Whether I'm asking about your career or your personal life, this is (obviously) a very important question. If you don't know what you want, you'll waste a lot of time and effort, "doing things" only to realize you're still not satisfied.
I'm going to give you a tool to add to your professional toolbox. Over the years, it's worked for hundreds of our clients.
Over the years, I've found that many people recognize the importance of having a long-term plan. However, in the "heat of the day" those same individuals may have a tendency to become entirely focused on more immediate concerns/opportunities. Subsequently, our joint work becomes all about creating short-term action plans to achieve immediate goals.
While it's important that you tend to your immediate needs, it's perhaps even more important to have a clear long-term plan that will ensure you have a successful and satisfying life over the long term.
Here's one of my favorite approaches to help you move forward. It will help you to become clear regarding those things about which you care most. It will help you to take a step back, contemplate, and take into account all the important life aspects. Based upon The Four Windows Coaching Process, this approach will help you to develop a good visual to use for a detailed plan.
It solidifies your thinking. It starts with spending a little time "noodling" about where you want to go.
Contemplate your life ten years from today, and then write a letter to a close friend or loved one as if you are already there. Date the letter ten years from the day you write it, and tell your recipient everything you can imagine about your life.
Some things you may want to noodle include:
- where you live, and what kind of a home(s) you have, (are there multiple residences and countries in your future?)
- what you do for your job or income
- whether you're you happy, and why or why not
- what your family and personal situation looks like
- whether you travel (and, if so, where? what are your favorite places?)
- what things do you do for "selfish" and just-personal pleasures
- how you replenish yourself
- what accomplishments - career or otherwise, you are most proud of
- how you spend your days ten years from now
- whether you spend a lot of time with your family (if so – doing what?)
- whether you're into any charitable or volunteer work (and what it is)
- what assets you have e.g., money in the bank, investments, property, cars, "toys"
- your health and body fitness
- what courses or programs you've taken to develop yourself
Add to this list anything that is uniquely you and yours. Remember, you're writing your best friend or loved one. They would remember things about you and have interest in how you did.
This list will help you get clear about what's really important. Use it as the start of a plan for your life.
If this idea was helpful and you'd like more, you can pick up a free EBook version of my latest published book, The Plan, by going to my personal website here.
Here's to your future!
Executive leadership coach.
John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.