Far too often people just trudge through life and work with no framework to evaluate if what they’re doing makes them happy or gets them to where they want to go. And at the end of their days, they look back in frustration at life’s missed opportunities for meaning.
To avoid that happening to you, here’s a simple but powerful framework you can use to evaluate whether you’re running in place on a treadmill or running outdoors with a meaningful destination in mind.
1) Understand where you’ve been.
Reflect on your past experiences and ask yourself, what mistakes did you make? What did you learn? How has your past shaped you into the person you are today?
2) Understand where you are now.
Reflect on your current state. From a work standpoint, are you engaged and on top of your game or stuck and just going through the motions? Outside of the office, how’s your family life? Your health? Your relationships? Your faith?
3) Understand where you are on track to be.
Project what your career and personal life will look like 5 years from now if you continue on your current path. Will that trajectory please you?
4) Understand where you desire to be.
This is the hard part. You need to figure out both professionally and personally where you want to be in your ideal future.
The best way to start this process is to take out your favorite writing instrument and a pad of paper and start writing. Write your thoughts on each of the four dimensions above. Don’t hold back, let it flow and scribble if you need to. Nobody needs to see this except you.
Now, look at your thoughts on dimensions 3 and 4. Draw a line for each of them that represents the trajectory you’re on as shown in this image.
Notice how it shows that as time goes on, your gap gets wider. What may seem like a small gap over the next 12 months could be a huge gap over the next 5 years. That’s why it’s critical to get started now on closing it.
Make the commitment now to close the gap.
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