Four steps to creating your one year vision
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? A better question, says Jenny Blake in Pivot, is to think about where you’d like to be in a year’s time. In our rapidly changing world, technology means what we will be doing in five years might not even exist yet. And even if we you were to set yourself a five year goal... would you be ambitious enough?
A one year timeframe, she says, is an easier period to focus on. Even if your plan might take longer overall - where along that path would you like to be in one year?. How would you like your life to look like over the next year?
Developing a vision for what you want your life to look like in a year’s time is an important first step. A couple of things to bear in mind before you start on the exercise:
1) Avoid going into the ‘how’ straight away. If it’s a bold enough plan, it's likely to be a little bit scary. And that means that the rational, logical part of your brain is likely to spiral into panic mode thinking about all the potential steps involved... meaning you risk getting stuck. Park the 'hows' for a moment and instead enjoy being in creative, left-brain territory.
2) Try to focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t. It’s more motivating to move towards something than dwelling on negatives.
1. Start broad, then narrow down
Coming up with a one-year vision for your career change can be intimidating. The easiest approach is often to start as broad as possible, and then narrow down.
If you have no idea what you would like to be in a year, then make a guess, even if you don’t know specifics yet. It’s important to start somewhere, and you may be surprised (if you discuss your ideas with others) how how unique your vision is.
Some examples of elements of a broad, one-year vision are:
Do work that makes me excited to get out of bed every day
Work with inspiring, engaging colleagues
Feel like I am making an impact
Do work in nature
Live and work in a certain city or country
Once you have come up with your broad vision, try to get more specific about each item. What is it that makes you excited to get out of bed every day? On whom or what do you want to make an impact – within a company, on your local community, on the environment?
Ultimately, says Jenny Blake, your vision should become ‘so riveting that the thought sends a rush of adrenaline through your body and gets your idea synapses firing’.
2. Give, receive, achieve
The next step in building a one year vision is to define success a year from now. Jenny Blake has a “give, receive, achieve” framework, which goes as follows…
Give: Impact on others
What impact do you want to have on your family and friends? On your local community? On the global community?
What types of information and resources are you most excited to share with others?
If you were invited to speak at TED, and you knew your talk would go viral and be seen by at least one million people, what message would you send?
Receive: What you want to experience
What result will your contributions to friends, family and society have on your own life?
What major life experiences, work or personal, are most exciting to you? How do you want to feel on a daily basis while pursuing them? Who do you want to meet?
Take a look at your bookshelf, Kindle, blog or podcast subscriptions. What these stand out? When you go into a bookstore, which sections do you beeline towards, and what does that say about you?
Achieve: specific results
What does success look like one or two years from now? What will be happening in your life and work?
What are your metrics for measuring financial or professional success?
What achievements will show that you are having the impact that you seek?
Imagine an awards ceremony in your honour. What organisation is giving the award, and for what re you being recognised?
3. Unusual but exciting careers
What are your unusual but exciting careers? If you could try any career, what would they be? If time, money, skills or judgement from others wasn’t an issue, what careers might you try? See if you can come up with a list. These could be as diverse as professional clown, farmhand, hot air balloonist. They don't have to be realistic. And now look over your list. Are there any themes which come up which you could add in to your one year vision?
4. One year vision statement
Now that you’ve defined a lot of elements, it’s time to form your one year vision statement.
Imagine that it’s a year from today, and you have achieved your definition of success. Write a paragraph in the present tense setting out what you are doing, how you are feeling and what you are proud of.
Jenny Blake also recommends identifying which elements of your vision are in your life at the moment – if only in a very small way. This helps you feel like you're already building towards your vision, rather than it being something ‘out there’ and out of reach. So, for example, if your vision involves more time working with people, think about your current interactions, and see them as stepping stones towards your vision.
The last part exercise is to reflect on where you want to be in a year’s time and note down:
the things that you know about it – your knows
the things that you’re less sure about – your unknowns
...and for these, what your best guess might be
You always need to know where you are going for a successful journey, and your one year vision gives you the destination you can work towards. Don’t expect these exercises to give you a definitive answer - ‘do these and you’ll have your dream career!’. But writing things down can help to bring clarity, and help you to identify what you would like to explore next.