I Don’t Know Where I’ll Be In 5 Years (And I’m OK With It)
I write this letter as a response to Amanda Holstein’s ‘I Don’t Know Where I’ll Be In 5 Years (And I’m OK With It)’. I ask, as the original article asks, “where will you be in five years?”. In this article I’m seeking to help you come to terms with this question. It is a difficult one. Let’s do it by responding to Amanda’s interesting article:
I have indeed been asked, ‘where do want to be in five years?’, as have we all, and likewise, I dislike it. The question supposes that we already have a plan. Sure, I know broadly where I would like to be in five years, but I’ve been happily deluding myself, not finalising the specific stops before that destination. I like to think I’m getting on with it, but I’m not.
And so, often we answer this question literally, often derogatorily, “probably still working the same deadbeat job”. Sure, play down your aspirations. But play them down too much, and you’ll forget them yourself. You won’t take steps toward them. Readers, do you think I’m actually going where I want without a plan?
And so we do need a plan, you’re right Amanda. And, dear reader’s, I don’t know your plan, but I can tell you how write your own:
1. Find your endpoint.
2. Plan backwards, ending with where you are now.
3. Start with where you are now, work forward till you get to your endpoint.
Sound simple? It is brutally simple. And taken like this, unachievable. But, of course, this is only the skeleton. Fill in the detail as you progress along and this becomes a pretty reasonable plan to get to where you want to be. And if you think we’re too reductionist, check out the Wiki-How guide on how to write a five year plan.
When the plan gets too specific
So you know where you’re going? Phew, hard part done. Now, working out the step by step plan and then enacting it seems the only logical way forward. Plan it out, do it. It sounds so simple. However, with such a ridged response, we’re likely to disappoint ourselves when we fail to meet our goals. Disappointment leads to ‘falling off the wagon’ y’ all. We’re talking long-term here, and that means a flexible and reasonable set of achievable goals, we’re running a marathon after all.
“The Devil is in the Details”
I agree with you Amanda, when the plan gets too specific, we do set out on a path of disappointment. However, the devil is in the details m’girl. How’re we ever going to get where we’re going if we don’t set out on the path toward it? I’m talking more than an educated guess. If I fail to apply for the job I want, I should take a long hard look at why I failed. Self-analysis, and sometimes brutally honest reflection, is key to actual growth. I’m talking real change. And likewise, once I plan, I should stick to it. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t change that end-goal. Constant re-evaluation is key, without it comes disappointment. Be kind to yourself, but persevere, things will be hard, and you should be critical of yourself, but you can take it, and you’re going to get there.
Filling in the Details
So take it simply, and take small steps. Detail smaller and achievable smaller goals within them. Feeling like you’re actually progressing is a powerful incentive to keep going. Make lists, tick them off, then feel happy. Reward yourself when you’ve done something that’s actually of benefit. Keep at it, you’re only going to get there if you keep going.
And when you get stuck, move on, come back to that. Don’t ignore it completely, keep thinking over the problem and work toward its completion. If you stay to long on the impossible, nothing’s going to happen. Hitting a brick wall is only going to discourage you.
How I View My Future
Realistically, the question should be ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’. Phrased like this it asks you to estimate your current trajectory. And that’s a good thing. Is that where you want to be? Is this the route that you want to take to get there? What’s the point of getting to the stop if you end up stepping on everyone you love to get there? You’ll find the right path.
It’s important to make a plan tailored for you. Work around your health, your happiness, and find a snug fit. Try looking at what you want and working backwards. You still want to be happy in five years, you still want to be healthy, so don’t rush too fast down the path. And don’t sacrifice what keeps you going to get there; treasure your relationships, you still want friends in 5 years. But you want to be able to look back and to see your success, sotake direct steps forward.
I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years, and would it really be so much fun if I did? Would you like to know definitively where you’re going to be? Do your best to sit back and enjoy the ride. Take pleasure in savouring the details, and pick something specific from our menu.
Come by the salon and get your nails done. Talk to us as you do it, relish the experience of the finer things in life. Then look the best you can for the rest of your journey.