How to Get from Gap Year to Growth Year: Be Prepared

Want to transform your growth year (a self-development-focused gap year) dreams into reality? You’ve come to the right place.

In our Growth Year blog series, you’ve learned how to Be Strategic, how to Be Realistic, and how to Be Intentional. Your final key skill to learn is Be Prepared. With this last tool in your utility belt, you’ll be fully equipped to become your own growth year superhero!

Being prepared means being ready to do or use something. It’s not the same thing as fretting about bad things that might happen. I recently heard a friend describe worrying like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain; it makes no sense and achieves nothing! Unlike worrying, being prepared is smart and savvy. In fact, it will likely make the difference between whether your growth year succeeds or fails.

So how can you prepare for success during your growth year? Follow these steps:

  1. List likely events. Jot down what you reasonably expect may happen during your growth year that you will need to anticipate or respond to. For example, if you’ve earned a scholarship that you can apply to renew after 6 months, your list would include, “scholarship is renewed in 6 months” and, “scholarship isn’t renewed in 6 months.” Be sure to include what you think is likely to happen at the end of your growth year as you look to transition to the next step.
  2. List likely outcomes. For each probable event, predict what you think will happen as a result. For instance, if your scholarship isn’t renewed in 6 months, you might list, “seek alternative funding sources,” “take out a loan,” “draw on my personal savings,” or “ask my relatives for money.”
  3. List likely consequences. For each event and its outcome, imagine the consequence(s). If you think about the outcome of drawing on your own savings, a consequence might be, “reduce spending by 20%,” “seek supplemental income e.g. freelance work or a part-time job,” or, “consider shortening the growth year by 1-3 months.”
  4. Talk it out. Share your Events → Outcomes → Consequences list with mentors, guardians, and other wise, experienced people who have your best interest at heart. Focus especially on anything from your list that seems highly likely to happen and that you’re worried about. For these items, ask for advice on ways to solve or avoid the problems before you have a chance to face them.

By systematically anticipating what may happen during your growth year, you can troubleshoot problems before they have a chance to turn into real problems. Perhaps these issues will never materialize, but if they do, you’ll be prepared!

We hope that you use the Growth Year blog series to make smart choices for your passionate, prosperous future! To customize and complete your growth year game plan, contact us here.

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