I hate long-term visions.
There. I said it. I hate them. I don’t want to plan out an imaginary life that’s ten years out. I don’t want to say no to golden opportunities because they don’t fit in my ten year plan. And what if I don’t like the life I planned? What if I’m sitting here in ten years thinking, “Well, this is fucking great. I accomplished everything in my vision, and it’s not at all what I wanted.”
I’m not judging you if visions are your thing (And, visions are definitely necessary for your business. I’m strictly talking personal here). I know many successful people who write visions for every aspect of their life. But they’re not for me. I wrote a personal ten-year vision once, about a year ago, and it was one of the most excruciating, frustrating exercises of my career. Sounds crazy, right? If it was so stressful and I feel so strongly about it, why did I do it? Well, that’s another conversation. But the fact is, I did. And already, one year later, I want to throw it out the window. Or, the 21st century equivalent, permanently delete it from my computer.
I’m going to be annoying cliche and say that life is a journey. Because it is. And if you plan out where you want to be in ten years, you lose sight of the day in front of you. Of today. Yes, you can take steps to get you closer to your ten year dream life, but you may ignore the strong urges that may take you down a different path. Or you’ll give up on reinventing yourself because it’s not part of the all-important plan.
So I like goals. Goals that are short-term. Goals that are real. Unlike visions, goals force you to make a decision and act on it. Because indecisiveness equals inactivity. And what happens when you complete a goal? You feel good, right? You feel alive. Full of purpose. It makes you want to set more goals.
Goals get you closer to the person you want to be. Visions judge you by your accomplishments.
So here it goes. Here are my goals for the next 12 months. They’re lofty. And there’s a lot of them. But I can do it.
Run a marathon. This is it. This is the year I’m finally going to do it. I chose the race, I have a training schedule up on my fridge. There’s no turning back. June 4th – Big Basin Skyline to the Sea Marathon in Santa Cruz. Anyone want to run with me?
Take Spanish lessons. This one is quite embarrassing. How do I not know Spanish yet? I realized how little I know when Suzie and were in Mexico and asking for “el puente” instead of “la cheque,” and when I tried talking our way out of a speeding ticket, and ending up giving the Mexican cop all of our money (which luckily was only $15).
Learn the guitar. Just something I’ve always wanted to do. Not all goals need a purpose more than that. Something you want to do. So why not write it down and do it?
Pasta Fridays. I’m super excited about this. In the tradition of my great-grandmother’s Sunday dinners, I’ll invite friends and neighbors over on Friday nights for big bowls of pasta, with a different sauce every week. Bring kids, a bottle of wine, and a craving for carbs. I love our friends. We have the most amazing group of friends. And this will help us see them more often.
Travel to two countries with our boys. Ripping off the band-aid of traveling with little ones. We already have a Mexico trip planned, and I want one more international trip on the books. Spain maybe? Italy to visit family?
And you know what, based on my ten year vision, I wouldn’t be doing 4 out of 5 of these things. I want the freedom to follow my whims, to reinvent myself, to take another path. I don’t want to be caged in by an image of who I think I want to be ten years from now.
What are your goals? Go ahead, write them down. Write down what you want to do, things that are possible to accomplish in less than a year – maybe even six months. And take a small step, today, to accomplish them. It’ll feel great. I promise.