If I were 22: I would document a personal career plan

It is often said that life is so unpredictable that you don’t have to plan for it. That is not right. Plan for your life but be flexible to change with the times! A plan helps you to regain your focus after drifting.

After resigning my job in a bank in early 2004, I suffered on the streets until I met an old man in a taxi who helped me to discover my strengths using the principal of positive float. I am sure I would have continued to suffer a lot had I not met this old man. I resigned a fulltime job without any plan whatsoever. You cannot afford to make such a career mistake. If I had a career/ personal plan, I don’t think I would have resigned without a clear next step.

If you are 22 years, find yourself a mentor and plan for your life. Do it NOW.

It is ok to live your life on trial and error if you have a clear north. Where exactly are you heading? If you are cast away, how will you get back to your destination?

As you swim across the ocean, you will experience waves from all angles which will push you off your track; deep waters which you must swim around to avoid drowning; and some blue oceans which are so calming that you might forget to move on. How do you get back to the right route without a clear direction to your destination? That is what life will throw at you – bad jobs that you must resign quickly and move on, naysayers whom you must avoid; and seemingly great jobs which you might settle for instead of aiming higher to your greatness.

At 22 years, you are beginning a wonderful journey which will stabilize in 10 years’ time. Now, you can make mistakes as you still have some time to recover. Once you hit 32 years, your life’s calling should be clear. You should be stable in whatever you are doing. If you are a medical doctor, at 32 years, you should be recognized as one of the best in the field in your community! At worst you should be stable in your job or private business and not worried about life’s basics like food, shelter, education and leisure.

When I married my first and only wife on 22 April 2006, I had to mature and quickly on realizing that I was soon to be a father. First on agenda was to stabilize my finances by having a source of assured monthly income. Next, was to come up with a clear plan on how to make such income sustainable even while I am asleep. I also had to ensure that I avoid lifestyles that would expose me to preventable health risks so that I am not on my death bed while earning good money. Above all, I wanted to be respected for integrity and hard work in my community. Looking back, I should have been clear about some of these things at the age 22.

Now is the time for you to consider the following:

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Clarify on your person vision, mission and values. What exactly do you want to become when you grow old? Clarify on how you define personal success and what will show you have attained it. Don’t worry; you can always change your vision as you mature. I have over 140 people in my private mentorship program, many of these people lack clarity of their life’s purpose. Majority of them live their life on what Kaplan & Norton refers to asfreewheeling opportunism –waiting for opportunities and grabbing them as they come. Unfortunately, unlike a company, to grab any opportunity you must prepare by having the right skills and experience. The vision will give you where you want to be. Your personal values will guide your behavior and work ethics to ensure that you work towards your vision professionally.

For example, you may attain wealth through many ways including defrauding your employer. Is that something you can live with? Have personal values and be clear of what you can do and cannot. This will give you the right brand name and positioning by the age 32.

Above all, consider starting your family early. If you value a family, it is high time you started one. Don’t wait to make enough money because there is nothing like ‘enough money.’ If you must have kids (or a kid) don’t wait to have them during your retirement! Have your kids early so that you are able to mentor them. Let your career not compete with your life. Your career should be part of your life. Marrying and planning for children before the age of 26 is one of the best decisions you will ever make. If you want justifications for my advice, please leave a comment below.

I wish you success.

Mustapha B Mugisa is the author of Your Three Keys to a Worry Free Life. Rediscover yourself and Live Happily available on Amazon. Feel free and get a copy.

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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