I recently turned 25 and I’m proud of where I am, but I know there is so much more ahead for me. It seems like a great time to create a new 5-year plan, but how am I supposed to know what 30-year-old Ben is even going to want 5 years from now?
Let me tell you about something I made to help me with some ideas for a 5-year plan. I call it my “passion map.” Sounds lame? Let me tell you why it’s not!
First, here’s what it looks like:
Why did I make this thing?
I decided that while I might not know the next move I’m dreaming of, there are some things I do know I want. Based on 25 years of being me, I know a few things that I’m passionate about and I know how I like to spend my time.
At my core, there are things I do like and things I don’t. I figured that if I can trust myself to write these things out, it will better lead me to some next steps in my life. I don’t think you need to be ready to make any moves right away, but this feels like a great way to set yourself up to make the right decisions when opportunities come your way.
Here’s how you can make it.
Grab a piece of paper, a pen, and turn on some inspiring jams. You should draw out seven sections, which we’ll get into next.
The only rule is that you are completely honest and that you trust that you mean whatever you write down. Just go for it and do not hold back. If you think it, write it down.
What are the sections?
There are 7 sections in my passion map. Once you write out these lists, you should live your life in a way that aligns with this map. If you take a new job, if you start a new hobby, even if you throw a party, you should use this map as a decision guide!
Now let’s start making the following lists:
1. Things I’m Good At
List out things you know you are good at. These are not necessarily things you enjoy, but things you know you can do well. What are some things that people tell you you do well? What are some things that come easily to you? Think about all of these things that make you stand out, and write them down. It’s good to know where you stand.
2. Things I Need
These are things that you would be unhappy without. If you didn’t have these things in your life, you wouldn’t enjoy it. These are non-negotiables. List out things that you must have in order to move forward with something. You should make sure that all areas of your life line up with the things that you have identified as your needs.
3. Things I’m Drawn To
This is the fun stuff. What are you attracted to? If money was no object, how would you build your life? Personally, I’ve always been attracted to celebrities and media. I have always also loved comedy. I love people my age who think big, and I also love innovation and new ideas. These are the things that I would surround myself with every day if I could. I should take that into consideration when I make decisions. What are these things for you?
4. Things I’m Passionate About
This is a chance to write out all the things you know you’re passionate about. This can be a project you’re working on, a cause you believe in, a relationship that means something to you, or a dream you’ve always had. If something makes it on this list, it deserves your time, and you should find time in your day to dedicate to it.
5. Things I want to feel
In college, I had a professor who told me not to think about what job I did, but how it made me feel. Once hearing this, I’ve never thought of my career as a ladder of job titles, but a series of roles that make me feel like I’m aligned with my own values. In my map, I listed that I wanted to feel “like I’m making a difference” and that I wanted to feel “authentic and true,” which makes it easy for me to know if I’m on track. If something isn’t making me feel these things, I shouldn’t be doing them.
6. Things I hate
It’s just as important to know what you don’t like as it is to know what you do like. There are things in your day that you ought to know are not for you. This can be anything that grinds your gears. This is your chance to really get it all out. If something is on that list, try and figure out a formula for never having to do those things again. Life is too short!
7. My Core Values
I’m a huge believer in personal core values. After doing this exercise, you should be able to extract some common words and themes. In my own map, I noticed that I wrote things like “meeting people” and “building relationships” over and over again.
Because of this, it was clear to me that one of my core values was “connections.” It’s likely that you have some common themes throughout your map as well. Try and narrow it down to 3-5 core values. And then start making decisions with your core values in mind.
Now it’s your time to shine!
Once I made my passion map and defined my personal core values, I felt more grounded, and better prepared to take on new opportunities when they come along.
So grab your paper and start creating your passion map. I promise it will help. When you’re done, feel free to send it to me at Benjhawes@gmail.com, I’d love to see what you came up with!
Also published on Medium.