It’s the classic interview, annual review, personal development question. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Personally, I got pretty good at faking the answer. I mean, sure, I have some idea of where I want to be. But life. Life is so very unpredictable that I’ve learnt not to get attached to an ideal future. Because trying to plan a future, when there is so much we have no control over can be anxiety inducing and counter intuitive to progress. It can also leave us closed-minded and unable to identify opportunity.
Instead of where do I want to be, perhaps it makes more sense if we start asking, who do I want to be? What skills do you want to develop? What new things do you want to learn? What milestones do you want to reach? Because while we may have limited control over the where, we get full control over the who.
I’ve started answering the question like this; In truth, I don’t want to know, but I do want to be ready for it.
By surrendering ourselves to the reality of I don’t want to know, because I cannot know, the anxiety of potential failure resolves. What I do want to be sure of is that whatever happens, I will have the experience, skills, resilience and motivation to do amazing.
Where to start when considering who instead of where or what?
Consider people you admire. People in roles you would like to have. People whose success path is one that inspires you. What skills do these people have? What traits or experience or capabilities. Ask them. And develop a plan that focuses on attaining these attributes yourself.
For me right now, I am all about Richard Branson. His fearlessness, connection to peoples needs and his ability to recognize opportunity. That’s my big learning goals for 2020. To learn how to recognize opportunity and to have both the business acumen and bravery to pursue them.
Five years from now – where do I want to be? I don’t want to know, but I WILL be ready.