‘So what’s next?‘ This is one question I always dread to ask myself. It is a question that kills me but it also gets me thinking.If you are fresh out of school like me, I’m sure that you would be able to relate to what I’m saying.
The truth is that at some point in life, we don’t necessarily know “what next” or what exactly we want to do with our life or what we want our future to look like. But what we should know is that we are in a very fast moving world, where people are divided into two categories; those who are progressing and those who are moving backwards.
Fela Durotoye in a speech addressing some students said, ‘the reason why we are able to stand without falling is because the world is spinning at such a fast rate that before we can fall, it has already moved to another point, so nothing is actually at a standstill; change is happening so fast that it looks like a constant’. So in reality, no one is really stagnant. It is either you are moving forward or going backward. Even if you remain at a particular position, and do nothing to improve that position, you are not stagnant because others around are improving their positions in life and are moving forward so you are getting farther behind.
Now that you know, figure out something to improve your present position in life, start where you are, with what you have. There is something called SWOT analysis that I was taught in management class. It is the most renowned tool for audit and analysis of the overall strategic position of the business and its environment. The acronym represents:
Carry out a SWOT analysis on yourself.
What are your strengths?
How can you maximize your strengths and put them into use? Do you have a desire to learn a particular thing, like bead making, sewing, trading, this could be strength? Yes, the desire alone is strength. Then, the next thing you need to do is to put that strength, that desire, that interest into use, do your research, use Google or other search engines, find out how to make use of your strengths. Find the opportunities available for the strengths you have been able to identify and you would be surprised at how much your strength is worth.
What are your weaknesses?
You need to be truth to yourself here, if you are serious about making any substantial progress. There is a popular saying that the first step to solving a problem is to accept that the problem exist. Could your weakness be laziness? Or lack of patient to see your progress? Or Lack of self discipline e.tc. Why not address it!
What are the opportunities available to you?
This is where you need to search for information. There are lots of opportunities available to you, the internet is a big opportunity itself, because you could get a whole lot of information if you know what exactly you are searching for. For example, yesterday I Googled writing competitions in Nigeria and I saw a whole lot of competitions and writing opportunities available to people at different levels. And I’m quite sure most young writers don’t even know about, since the numbers of shares were few. I thought to myself, if only I had seen all those in the category of secondary and tertiary institution while I was still in school. There are a lot of volunteer programs, for example, a whole lot of volunteering opportunities on several blogs. Search around you for opportunities available to you, your holiday or the period while you wait for your NYSC posting could be an opportunity you could use to get some professional certifications, work on your talent, volunteer Just do something in the direction of your goals. Remember, an opportunity once lost might never be gained again!
What are your the threats?
What are the things you feel could be a threat to you? Is it the fear of failure? Or lack of required skills? Or lack of required financial resources? Look into it and find out how you can overcome such threats, there would always be obstacles, there would always be mountains to cross, it is either you give up and turn back or you find a way to turn the mountain into a goldmine or you simply look for a way to level the mountain so you could crossover. There would always be a way if you truly desire it!
If you are able to carry out a SWOT analysis of yourself effectively, somewhere along the line, you would be able to have a clear picture of what you want your future to look like. You will be better equipped to work towards making it a reality. Also, you would have succeeded in improving your position in life instead of moving backwards all because you have not been able to figure out “what is next” question.
Photo Credit: imported-chocolate.com
Modupe Olabenjo is an Economist with an undying love for words. She is passionate about using her writing skills to influence young people achieve their dreams and become knowledgeable change agent, most especially young women. When she’s not combining words or reading, she’s most likely engaged in one intellectual conversation or the other. She blogs at modupeolabenjo.blogspot.com, follow her on twitter @modupeolabenjo or send her a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.