I started reading Alexandra Robbins’ Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis because lately, as I reflect on the past 10 years of my life, I realized that while I have accomplished a lot, and feel that ultimately, I’ve gotten to where I want to be at this age, I also have started to feel like I’m at the cross roads of Contentment and Ambition.
At first I felt guilty about feeling a lack of satisfaction, because I pretty much have everything I wanted by this point in my life. I have an awesome career in higher ed. I’m one of the youngest administrators in my organization, and I’ve established a pretty solid professional reputation. Not to mention, I’ve finally broken into the ranks of the upper middle class, in the process of starting a biz and really doing it for myself, all as a single gal. A true independent woman (Beyonce’ would be proud).
I sat down and made a list of all the personal and professional goals that I’ve accomplished and was very pleased at what I saw. But I also noticed that there was another page that was completely blank. So I got to thinking…what’s next?
I have a thousand ideas, but I needed to break them down into a feasible game plan that would make it easier to set goals and structure action plans. So as an introduction to my 30s, I took the following steps to channel my restless energy into an actual achievable life plan.
I had to really sit down and figure out what it is that I wanted to do. It’s not enough to just say, “I need a change”. Ask yourself simple, yet provocative questions. What kind of change do you want? What kind of changes are you capable of making? Challenge yourself to give real answers.
So to execute this phase, I had a heart to heart with one of my dearest friends so that I could flesh out what it was that I was thinking and feeling. I described the direction that I saw my life going in, what changes I wanted to make, and what my initial thoughts were on how to make it happen. I allowed myself to be open to taking constructive feedback, just in case my big ideas started to lean a little too far to the left. And then I started to plan.
What I discovered is that I still very much love the work that I have been doing in promoting the benefits of higher education. So the good news was that I didn’t hate my job. But I’ve realized that I wanted to take it a step further and really start to mentor young adults, particularly young adults of color, and provide them with the tools that they need to build a name and a sustainable reputation for themselves professionally.
Write a mission/vision statement:
Now that you’ve hashed out the vision, write it down. For me, nothing gives life to my ideas more than seeing them in print. In one sentence, write down what you hope to accomplish and keep it as simple as possible. As a little bonus, I’ll share my mission statement for a non-profit that I want to start (a result of my brainstorming).
“To produce a generation of young adults who will become starters, builders, and completers, by providing them with knowledge, resources, and a supportive network.”
Your mission statement is not the platform to be superfluous. Use direct language that really gets to the meat of what you want to do. Essentially, your mission statement should say three things.
- Who you want to impact.
- What impact you want to make.
- How you plan to make the impact.
This will be your north star as you continue to hash out what your next moves should be.
Make the blueprint:
You need a plan, or what I like to call the blueprint. The definition of a blueprint is a design, scheme, or plan. It’s going to serve as your birds-eye view of the overall goal that you hope to accomplish.
For my blueprint, I organized my vision/mission into three phases. There’s the starter phase, builder phase, and completer phase. I’ve decided that all of my tactics and programming efforts would need to fall under those three categories to support the overall vision.
Develop a feasible plan of attack:
I quickly realized that while having this fantastic life plan is great, the reality is that I also work a full-time job and have a slew of other responsibilities and activities that monopolize a lot of my time. I’m excited to get started, but I have to make sure that I don’t overwhelm myself. So I decided to break down my plan into a few small action items that I knew I could accomplish in a relatively short period of time. Here are a few of my action items.
- Reach out to contacts in my network with similar goals and interests and gain support for vision.
- Establish a core meet-up group with interested individuals and brainstorm potential programming and outreach opportunities.
- Based on list of programming opportunities discussed in the meet up group, develop a sell-sheet to market to target audiences.