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Terence Mapuka
In my previous article, ‘So What’s Next After High School?’ I highlighted several options one has to pursue after high school. The response for more information was overwhelming. Before I get into detail about the different options in the previous article, I want to explain how one gets to make a decision about what to pursue.

I am sure we have all heard the saying ‘you can be whatever you want to be, if you put your mind to it’. Although this is true, I do not support this school of thought. I believe each one of us was born to accomplish a specific purpose therefore it would be better using your energy to identify your purpose and pursuing it to fulfilment. A life lived within one’s purpose is a fulfilling life.

However, understanding your purpose is not easy, it requires a lot of self-retrospection. As you seek the perfect career you will to a larger extent discover your purpose in life. Most children are just stumbling into a career or a profession because that is what is accessible not necessarily what they want to do in life. Without proper career planning and development it will affect their delivery in those careers and productivity at work.

There are a few factors one has to look at when deciding their career path. In this article we shall look at each one of them in detail.

Understanding Yourself
First you have to understand yourself before you can define what lies ahead for you. Unfortunately we do not do much self-analysis and as a result we will never get to know much about ourselves. We can tell a lot about celebrities and our friends and yet we do not understand ourselves. For you to know more about yourself you need to answer a few questions;

What do you enjoy doing? — What is that something that you can spend a long time doing, you get lost in it and you will not even think about food, sleep or anything else.

What are you good at? — What is it that you do naturally.

What do you know best or you want to know better than everyone? — I remember in school I had a friend who would tell you everything about the BMW. He loved the car so much he got to know a lot about its manufacturing. Today he is an automotive engineer and you can guess where he works!

What kind of environment do you want to work in? — Are you an outdoor person or do you enjoy sitting on a desk with a computer. Understanding this about yourself tells you more about which career you will enjoy doing.

Understanding Your Personality
Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.

What do you want to be known for? — There are names that when you see you will associate them with something, Strive Masiyiwa (Telecommunications), Bill Gates (Software) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Football). What do you want your name to be associated with, what do you want to be known for.

How do you want people to see you? — People should have no doubt when it comes to who you are. It should be clear because of the path you are journeying on.

What should your eulogy say about you? — When you are gone what should the parting speech say about you? Reminds me of the Extra Large song Wafa Wanaka, will they say good riddance or they will be pained by the loss. It all depends on how you chose to live your life.

What influence do you want to have? — An influence is a part of your nature that has an effect on others. What nature of yourself do you want to pass on to others?

Understanding Your Values

What matters the most in your life? — Do you value people or achievements? Maybe you want recognition and money? There are people called Passionists, who do something for the love of it. They strive for excellence and want to do an impact. There are people called Hirelings, all that drives them is the love of money, status, prestige and benefits involved.

If you had all the money you wanted, what would you be doing? — If you can identify something you will continue doing not for money that is something worth of pursuit.

Will you do anything for money? — Is there anything you would not do for money? This shows you have values and you respect them, as such others will respect you.

Understanding Your Skills
There are two types of skills that one has to be aware of.

Aptitude skills — These are skills one is born with. They include talents and natural abilities. These include athletics, singing, acting and plaiting hair

Acquired Skills — These skills are attained through some training or schooling. These include driving, writing, accounting and carpentry.

Once you have gone through this self-assessment and you have answers to all these questions, you can get more clarity as to the path you are destined for. All this brings you to discovering your purpose. It is zwTEENS interest to nurture teens who can realise their full potential. zwTEENS endeavours to develop citizens who are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit; have a high degree of self-reliance, evidenced in such qualities as initiative, courage, and resourcefulnes; have positive personal character; have the desire and skills to help others; understand the principles of global social, economic, and government systems; are knowledgeable about and take pride in their Zimbabwean heritage and understand our nation’s role in the world; have a keen respect for the basic rights of all people; and are prepared to participate in and provide leadership for a global society.

Terence Mapuka is with zwTEENS an organisation which helps teens with career choices. You can reach Terence on [email protected] or visit their website

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