I recently read an article in Black Enterprise magazine by the CEO Earl Graves Jr. about getting a “GPS” for your life. How true! All of us, especially students, can benefit from having a life GPS, but a little more detail on that…
Graves ponders the idea that his car’s GPS is the one thing he can always rely on. “It gives clear, concise directions. If there are any roadblocks, it informs me miles in advance. When I occasionally take a wrong turn, the device automatically recalculates the route, offering an alternative to reach my intended destination.” He used this analogy when trying to give some life advice to a friend with numerous “road blocks” and no idea how to overcome them.
And now, I pass this message on to you. “Get a GPS for Your Life.”
What I took from this article is that brainstorming is the key. Think about where you want to be, and how you are going to get there. Work backwards and think about what tools you need and which achievements will make this happen.
Example: I want to go to a top tier college and receive a scholarship.
What will it take to achieve this goal? Start your road map by sitting down and jotting some bullets on a sheet of paper to help you get started.
I will need…
- Competitive grades
- An impressive test score
- Extra-curricular activities in which I take on a leadership role
- Information about available college scholarships
- Education on the funds required to attend this school and the financial options I have
- Familiarity with the administration of the school (always helps with consideration for a scholarship)
It’s not enough, however, to just write these steps down. It takes hard work to get to your dreams! To return to the GPS metaphor, you need a vehicle. How will you achieve the “impressive test score” goal? By taking an SAT or ACT preparatory course you have chosen a “vehicle” to take you to your destination. Having a vehicle will make attaining your goals that much easier than trying to do everything on your own.
I find that any goal when broken into bite-size chunks is much easier to swallow. It is easy to become overwhelmed, but with a clear road map most long-term plans are within reach.
The second part of Earl Graves’ article focused on flexibility, being able to re-write one’s goals and make changes as necessary to keep the ultimate goal in mind. Few businesses keep their original business plans throughout their growth, so why should you stick to one “business” plan for your life? Having a change-as-needed GPS allows you to make a wrong turn and still end up at your destination.
Earl Graves Jr. is a successful businessman running a leading magazine, but his message rings true for anyone with goals. I was impressed by his article and also by his admission that he sometimes takes a wrong turn or two. This gives hope for the rest of us! His point is clear in that everyone must occasionally reroute when the chosen path is not working. Making changes along the way is what leads to long-lasting success.
So here is my challenge to you…
Create a GPS for your high school years.
Set your goals and take action! I know you can do it!
If you would like to read the original article: