Do you remember when you were a kid what you wanted to be when you grew up? For me, first I wanted to be a truck driver. Then it was a bull rider – I wore boots, jeans, and a cowboy hat to pre-school, kindergarten, and throughout elementary school. I held my own real-life rodeos with the help of my dog. Then it was an astronaut. I had a poster of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins from the 1969 Apollo 11 space flight and the moon landing. I also wanted to be a veterinarian, an anesthesiologist, and the President of the United States just to name a few more. Luckily, my parents, like so many others, encouraged me to do and be whatever I wanted.
When we are young we are encouraged to explore, learn new things, and be creative. But eventually, that freedom fades as we grow older. Eventually, we’re expected to bear the normal responsibilities of working a steady job, traditional retirement planning, raising a family, and so on. We quit encouraging people to explore and learn new things way too early in life. At 18 years old you’re expected to know what you want to do for a career when just 2 years ago you couldn’t even drive yourself to a job. Before we know it, we’re slapped with the responsibilities of life, and all that room for being creative quickly disappears.
“Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.” – Paula Poundstone
You can live your life however you want. Anything you can imagine is possible. You must first imagine that. This is your vision. Your vision is the big picture. It’s the framework for goals and actions. You vision outlines who you want to be, how you want to live your life, and what values you have. Your vision will be your reasons why you wake up every day and pursue your goals. Your vision is what you strive for.
The more specific you can make your vision, the better. A vision to simply “be wealthy” or “be happy” isn’t enough. Be specific. Use emotionally charged language about how you will feel. Most importantly, write it down. It’s ok if you don’t know exactly what your vision is just yet. Writing it down will help you turn your thoughts into words, and then turn those words into actions. Your vision will probably change over time too. Think big with your vision. Remember, people, overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in a decade. Look at New Year’s resolutions for example. People set lofty goals only to give up by the time February rolls around.
A lot can change in 5 years, 10 years, and so on. 5 years doesn’t seem like that long of a time, right? But think back 5 years ago to a point in your life. Look at how much has changed for you since then. I’m sure you’ve grown, learned and experienced new things, and are capable of more now. Your interests, hobbies, priorities, and responsibilities have probably changed some too.
One thing is certain: whether you changed (for the better or worse) or not, those 5 years have passed. And the next 5 years will pass.
“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” – Jim Rohn
You owe it to not only yourself but to the other people in your life, to be the best version of you. That’s all – just be the best person you can be. Anything less is wasting your potential, and well, there isn’t anything more you can do.
Your vision serves as a purpose for you to live intentionally. Living intentionally means you make conscious decisions to living your life how you want. As we all know, it can be easy to get caught up in everyday life, being reactive to the things that come our way. If life is a pinball machine, you can either be the pinball being bounced around, or you can be the paddles. Which do you want to be?
If you don’t know EXACTLY who you want to be and what you want to be doing in 5 years, you’re already doing it.” – Tom Bilyeu
Who will you be in 5 years? What will you be doing? The answer should align with your vision. Let’s look at how you can create your vision, and then build some goals to achieve that vision.
Step 1. Create your vision. Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- Who do you want to spend your time with?
- How do you want to live your life?
- Who do you want to help?
- How will you feel when you are living out that vision?
Step 2. Set 10X goals. This exercise comes from The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. Set goals 10X more than you think you can achieve. Remember, you probably underestimate what you can do in a decade, so shoot for the stars.
Step 3. Break those 10X goals into 10-year, 5-year, 3-year, and 1-year goals. I know, this sounds like a lot. But you’re really just creating stepping stones to achieve those 10X goals. These intermediate to long term goals help keep you accountable to yourself.
Step 4. Break your 1-year goals down into 12-week goals. Remember, we can’t leave ourselves to 1-year goals. Remember how successful we tend to be with New Year’s resolutions? Me too. That’s why we need a more frequent reminder of our progress. This 12-week goal is inspired and created by Brian Moran in his book, The Twelve Week Year. Brian outlines some compelling reasons why breaking down goals and actions into 12 weeks periods produces better results than operating on a 12 month year. 12 weeks allows you enough time to accomplish large goals, but it is compressed so as not to give you time to procrastinate. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say your goal is to lose 20 lbs. If your goal is to lose 20 lbs this year, starting January 1st, you know that you have 12 months to accomplish this. You can have that cheeseburger and milkshake in February, knowing you have 10 more months to recover and get back on track. But rather, if your goal is to lose 20 lbs. in 12 weeks, that’s a little more than 1.5 lbs per week you have to lose. No room for milkshakes there. But Brian goes even further with the 12 week year to outline weekly action plans. You track your leading and lagging measures to understand how you are tracking and then project your results. This is a hyperfocused approach to achieving your goals.
Backing up to our 30,000 ft. view and reviewing our 10X goals – let’s look at something. Let’s say one of your 10X goals is to earn $1M per year in passive and/or business income 10 years from now. Without intermediate and short term goals, you could easily procrastinate that goal this entire year, making no progress towards it. But that’s ok, you still have 9 years left, which seems like forever away, right? Wrong. If you’re not taking steps every day to get you towards that goal, then how do you expect to accomplish such a large feat?
To summarize these steps – start with your vision. This anchors your goals. Then set 10X goals, and break those down into 10, 5, 3, 1, and 12 week goals. Tailor this approach how you want. Maybe you only make 10, 5, and 1-year goals. It’s up to you. The more specific you get, the more specific you can plan.
Life the Life You Want
You can choose to either live the life you want and create for yourself or live the life someone else creates for you. Your vision, reasons why, and goals are simply the tools you use to create that life. Your ideal life won’t happen accidentally. You’ll have to create it.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
So what do you want to accomplish in your life? What legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want to think about when you’re old and reflecting on all the things you did and didn’t do in life?
Spend some time thinking about these things. You’ll come up with all sorts of ideas, thoughts, feelings, and you can use these to help start building a life you want now. No matter who you are, where you’re at in life, or what you have or haven’t accomplished so far, you are capable of creating any life you want. All you have to do is figure out what that is and do it.
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The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone
The Twelve Week Year by Brian Moran
The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book by Joe Fairless