Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in a decade.
Well, it’s that time of year. The beginning, a fresh start. And everyone is talking to you about setting goals, and the 12 week year, and yearly planning. And those aren’t bad things – in fact, I do them too, to help keep me on track. But if you think that’s all there is – you’re missing the most vital piece of the puzzle. The long view.
As entrepreneurs, we always have to keep the long view in mind. Don’t let yourself get stuck in the weeds of this quarter’s objectives, or that month’s goals or the target for the year. Sure, those things are important, but you have to remember they’re just stepping stones to the larger vision. (And by the way, if they aren’t, then you have a bit more work to do). You have to always remember what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish.
Yes, we need the short term goals to help guide us through our to do list. But as I said at the top of this episode, you’re going to overestimate what you can get done in a year. That means you might find yourself struggling to meet those goals, and in fact, you may miss one or two. But that doesn’t mean you should let that deflate you, or stop you dead in your tracks.
Just think back to 10 years ago. That’s right, get in the time machine and remember yourself in 2012. Where were you. What were you doing as a career. Had you even started your entrepreneurial life yet. And if you had, where was your business then. Who were your clients, what did your team look like. Did you even have a team. Were you even considering getting a team?
Don’t just guess at it, I want you to pull out your journals if you have them, and look at your calendar. What appointments or meetings were you attending. What was taking up your time. What was your focus. And most importantly – what was your vision for the business in the next 10 years.
I’ll bet that you‘ve accomplished far more than you planned for 10 years ago. That your business has grown and expanded in ways you never even considered at the time.
Again, that’s because we underestimate what we can get done in a decade. Work for the you, 10 years from now – what does she want, what does she look like, how is she spending her time. Really take the time to feel what she feels, to see through her eyes. When you can do that, then you won’t let one day get in the way of your year – or one year get in the way of your ultimate vision.
Listen, everything isn’t going to go as planned. There will be setbacks, down days, months and maybe even years. You’re going to feel like you’re trying to push water uphill sometimes. But just remember, when or if you get stuck, just move on to the next thing – sometimes you don’t need to go in order. The important part is sticking with it.
“… we underestimate what we can get done in a decade. Work for the you, 10 years from now – what does she want, what does she look like, how is she spending her time.“
It’s always going to be about consistency – because consistency allows you to build on that foundation, and it compounds your success. Each step you consistently take opens a gateway to the next step, and bonus – you get better at the thing.
Let’s say you want a thriving YouTube channel. So, you learn how to get started; you do the research on niches and topics; you learn how to craft scripts. Then you teach yourself how to edit. And then you find that as you do consistent content, you’re actually getting better at speaking to camera.
Oh, and by the way – your editing also improves, and you find yourself trying new techniques.
Then you realize those techniques can be really valuable in helping you craft online courses; and once you have a few courses under your belt, you decide to put an Academy together.
Next you find you have to support the Academy, and soon it’s grown into a new education division for your company.
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Why do I know how this goes – because that’s exactly what’s happening for me right now.
And 2 years ago, I had no idea we would be expanding the business in this direction.
And who knows where it will be in another 8 or 10 years. I firmly believe that our Big Vision for our media and education division will not only be realized, but will be larger and farther along than I ever dreamt.
See what I mean – consistently producing content has compounded our success, and lead us in directions we hadn’t even considered.
And that’s why I say – yes, absolutely set goals, and work to achieve them. But always keep the long view in sight. And in fact, revisit it often – I would say at least quarterly. And when you do, make it real – use all your senses to put you right IN it, feel it, taste it, touch it.
The little trick I use is finding a video or other visual that resonates with my long term vision, and putting it where I can see it daily. Now I know that sounds like some sort of vision board -but the trick is to make it a living reference.
So each quarter, I find new visuals and switch them out. It keeps everything fresh in my brain, and forces me to do a deep dive (at least quarterly) into remembering what my long term vision actually is.
So – while everyone around you is setting goals for the new year. Take a step back, and refresh and revisit your long-range vision for your future. Where are you trying to go.
And yes, go ahead and set goals for the year, and quarters and months. But just don’t lose sight of the big picture. That’s where you’re headed – the other is just a rest stop along the way.