“The days are long but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin. Time (and hence, life) moves quicker than we realize. If we let life happen to us, we can look back and wonder, “What if?” or feel we let opportunity slip away. If we approach life with purpose and direction, we’re more likely to accomplish personal and professional aspirations. One of the best ways to do this is to have a clear plan that gives you direction, clarity of purpose and allows you to communicate with others what you aspire to achieve! To get started, create a five-year plan. Start at year five and work backwards, setting benchmarks by year or clearly defined goals.
Describe what success looks like.
- What talents and skills do you possess? How will you know and invest in your strengths? What exposure in your industry or organization do you believe is important?
- What relationships will you make?
- What’s the environment you seek?
- Define your ideal compensation goals and determine what’s realistic
o Know and invest in your strengths.
o Describe what experiences in your industry or organization you believe is important and realistic.
- What does fulfillment look and feel like?
Outline action steps to meet your goals.
These could be formal or informal continuing education experiences, applications for memberships or special programs, reading, networking activities and more.
Commit to review, reflection and accountability.
Our values and interests evolve and so should the five-year plan. Revisit it frequently – every 6 months if not more often. Each time you review your plan, think, “What can I do in the next month that will help me reach my goals?” and build those actions into your calendar and task list.
Evaluate what adjustments you should make. Whether due to the evolution of your interests, unforeseen opportunities (good or bad) or other factors, changing course is okay!
Create time for personal reflection and engage others to help you along the way. A personal board of directors is a great way to seek accountability, guidance and feedback.
Keep adding on
Just as it is okay to change your plan, don’t find yourself without one at the end of five years. If you’re staying on track to reach your goals, set new ones or look longer term.
The present is a gift not to be wasted.
Guest Blog Post by Nancy Barcus, COO – Agriculture Future of America