In 5 Years You’ll Be…

by

Wrong. You won’t know where you’ll be in 5 years, so stop worrying so much about it.

Often people ask me where do I want to be in 3 or 5 years and I consistently tell them, “I hope I am still living intentionally.”

It’s stressful to think of this illusionary point that we – or our companies – want to reach at some day in the future. It’s so easy for the weight of this imaginary destination to render us powerless in what we have to do today.

5 years ago I was unemployed, living in California racking up debt trying to figure out how I was going to get a job. Where did I want to be in 5 years? Working for some sustainability company having gotten a masters degree in some sort of earth science or international policy.

I most certainly didn’t think I’d be sitting by a pool in Nicaragua (Photo above), awaiting the arrival of 6 people as I co-lead for the first ever Ignition Lab.

Think back to 5 years ago in your life.

  • If someone asked you then, where do you want to be in 5 years, what was your answer?
  • Does that answer look anything like where you are now? Why or why not?
  • If your life doesn’t look like that wish, do you think you’d be happier if you had reached this mythical point half a decade in the future? How do you know that?
  • If your life does look like that wish, do you feel fulfilled right now? Why or why not?
  • What would you tell this 5-years-in-the-past version of yourself if you could right now?

Realize that in 5 years you’re going to be someone different than you are today, with different motivations, expectations and desires.

So you can only go forth with the tool set you have today.

In 5 years it won’t matter what your exact employ is or what timezone you rest your head at night. What will matter is if you are still the kind of person you hoped you would be. What kind of drive do you have? Are you growing in knowledge? Are you supportive, empathetic and curious? Are you living with some sort of purpose?

Don’t stress too much about where you think you want to be in 5 years; instead, point your ship in a cardinal direction that parallels your character, skills and interests, and take action on where you want to be tomorrow, next week or next month.

Rinse and Repeat.

5 years will take care of itself in ways you can’t ever predict.

So, what do you want to get done today?