What’s Your 10 Year Vision?

Sometimes you just have to take a few minutes to to stop and check out where you are, where you’re going and where you want to be.

In honor of the beautiful weather on Wednesday, two of my best friends and I enjoyed an impromptu gathering at Chicago’s finest Mexican and margarita establishment (for those of you who live in Chicago, I’m sure you agree that Blue Agave is really something else). 

My friend Whitney just started a new job at an amazing company that is very focused on personal development for their employees.  As a requirement, each employee must fill out a detailed form which maps out their 10 year vision and goals in several categories.  The CEO of the company reads every single employee’s 10 year vision.

I could go on and on about how wonderful I think this is from a corporate perspective.  Since when does a huge company actually care about YOU, the front line employee, and where you want to go in your life?  And not only does the company care, the CEO cares!  I can only imagine how much more innovative the company is in serving their target market and creating better products because of these visions.  I’d guess that the employees have the highest level of job satisfaction, brand evangelism and retention because of this company’s value for individuality.

So naturally as we started sipping on our margaritas, we couldn’t help but talk about our ten year visions.  This activity was not hard for me in the least.  I quickly spouted off what I saw for myself in terms of my career, lifestyle, family, relationship, etc. 


Which is ironic, because I am not a planner AT ALL.  Like not even a little bit.  I function on the LTF operating system: work your butt off every single day, love what you do, family first and leave it to fate.  I feel that everything happens for a reason.  When I look back on past experiences, even those which were not pleasant, they always led me to a better place or where I am today.  You can argue with me on this one, but just remember that we all have a choice on how to see things.

Our other friend at the table was terrified by this activity.  The mere thought of it practically gave her an anxiety attack.  She is the biggest planner in our group of friends (you should have seen how mad she was at us during the Chicago marathon last year  because we didn’t have a plan!).  She didn’t want to write something down and then be disappointed if it didn’t turn out that way. 

I can tell you first hand that fate was good to her in foiling some of her earlier life plans (I’m sure we can ALL relate to this).   She is exactly where she should be, she is SO happy and she is living a completley different life than she would’ve expected when we met almost 10 years ago.

So maybe the lesson is to stop planning all together.  Or maybe we should set targets and understand that there are a thousand different ways to get to that target.  Or perhaps we should focus more on our top values and know that staying true to those values will lead us down the right path.  What do YOU think?

Am I the weird one here, or is this activity scary for a lot of people?  Do you believe in writing down a 10 year vision? 

For the young professionals out there who email me every day because they aren’t sure what type of career they want to pursue, I challenge you to sit down and try to fill out a 10 year vision for yourself.  It will be like weight lifting for your brain.  Fill it out as if you had no limits: money isn’t an issue and nor are other peoples’ judgements.  Take your college major out of the equation.  Write down your dream life and see what it reveals to you about where you are right now.

To prove that fate is good to us, I will share some of the amazing career stories I’ve received as part of my book research in a follow up post.  You would be shocked at where people started and where they are now in their lives.  All of the stories had much happier endings than where they began.

What’s your 10 year vision?

If you are up for the challenge, here are some of the things on the form Whitney sent us:

  • What is your ideal life in terms of: career, income, net worth, home(s), geography, lifestyle, health, family, relationship, education.
  • What are your top 3 values?  Some ideas listed are: entrepreneur, fun, passion, leadership, development, balance, diversity, family, recognition, integrity, legacy, patience, growth, achievement, creativity, knowledgeable, wealth, quality, courage.
  • If success is a combination of what you are good at, passion and how you make money, how would you describe each of the three categories of success for yourself?
  • Set some goals in each of the categories above once you determine a general vision.  These goals can be as specific or general as you want. 

My hope is that envisioning your ideal life in 10 years will serve as a map to get you there.  Maps aren’t always accurate, there are often many pit stops and unexpected detours along the way, but you can’t go anywhere unless you know where you are going.

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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