The Look-Ahead Challenge
by Stacey Rivers
An executive once told me that she takes a synopsis of her life every 10 years to reflect on what she has accomplished and what she wants to do over the next 10. I admired her tenacious approach to continual improvement and immediately wondered if this was something I could adopt. My personal goal is to export to reality the intelligent, savvy, engaging, thought-provoking, candid, confident, ambitious, eloquent, passionate and self-directed woman I aspire to be. I know who I want to become but the challenge is how do I get there? My colleague’s statements gave me the clue I needed to make a plan.
Instead of 10 years, I am targeting every 3 years to reflect on my accomplishments and goals. Using my birthday each year as a milestone, I will list out all the things I need and want to do whether personally or professionally. I will give those goals a timeframe based on complexity, assess my progress every couple of months, and adjust if needed. Yes, this is the project manager in me, but find your own approach, as long as you get started! When I arrive at my 3 year mile marker, then the big review will take place with fresh goals to add to the list. After committing to my plan, the progress I made within two months was very encouraging. There’s something divine about writing out your thoughts…
Interesting enough, after writing my goals, change started to manifest in a way that makes me believe that I subconsciously take this list with me and my actions start to align automatically. Ok some things (like working out consistently) are still a challenge, but I am making the effort. I allow my self to start over or reset if I don’t stay on schedule, but most importantly, I keep going and don’t let discouragement paralyze me into inaction. I enlisted one of my friends and made her my accountability partner (I also challenged her to write down her goals too). This strategy gives me someone to share and celebrate with, and she is good for my self-esteem!
I have always believed that it is easier to impose change on yourself than to allow life to impose change on you. People generally resist change, so this was my approach to challenge myself out of mediocrity and use change as a vehicle to a more fulfilling future. Looking ahead allows me to thoughtfully take a candid look at my life and determine the direction I want to go in. While this is not a foolproof method, it does give me a sense of ownership for the quality of life I want to materialize. Take “The Look-Ahead Challenge” for yourself, it’s not easy, but it’s time well spent designing your life!
Need motivation? Check this out- Where will you be at 75?
Stacey Rivers is the Director of Technical Project Management at Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. where she leads a Project Management Office (PMO) for a technical organization. Stacey has a B.S. in Technology Management and an M.S. in Management with a focus on Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness. She has served on the Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Southeast Board for 4 years, Turner Toastmasters for 5 years, and other professional boards.