|This is an update of my New Year’s post I’ve run in the past so it might seem familiar to some of you, but I hope a useful refresher: |
I have never been a big fan of resolutions. They just don’t seem to work for me. A few years ago, I started doing three-year visions every year and I love it. When I reflect back on earlier life, I realize I was doing that anyway, just not formally. I’ll explain, and then I’ll show you how I do it.
I had a pretty good job and a good life in Seattle in 1999. Hard to believe that is now 20 years ago. One Monday morning as I commuted to work and plotted what I’d do the next weekend while remembering how awesome the previous weekend was, I realized something:
I didn’t want to live for the weekends anymore.
Kind of a big realization, no? So what do you do with that? Well, I started to dream about what my life should be like. I knew I wanted to be back in a small town in the mountains and have access to visit the city I loved. I wanted a little home, sort of like a cabin but not rustic; cozy. As for my career, I would be doing something creative. And it would be my own business. I wasn’t sure what exactly, but I’d be working independently.
Geographically, I definitely wanted to stay in the Northwest.
Other criteria: I need to be able to ski. Skiing is central to my existence and happiness.
I mentally painted a detailed picture of what I wanted my life to look like. I didn’t know how it would happen. I didn’t write it down. I wasn’t even consciously doing it – it was just a daydream. But I carried this vision around with me in my head and began talking about it.
The next year, the company I worked for purchased a ski resort I had never heard of in Sandpoint, Idaho: Schweitzer Mountain. I was sent there on several occasions to assist with a number of projects and fell in love with the area and the people.
Later, in the fall of 2001, the director of marketing resigned just before ski season was to start and I was asked to take her position. I had two weeks to wrap up my job in Seattle, prepare my condo for rent, pack up and move to start a new life and find a place to live. I’d have to present our marketing plan to the executive team days after my arrival.
Three years after that, I needed more challenge than the ski resort job could give me. But by then, I’d met Patrick who would eventually become my husband, and I’d created a life I didn’t want to leave. I had no choice in my mind, but to take my ultimate big leap: leave a dream job and start my own practice.
I took the pieces I loved about my work – communications and public relations and launched Big Leap Creative in 2004 with the ski resort agreeing to be my first client.
I also bought a small home on the outskirts of Sandpoint. One morning in July of 2004, as I made my coffee, it hit me:
Holy crap! This is what I had envisioned back in Seattle. I had forgotten about that!
So maybe it took me five years to completely realize that dream but let’s just say after three, I was well on my way. Which is why I like to do a three-year vision instead of New Year’s resolutions.
This thinking is confirmed by Vishen Lakhiani:
“We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in one year but we underestimate what we can do in three years.” – The Code of the Extraordinary Mind
So, how do you do it? If you want a more formalized process, Vishen Lakhiani walks you through it in his book linked above along with accompanying videos. He breaks life down into three categories. Within each of these categories, he leads you through dozens of questions:
Experiences – Describe the adventures and relationships you want to have.
Growth – Describe your physical, mental and intellectual growth.
Contribution – Describe your career, creative outlets, and community participation.
Here is a worksheet I created and modified from this very exercise. Download it and work on it this afternoon! It takes about 15 minutes. I’ve saved my sheets from over the years and revisit over the course of the year.
|Don’t worry about the “how.” |
Just think about the end game, what it looks like; what it feels like. I didn’t know exactly what my business would be. I just knew what it would feel like.
We all know when you have a road map for what you want, you are far more likely to achieve it. So give it a try, and please share with me any ideas or processes you use by hitting “reply.” I’d love to hear from you.
PS: @semi_rad suggested couples go out on a date night and make a list of their favorite moments of the past year. LOVE THIS and doing it. (outdoor enthusiasts, you’d love him if you’re not already following him – Brendan Leonard)
Here’s to the next decade,