A personal vision is more important than a professional one. Stick with me here. If you don’t know how you want your life to look and feel how can your professional goals work to achieve that? I say this a lot-we are the same beings in all facets of our lives and each facet will affect the others.
How about an example?
Take a business owner who’s 23, single, and has no children. She envisions her life being very business-focused for the first 5-7 years so she has her company stable and making money by the time she turns 30. At that point, she’d like to find a partner and explore creating a family with pets and perhaps kiddos. At 40 she’d like a 4-day work week and her ultimate goal is to retire by 50 or 55. These are broad and may change but at least she can begin to work on the professional vision and goals that will support her personal vision-at least the first phase.
Does this really work?
Sure! The keys are to make it so your personal vision and professional strategy work together, not in isolation, and to reevaluate as needed-at least annually. When we take time to look at ourselves as whole people, then we can begin to understand how to make the facets of our lives connect and flow. If we treat the facets like silos, then it can feel like they’re pushing against each other.
For the business owner above, in her 20’s I’d suggest that she frequently check-in with a trusted partner quarterly to make sure she’s doesn’t feel burnt out with all that professional focus. Creating very specific, yet doable business goals around revenue, team growth, sales, and marketing are always important as they are the foundation for the next phase. If she doesn’t accomplish these goals, she may not be able to take a step back professionally to invest more in her personal life in her 30s. Plans often look better on paper plus we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish short-term and underestimate what we can achieve over the long haul.
Find a Workable Rhythm
Think about music. We enjoy a variety of songs and even styles. One morning we need upbeat and fast and in the afternoon something quieter. The next day, it may be all death metal. Thank goodness for playlists! Each song has it’s own rhythm but it compliments the next one because it’s a part of the playlist we created. This is a workable rhythm. Slight differences to keep us engaged and even big changes to match what we need. Stay off auto-pilot and change the playlist when it makes sense. Adjust strategies and goals along the way so your professional world supports your personal vision.