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.
So, you may be wondering… why do I have strong beliefs on the value of 10-year goals?
One of my gifts is the ability to think strategically and I had the opportunity in my career (education administration) to refine this gift and put it to work. Our strategic plans were generally 10-years into the future, and it made sense to me. I spent a lot of time at work (my choice) and it was natural to carry the idea of a 10-year goal into my personal life.
I know what you are thinking…so much will happen in 10-years that is unexpected (good and not-so-good) that I have no idea what I want my life or business to be in 10 years! Yes, things will change over the years.
The magic of the 10-year goal is that we have given thought and put our ideas on paper of the business/life we want to be living in 10 years. This gives us a long view of where we want to head. Have you noticed how easy it is to fall into just getting through the day, week, month, etc.?
Having a destination we are heading towards and keeping it in front of us creates a sense of urgency to do things that move us toward that destination. Change is inevitable, don’t stop planning because things may change, learn to revise the plan as opportunities and challenges appear.
I set a 10-year goal in my mid-forties to retire in 10-years. I was envisioning a shift in what I did that would give me greater flexibility. Once this idea was in my head, I gave thought to what I wanted to do in this “flexible” season of my life.
Two parts of my job at the time I always said that if I didn’t need the income I would do it for free! Those two areas were coaching people (this, for me, is much different than supervising people) and creating strategic plans to help people move from where they are to where they want to be. Yep, I coached my teams to have 5-year goals.
I joined the John Maxwell Team and became a certified coach, teacher, and speaker. I studied process design and improvement as well as elements of strategic planning. Initially, I used all I was learning within the structure of my job. I was having fun!
Then life showed up, a long-term relationship slowly crumbled, and my partner and I split up. This modified the timeline of my exit from education as I re-worked my 10-year goal. I mourned the loss of a relationship I valued and continued working toward my goal.
I traveled to England with a friend (1st trip to Europe) and fell in love with traveling – new food, new language, driving on the left side of the road! This influenced my definition of flexible. I revised my goal once again – flexible now meant I could work from various locations and take several weeks off at a time.
Parents with Dementia & leadership changes at work showed up next. Ultimately, I left my position 3 years earlier than I planned. My goal of working for myself and enjoying a flexible schedule and working with small business owners had been in place about 10 years at that point.
Why share these parts of my personal story? To illustrate that all these events – good, bad, and ugly that showed up in my life did alter and refine 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 the challenging things showed up & I felt like I was drifting as everything was changing, I found that my 10-year goal provided an anchor for me. As everything else shifted I focused my attention on where I was headed.
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.