As I grow older, I sometimes reflect on my past in terms of the life I have lived and the decisions I have made. I think about my successes, failures, and what I instilled in my children’s upbringing, just to name a few. Sometimes those thoughts are refreshing to think about, while other thoughts are a bitter pill to swallow. Through my reflection, I know I still have work to do. Nonetheless, while I might reflect on my past, I do not look into that rearview mirror too often because it could distract me from seeing what is in front of me and take me off course from focusing on my purpose in life.
Like many men, I have faced many experiences that were challenging, defeating, and rewarding. Some of those experiences came from circumstances while others came from the choices I made in life. I feel those experiences are what shape us as men and are lessons for us to learn. Those lessons could be for us to gain a better understanding of who we are, to go a different direction, or it could be a wakeup call to let God take control. Whatever the case may be, your experiences should act as a guide for you to define and carve out your path in life.
Carving out your own path in life gives you freedom because you are operating at a high level of purpose. If you are not sure of your purpose or looking to redefine it, I would suggest using the PLOT method to give you further insight of who you are and what direction to go. A PLOT is a self-evaluation exercise that will bring out your Purpose in life, your Limitations, Opportunities to manifest your propose, and Traps to avoid.
It focuses on your purpose by looking at factors that could affect your life. It requires you to evaluate your life’s experiences and is designed for you to understand and see your purpose more clearly. This process will require you to conduct an inventory of yourself. Below are examples of questions you should ask yourself:
- What task(s) do you love to do?
- What are your natural talents and skills?
- Are you working in the right field, or should you start your own company?
- What is extremely easy for you to accomplish, that others find difficult?
- What is your brand, and what do others say are your talents?
- What sets you apart from others?
- What task(s) have you repeatedly tried that are challenging for you to accomplish?
- What skills do you lack that hinder you achieving your goals?
- What fears do you have that preclude you from accomplishing your goals?
- What benefits would you receive from your career choice?
- Have you ever thought about starting a company or purchasing a franchise?
- What new technology can help you achieve your personal and professional goals?
- What is the forecasted growth of the career/industry you are aspiring to enter?
- Who could mentor you, and what organizations could you join?
- What organizations are you a member of that could help you develop your skills and achieve your goals?
- Do you have a mentor?
- What are the challenges that could hinder you from accomplishing your goal(s)?
- Is your career/company/job/industry stable, transforming, or becoming obsolete?
- Is the economy affecting you and keeping you from achieving your goal(s)?
- Are your fears your trap?
- Are you living in a place that hinders your growth?
By applying a PLOT to your life, it will give you more direction and focus. After gaining insight into your PLOT, develop an action plan to correct or carry out what you discovered.
Alan D. Benson is an author, educator, and president of Benson Group, LLC. He has written five books: Stand Up! A Message to the Black Man; Keep That Seat Hot (Volume I and II); and Her Hair is Her Crown of Glory (Volume I and II). Stand Up! is a book that uplifts the accomplishments of Black Men and lists steps for them to become the best they can be in their lives, careers, families and communities. All volumes of Keep That Seat Hot and Her Hair is Her Crown of Glory teach the principles of operating and sustaining a business in the barbering and beauty industries.
For more information about Alan D. Benson and his products and services, please visit alandbenson.com or email [email protected].