Also, everyone should possess this skill. At the end of the day, we’re the masters of our own careers. We owe it to our future success to do this.

Your company’s goals should align with yours

Before building a personal career development plan, determine if it agrees with that of the company you work for. Be sure it already aligns to your specific role. That way, you can have a great starting point.

This will help you align the company’s goals with the goals you’ll put in place for your own personal career development plan. If there isn’t a career development plan specific to your role, don’t worry. It really isn’t a train-smash.

The career development plan from your company will not be the be all and end all of your career. But it provides a good start for establishing your short to medium term goals, and how to achieve them.

Determine what your goals are

The first step in putting your plan to paper is determining what you ultimately want to achieve.

This process might seem tedious at first, as it requires a considerable amount of effort and thinking. However, knowing the end goal lets you clearly define the intermediate steps to getting there.

Strategise

How you craft your end goal is up to you. One may model themselves after someone they look up to. Others may visualize it in their mind’s eye and work towards a ten to twenty-year projection.  Some may decide to dwell on what’s most important and what they’re passionate about.

You may actually combine the first two examples, creating a model of yourself. I’ve been using the latter to help guide me to envision my end goal. I also believe as the years go by, this image of yourself will change, and so will your goals.

Set timelines

Once an end goal has been set, finding the intermediate steps could be done. Ask questions about what you need to do in the next year, two years or three years to get to the end goal. I’ve found that this helps in answering the questions of where I want to be in the very short term, and ultimately the long term.

The time frames here can be different for different people. Others may be comfortable with monthly time frames, while others could be more comfortable thinking in years.

Blue Concrete Pavement With 100m Sprint Paint

As I’ve said before, this process may seem difficult at first. But once you start putting goals on paper and executing them, it’ll help you have a sense of control over your own career.

Set comprehensive goals

A good career development plan is one that spans over different areas of your life. It’s important to note that a personal career development plan will include setting goals for your career, finances, physical/body, social and personal goals.

These categories may also be divided according to short, medium and long-term goals. To actually make your plan as comprehensive as possible, your goals are also divided over three and six months (short term). One and three years would be considered your medium term goals and five and ten years are your long term goals.

For a category like career, you should have a comprehensive plan and you’d need to set the short, medium and long-term goals. Under each time period, you ask yourself what you want to specifically achieve for that particular category in three months, six months and so on.

Once you’ve established what you want to achieve, you’ll need to answer why it’s important for you to achieve this and if it speaks to your core. There are various questions you can ask yourself until you fully understand your goals and why and how you can achieve them.

Keep track

It’s well known in management circles that you can only control what you measure. The next step in taking control over your goals is keeping track of them. The onus is on you to make sure that your goals are constantly updated.

In six months to a year, your goals might have changed. Putting this on paper is important because it shows you the transition in your life, from where you initially thought you’d want to be to what you have become or wanting to do. Keeping track helps show growth.

Free stock photo of writing, vintage, time, hoursFinally, it’s important to be transparent with your plan and to also remember it is as important as setting goals. Treat your goals like chains and be bound by them.

Your career development plan is meant to be a guide that can be amended when needed. With that said, however, changing your short, medium or long-term goals shouldn’t stem from laziness.

Rather, the changes should be necessary in aiding the achievement of set goals. After all, it is your guide to navigating through all spheres of your life.