10-year challenge for your career
The 10-year challenge is a Facebook trend where people post a photograph from 2009 along with a recent pic.
For your career, let’s flip this and look at 10 years into the future. Do you think about who will you be in 2029? If not, there is no better time than now.
How do you set a 10-year challenge for yourself and achieve it? Let’s get started.
Why should I?
Without a goal, it’s tougher to take good decisions. All your decisions will be based on what is momentarily convenient. Having a goal informs every decision in the light of your dreams.
Remember, if you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. Even a simple goal like planning a vacation in advance gets you to apply for leave and make bookings while still available.
Where do I start?
Start with a pen and paper and write it down. An apocryphal story states that the Harvard class of 1979 was studied over 10 years. The 3% of the class who had written down both goals and plan were making 10 times as much money as others who had no goals or had only written goals but no plan.
Though this story is not authentic, the message is clear. Writing down goals and plans forces you to think and focus on what is important and then take the right steps at every stage.
Who will I be?
Be, Do, Have is the right sequence for a goal sheet. Begin with yourself. Who do you want to be in 10 years’ time? Goals include being healthy, peaceful, fulfilled, loving, generous etc. These high-level goals will transform you beyond measure in your thoughts, feelings and actions.
If being peaceful is your 10-year goal, you will make career choices that take you away from high-stress roles. Health is a compulsory goal and plan to achieve it if you are to enjoy your dreams.
Who will be around me?
Where do you see your family and friends in the future? Are you planning to get married, have kids, stay with parents, stay close to friends or have new ones?
Your relationship goals will influence your choice of geography and career. A travelling job or a relocation abroad requires greater flexibility in your dreams than if you have rigid plans or constraints.
What will I know?
Move from Being to Doing. What will your skill sets be in 10 years? How do you see yourself contributing to the world or to your employer? Write down the skills you desire to possess and your plan to acquire them.
This could mean new education, certification or change of jobs. If you want to be a manager, seek roles where a promotion or more experience translates into team leadership.
How will I spend my time?
Do you see yourself retired and spending time with family, contributing to society or pursuing a hobby? Or do you see yourself in long hours at a job you are passionate about?
If you are seeking leadership roles or specialist ones, then a busy work schedule comes with the territory. Will you prefer spending more time with people—team-based outcomes— or with your own work as an individual contributor?
What will I own?
Now, comes the easiest part – to have. What are the material possessions and wealth you aspire for?
Once you have written down your wish list, examine it in the light of the previous goals of being and doing. If these don’t add up, then either go big on what you are willing to do or temper your financial desires.
What will I be known for?
Finally, check out your social goals. If it matters what people think or say, examine what will you be known as. Do you want to be in the public eye including senior management, politics, media etc or the reclusive investor in stocks who nobody knows?
Similarly, every profession, from a teacher to a lawyer, and every employer you work for casts a positive or negative shadow in your social circles.
What price am I willing to pay?
Now that you have written all your goals, work them backwards to build a plan of action for the long, medium and short term. If you dream of becoming a billionaire, are you willing to take on the risk of becoming an entrepreneur?
If you want to buy a house, are you willing to save up for it and give up some of your discretionary expenses? No price is too high for living your dream.
Goals that breathe, stay alive!
Once your goal and plan sheet is ready, stick it up on your fridge or on your desk where you can see it, live it and breathe it every day.
Every two to four weeks, revisit your sheet to calibrate your efforts to your plan.
Feel free to modify your dreams or plans when unexpected opportunities arise, or unforeseen life events shape your journey!