Planning for success after college part 2: Drawing your map to success

As I ventured around specific areas of interest for my future, I started to get the gist of a few things I liked: having creative freedom, being outdoors, cleanliness/organization, growth/development, educational growth, and business operations. Combine all of those and you will see that I can run one of the world’s cleanest national parks.

But seriously, I narrowed down where I felt like I belonged. Now let me tell you this, I’m good at writing, and I enjoy it, however, it’s my hobby and in no way do I want to be a writer as a career. I’ve tried it and it’s something I need time to develop before diving in. Therefore, if there is something that you are good at and you are always told you should pursue it, test it first. You don’t have to pursue it just because you are good at it. Figure out what it is that you truly love. If solving world hunger doesn’t make you burn with a fiery passion, then don’t lie to yourself.

Once you decide where you really want to be, you can start to clear out the junk. This is where it gets fun. I’m going to help you start drawing those paths by connecting lines. (For this activity, you need a blank piece of paper, a pen, and a highlighter.)

Here are a few steps to follow as you draw your Map to Success:

  1. Write “SUCCESS” at the top of your blank paper.
  2. At the bottom, write “ME”

(Literally connecting you to success here)

  1. Write down the following three goals in the middle of your paper, evenly spaced:
    1. A dream job of yours
    2. The realistic job after college
    3. A side hobby that you love to do.
  2. Now, before you connect it all, you have to write down one thing you can do to reach each of those middle goals. For me, I want to be a photographer one day. In order to be a photographer, I need to get experience. So I connected “ME” to “Personal Photography” to my “Realistic Job” to “Dream Job”. Use this as an example and start writing all of the things you could be doing to connect you to the middle goals. There could be an endless amount of things, sometimes crossing paths or beckoning as a central point to all three goals. This is the confusion we have tried to organize for so long, and it feels so good just to get it out on paper.
  3. Now write lines from the middle three goals to the top “SUCCESS” point. What is it that you need to do to have success in those goals? For my photography dream job, I could only be successful if I was known as a world famous travel photographer. Therefore, I put “World Famous Travel Photographer” between “Dream Job” and “SUCCESS”. In that little spot, I put down a few things like “Have photos placed in gallery”, and “Have a photography book published,” etc. These are measurable goals I can strive for every day.
  4. Now the good part, where everything becomes clear. Highlight the lines that you are currently doing. Things like your part time job or practicing photography. This shows you what you are doing and what you need to do next.
  5. Last step: Write three goals you can do this week to start what’s next for you!
  6. Extra last step, hang that paper up on your wall where you can see it every day. Highlight paths as you go.

In Part III of this series, I will dip into a few things that you can be doing to follow those dream paths and conquer your goals on your path to success after college.

CoreyGearyNewHeadshotCorey is a Senior seeking a Bachelor’s of Business Management from The University of Georgia. He currently stands as a Regional Coordinator of the Pearson Campus Ambassador Program and is a regular contributor to the PS Blog. He enjoys traveling, learning, and more traveling.