Topic 2: Where would you like to be in 10 Years?

Ok so I have to admit, when we were looking over the topics for this blog challenge, I DID NOT want this one. I don’t know where I want to be in 10 years. Not only that, I don’t like thinking about it. And beyond that, how do I relate this to business and entrepreneurship?

There are an infinite number of resources on goal setting and planning. Like HERE and HERE. I understand that planning and setting goals are important, so why don’t I like it? Why is it hard to do?

What I want to do here is look at some of the reasons self-employed people, entrepreneurs, and we as people in general may have trouble making ourselves take time to set goals.

A quick precursor… If you are someone who is focused and disciplined, someone to whom success comes easily, go ahead and stop reading now because this won’t mean that much to you. This post is for people like me. Maybe you have to work hard to work hard, or maybe you are easily distracted. Perhaps you deal with ADD or you’re a procrastinator. Maybe you’ve experienced failure, either in personal life or professionally. Maybe you’re not where you thought you’d be at this stage in life. Hopefully there’s something here for you since I’m essentially writing this to myself.

Setting Goals and long term planning is hard because:

  1. We have to take an honest look at where we are and that can be hard, especially if you don’t like where you are. Sometimes it’s easier to live in denial than delve into the messy emotions and truth of our current lot in life. Believe me, I know firsthand how difficult this can be.
  2. We have to accept our shortcomings and our failures and NO ONE enjoys that. It can be depressing, and I mean literally depressing. Again, I know firsthand how tough this is, probably why it’s easier for me to just avoid the “bad” thoughts altogether.
  3. We have to change and there are fewer things tougher in the world for some of us than enacting meaningful change. We’re comfortable doing things we’ve always done as we’ve always done them. We’ve crafted habits and routines that we enjoy more or less. And changing that can be really challenging.
  4. We open ourselves up to the possibility of failure. Failing sucks. Its makes us feel terrible. It makes us feel incapable. A series of failures can really tear us down. For those of us that have failed and failed hard in the past, the last thing we want to do is put ourselves in a position to experience that again.
  5. It can seem pointless. There are times in life when we’re in the trenches fighting for our lives. We’re working as hard as we can to just keep the lights on. It’s those times when it feels absolutely ridiculous to think or talk about expanding our business, or buying a new car. We’re too busy surviving.

But setting goals is important. Goals can motivate us and help us see a purpose. So let’s suck it up and get through the difficulties of those five things. Let’s:

  1. Look forward. Look honestly at where we are knowing that what’s done is done. No we’re probably not where we had hoped to be at this stage in life. Maybe you didn’t meet certain goals or maybe life hasn’t gone as you’d planned. A vast majority of us are in the same position.
  2. Forgive ourselves. We probably screwed up somewhere along the line. Maybe those mistakes led to years of setbacks. Let’s put that behind us. Let’s forgive ourselves and let’s not dwell on the mistakes of our past because, frankly, other than not repeating them, they don’t matter. Let’s not blame others either.
  3. Embrace change instead of resisting it. Easier said than done I know. But it’s the only way we’re going to get better or meet the lofty goals we need to set.
  4. Accept that failure happens. We may fail harder than we’ve ever failed before. And it will hurt more than we’ve ever hurt before. The sooner we accept that; the sooner we start taking the first steps to going where we want and need to in life.
  5. Establishing goals and planning isn’t pointless, even if you’re in the trenches. If we let ourselves, we can get lost in survival mode. We need a light at the end of the tunnel, we need hope. Without it, we’ll burnout and give up. Let’s remind ourselves that our current situations are temporary and that we’re capable of more.

If you’re self-employed or an entrepreneur who’s in survival mode, I want to encourage you to keep at it. I’m convinced that perseverance is one of the most important factors to success.

So, here’s to goals, getting over the past, and moving toward a bright and hope-filled future, both personally and professionally.