Missing Annual Goals

If you’re like me, you take some time at the end of a year to reflect back on what you accomplished — or didn’t. (It’s my Creative Pioneer voice combination that struggles to believe that anything can be “good enough.”)


A few years ago, I heard a leader give a talk, and in it, he said,

“We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year, and we underestimate what we can do in 10.”


I had heard something like this before, but this time, it really stuck with me. (I’ve done some quick research, and it seems hard to attribute this quote to one person. There are several versions of it dating back to the mid-50’s.)


The Test

So I decided to put it to the test. I looked back across the previous year, and I made note of the things I had wanted to accomplish. Then I compared that list to what I actually got done. I didn’t feel good about it at all because there were some personal goals I didn’t achieve.


But then I looked back across the last decade. That time period included a career change (not just a job change), the hardest and most rewarding work I had ever done, incredible things in my family, a ton of new skills, and a lot of lives that I had impacted. It was really kind of sobering and humbling. The past decade had been one in which I had accomplished things I had never dreamed of. And I had become a completely different person – and better.


Personal Mission Statement

This reminded me of a personal mission statement I had done for myself about six years earlier. I had gone through a three-year period of self-discovery to know myself better, and to make better career choices in the future. I summarized my personality traits, my key strengths, my passions and my preferred work environment. From there, I created a statement that pulled it all together in what I wanted to accomplish across the length of the rest of my life.

When I remembered that exercise, I reviewed the one-page document. It was incredible how many of my accomplishments in the past decade were rooted in that mission statement. In a conversation later that year, it came up with my oldest daughter. When I shared it with her, her first reaction was, “I had no idea that you were living your life so intentionally!” Just committing that personal mission statement to paper had subconsciously guided my entire life.


That was the year that I resolved to put fewer items on my one-year resolution list, and more (and bigger) items on my ten-year vision for myself. I decided to focus on 1-3 really important things each year. These would be skills, projects or accomplishments that could take me in new directions. They may not be the destination, but they would be one step in the direction of a bigger destination.


The Ten-Year Vision

For my ten-year vision, I began to think about the kind of person I wanted to become. I began to think about the kind of work I would love to do – and be good at. I began to think about how I wanted to be known by my family and my co-workers. Then I begin to write that picture of my future life in my journal.


To this day, that vision guides how I invest my time with my family. It guides the kind of business I am building. It guides how I do my work with our clients.


So take the pressure off yourself to accomplish a big list of resolutions this next year. Look back at what you’ve accomplished in the last ten years. Let’s get focused on a few items this next year that could move us in a better direction. And let’s get ready to be amazed at what we accomplish in the next decade.

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Want help creating a personal mission statement or getting on track for your ten-year vision? Reach out to us to schedule a call to talk about one of our coaching programs or courses.

Micah Ray

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