10-year plan

If you’ve never thought about it before, you should!

“We become what we think about most of the time.”

Earl Nightingale

I encourage business owners to have a 10-year goal for their business. Truthfully, I believe we should all have a 10-year goal for our life. Since our business is a component of our life our business goal needs to fit into our life vision.

You may be wondering, “Why does she have such strong beliefs about the value of 10-year goals?”

Well, I’ll tell you!

I possess the gift of strategic thinking. During my career as an education administrator, I had the opportunity to refine my gift and put it to work. My company’s strategic plans were generally projected 10-years into the future, and it just made sense!

My job brought me great joy, so I spent most of my time there. Naturally, I thought a lot about work, so it should be no surprise that the company’s idea of the 10-year goal extended into my personal life as well.

You’re probably thinking, “What’s the point? So much will change in 10-years, so I have no idea where I want my life or business to be that far down the road!” You are right about one thing; things will change over the years.

Do You Believe In Magic?

 I do! The magic of the 10-year goal is in the thought we have given it. It is also in the action of putting the vision we have about the business/life we want to be living in 10 years, on paper. This gives us a long view of our life’s journey.

When you don’t have a plan, it is easy to be content just getting through the day, week, month, etc.

Choosing a destination helps us keep it in front of us and creates a sense of urgency to do things that move us toward that destination. Change is inevitable. Don’t stop planning just because there is a chance things may change. Instead, learn to revise the plan as opportunities and challenges appear.

I was in my mid-forties, planning to retire in the next decade when I set my 10-year goal. My desire was to make a shift that would give me greater flexibility in my life. Once this desire came into my awareness, I began thinking about what I wanted to do in that “flexible” season of my life.

At the time, there were two parts of my job that I would do for free if I didn’t need the income: coaching and creating strategic plans to help people move from where they are, to where they want to be.

Yep, I coached my teams to create 5-year goals.

My desire for flexibility led me to join the John Maxwell Team, and I became a certified coach, teacher, and speaker. I studied process design and improvement, as well as elements of strategic planning. I was having so much fun I started using all I was learning within the structure of my job.

Then life showed up.

A long-term relationship slowly crumbled. My partner and I split up causing a huge time crunch in my exit strategy from education. As I mourned the loss of a relationship I valued, I re-worked my 10-year plan. and continued working toward my goal.

Europe called, and I answered! I traveled to England with a friend (1st trip to Europe) and fell in love with traveling – new food, new language, and driving on the left-side of the road! The word flexible took on a new meaning. I revised my goal once again – flexible now meant I could work from various locations and take several weeks off at a time.

Things were good, and then life showed up again.

Taking care of parents with Dementia, while adjusting to leadership changes at work proved to be too much of a challenge at the time. Ultimately, I left my position 3 years earlier than I planned. When I thought about it, I realized my goal of working for myself and enjoying a flexible schedule, while working with small business owners had been in place for about 10 years at that point.

Why am I sharing these parts of my personal story, you may ask? To illustrate that all these events that showed up in my life – good, bad, and ugly, altered and refined my 10-year goal. Over time my vision became clearer, and I was even more excited to live the life and enjoy the business I had in mind.

Also, when life’s challenges showed up and I felt like I was drifting rather than steering as everything was changing, I found that my 10-year goal provided an anchor for me. That awareness helped me focus my attention on where I was headed.

What Are You Waiting For? Just Do It!

 The truth is that somewhere between being a young child with a great imagination and adulting, my dreams of what could be drifted away. One day I thought to myself, “If I could wave a magic wand and create the life, house, wardrobe, job, etc. that I wanted, what would it be?” This was the beginning of my 10-year goal journey.

It took some time to think beyond where I was. It was a while before I realized that having big long-term goals did not mean I was not happy. Nor did it mean that something was wrong with my life in the “now”. It was possible to dream and be happy with where I was at the moment.

I have experienced the power of a 10-year goal professionally and personally. It serves as wings to keep us envisioning a future we love as well as roots that keep us grounded in where we are today and what we are moving toward. Experience the magic of a 10-year goal for yourself!

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