Treating your life goals as personal projects helps you to stay focused on your vision

Personal project 1
Looking ahead opens your eyes to see more opportunities. Looking behind gives you regrets. (Author unknown)

If you come from an Anglophone country like I do, then you will probably agree with me that learning a foreign language like French after a ‘certain age’ is not easy.  This was my thinking until recently, when I met a wonderful lady called Sue at a symposium, who had learned French in less than one year, and can speak and write very well.

Now here is the thing—for some reasons I always believed that after a ‘certain age’—here making reference to married people with children and busy work and life schedules—cannot learn a foreign language because of the hustles and bustles of making ends meet to provide for the family, but I was so wrong. Sue is a wife, a mother of four children, and is on full time employment, living in an Anglophone country, and she did it in under one year.

“You are asking what my secret of learning French in such a short time is?” Sue said.  “Focus.  That’s what it takes as I am still studying.  Something else, the day I made up my mind to learn French, I treated it as my new project.”

According to Sue, the moment you treat your set goals as personal projects, the mind quickly shifts into top gears, and you take things more seriously, as you tend to become more focused at wanting to succeed by all means.  Think about it—just like you would do for a campus, business, or job related project.  “It makes a lot of sense,” I said to Sue, as we continued talking and sipping our tea, as people slowly streamed into the meeting room.

From our discussions, Sue and I agreed that focusing on personal projects can be done in two phases, and each has steps you need to follow in order to succeed.

Planning phase. 

Step 1:  Decide what you want to attain, and why that particular thing is important to you.  Sue always wanted to learn French, because she believed that it would boost her career progression.

Step 2:  List down the expected outcome if you were to succeed in implementing your personal project.  This becomes your vision as far as the new personal project is concerned.  Which is a good thing because it will keep you focused.  For Sue, learning French would open opportunities for her to work with multinational organizations, and this comes with a good remuneration too.  In addition, as someone who loves traveling, she knew that she would enjoy visiting French speaking countries and be able to hold meaningful conversations with the natives.

Step 3:  List down everything you will need to be able to succeed in implementing your personal project.  Sue knew that she needed to enroll with the best French school in her area, and the classes needed to be flexible enough to accommodate her busy work schedule that involves some traveling.  She also knew that she needed the support of her boss and colleagues to be able to leave the office early to attend classes, which meant informing the management and getting clearance.

Implementation phase.

Step 1:  Choose the most conducive time to start implementing your new personal project, a time when there are less destructions in your life.  For Sue, starting a new job in a multinational organization a year ago was the right time to start learning French.  It was a perfect opportunity for her because she would be able to practice what she learned in class, by interacting with French speaking colleagues at work—via email and telephone.

Step 2:  Set a timeline and swing into action.  At this stage you already know what needs to be done, by referring to what you listed in the planning phase.

Step 3:  Remind yourself the famous quote that says “no pain – no gain”.  This simply means that there are some privileges and comforts you may have to forfeit and sacrifice for some time, if you want to succeed.  Sue knew that she had to go out of her area of comfort—to be able to attend classes without fail, and to do her assignments, in addition to performing her regular job tasks.  Not an easy thing to do.

Step 4:  Keep monitoring progress as you go along, and make the necessary adjustments where required.  This will help you to stay on course and keep your vision alive.

Good luck!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lynda Kalu

    This post was certainly meant for me. I enrolled for a foreign language after getting an opportunity to work for a multinational, however, I need to up my game in the implementation phase! Thanks for the post! Best Regards,Lynda

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