Debbie Millman, designer, visionary, and by all accounts all-round top lady, told me (through the power of podcasts) to spend some time writing down my ten-year goals. Actually, she recommends 10-year goals to young people. For those my age, she suggests we go for 5-year goals! She highly recommends spending some time, even a few hours, handwriting a detailed description of what our best life looks like in 5 or ten years.

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She started teaching the course years ago and says it only really became apparent that it really worked at around the 10-year point when some of those previous students began writing to tell her how incredibly similar their lives were to those detailed descriptions they had written all those years before.

Be really specific with the details. Where do you live, who lives there with you? Who are your neighbors? What work are you doing? What are you wearing? Eating? Hobbies? Health? Travel? Charity? How is your life positively impacting your world? They say the ‘devil is in the details’ but in this case, I think it’s really heaven! The power of the process is in how specific you are.

Now I am no stranger to goal setting and I have had career and personal success, but have never been so detailed before. Initially, I scribbled out a few paragraphs, detailing a few things that sounded like what I would want my life to look like in a few years. Following the instructions, I re-read that couple of paragraphs every few days. I loved the part about my marriage, my son’s happiness, our health, my writing, the career-changing study, the great house on the hill near the local beach that all our friends and family can visit. I saw it all in great detail but there was one thing that didn’t fit. My visual art-making. The thing that I felt should have been central to my future success felt like an awkward addition, like the alcoholic second-cousin you don’t know how to seat at a wedding.

As I wrote yesterday, it took a few weeks of wrestling with the idea, but I have decided to put aside my visual art-making and kiss it goodbye as both my principal area of self-expression and my business. So now I have re-written my 5-year goals and they feel…right. I feel comfortable the way I didn’t a few weeks ago.

Have a go. If you’re under thirty you can get away with ten-year goals but if you’re of a certain age, like me, go for 5 years and Make it Happen. I’ll be right there with you!

***

Here’s a great podcast to listen to. Debbie and Tim Ferris talk about design, goal-setting and how to deal with…gulp…rejection.

Go write something!

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