Taking control of your life

September 24, 2019
General , Studying Online


… are you drifting or driven …?

Schools have now gone back, but not for you having left at the end of last-term; University is getting underway but again, not for you as you have finished with education – at least for a while.  Are you feeling uncertain about what to do next, or all fired-up and ready to get on with the next exciting phase of your life?  The difference between the two is called “self-motivation”, or the drive you have to work toward your goals, to put effort into self-development, and to achieve personal fulfilment”.

Self-motivation is one of the hardest qualities to develop, which is why it is so highly-valued by employers, and why despairing parents often try to provide their patient and helpful motivational advice.  But if the family dynamic doesn’t quite do it for you, don’t completely write-off the idea of taking third-party help to get you started.

… where do I start …?

Needless-to-say, the internet is full of very useful advice for young people (and the not so young) setting about taking control of their life, with websites such as “Mind Tools” (other brands are available) offering a free diagnostic tool to get you started.  Quite apart from highlighting, by implication, aspects of your behavioural traits that may need to be addressed, simply taking the Mind Tools website’s quick online test gets you started on a self-motivation journey that you will neither regret, nor forget.

What becomes immediately clear is that it is impossible to be motivated if you have got nothing to be motivated for.  That might well be the exact position in which many school-leavers find themselves – hence their tendency to drift, a debilitating de-motivating condition that can ruin your future life. The number one task, therefore, is to establish a “goal” in life that you would like to achieve in, say, the next 10-years.

This too is harder to do than to say, and itself calls for a certain amount of determination and, dare we say, self-motivation.  However, if you lack the get-up-and-go even to dream about the future you would like, then it is almost guaranteed that you will not be happy with the future you get.

Setting your future goals, for the next 10-years say, really is important and well worth the effort.  It will need to take into account the personal lifestyle you would like to enjoy, any ambitions you have to see the world, the scale of income you will need to sustain your lifestyle, and the type of job that you will enjoy doing (which is vital) whilst providing the income you need.

Don’t be frightened to be ambitious when setting your life goals; if you want to be an airline pilot/cruise-ship captain/brain surgeon, then make that your goal.  But be realistic in what is achievable, and recognise the steps (and iron-willed self-motivation) you will need to pursue your goal if it is ambitious.

… so what’s the next step …?

For many young people what really excites them is the thought of getting out from under their parents’ feet, becoming self-reliant, relaxing following their school experience, and seeing something of the world.  Properly harnessed, and aligned with a 10-year goal, this can be a very good place to start your career planning.

Gap-year style travel can provide an excellent platform for developing the interpersonal skills and qualities you will need successfully to meet your goals; moreover, they will be developed in the international environment valued by modern global businesses.

Alongside these softer people-skills, your 10-year life goal employment will likely include the need for specific qualifications and/or technical skills which through modern online training techniques can be developed on your travels.  Undertaking studies in this way, at your own pace and when it best suits you, provides exactly the right counterpoint to the sybaritic aspects of world-travel; after all, play and no work is as dull as the converse.

… still need help …?

Getting motivated, establishing a 10-year life goal, working out a career-path that will deliver that goal, thinking about some world-travel “me-time”, making sure that the travel will include personal development opportunities, and putting together an online learning programme that complements all of this can be a daunting task; but Global Grad is here to help you.

Simply contact our advisory team, without obligation or cost, and we will help you to put all the pieces of the jigsaw into place – allowing you to avoid drift and be self-motivated to succeed, and to take control of your life.

About the author

Terry Nash is an adviser to the Global Grad initiative.

He is a former Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Royal Aeronautical Society, and the British Institute of Management.

Terry is a “generalist” who started his working life as an engineering apprentice with the British Oxygen Company, subsequently serving in the RAF before holding senior posts in the public, private and “third” sectors.

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