Do you know what you want to be doing five years from now?
Are you happy with your position in life? Many people will make rash decisions based on how they feel today. They don’t make decisions based on where they want to be in the future.
I’ve seen so many co-workers decide to leave public accounting because they are tired of the hours and travel. They don’t think about the opportunities that lie ahead if they stick with it. If they would stay another five years, they would have so much more flexibility in their careers and would not be doing the same things they are doing today.
But, the future doesn’t matter. Only today matters … to them.
You started saving for retirement with your first big job by enrolling in the 401(k) plan. You started saving for your child’s college education when she was born. You saved for your first car and probably for a down payment on your first home.
But, you won’t look five years into the future to see where you want to be in your career.
As Will Smith’s character says in Hitch, “You can’t really know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” If you can specifically determine what you want your life to look like in five years, you can make it happen.
Write down your five-year goal. That goal should include more than just a job title. It should include responsibilities, your employer, your ability to travel, influential people you will know, etc. Be as specific as possible.
Then, work backwards from the achievement of your five-year goal. Be specific with each step. Each step should be small. Big steps take longer to achieve and you may get frustrated. You want to always feel as if you are succeeding.
During this process, you may also want to talk with others who have already achieved the same goal. They can guide you as to what it takes to reach the goal and whether your goal is even reasonable within five years.
Once you write down the specific steps to reach your five-year goal, ask someone to be an accountability partner. A spouse is sometimes a good idea but it depends on his/her personality. You want someone who will push and challenge you, not someone who is concerned about upsetting you.
Give that person a copy of your goals so he/she can remind you consistently of what you need to be doing. Enter reminders in your calendar. Set any type or reminder or alarm you can to always keep you focused on the goal.
Now, take the first step. Do it and move to step two. Always be moving. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. If you don’t take the first step, you will never reach your destination.
Be intentional. Be happy. Enjoy success.