August 29, 2021

The rhapsody began as a purpose, not a plan


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

What an outdated, irrelevant and potentially dangerous question. This whole notion of deciding where we want to be in a decade, and then formulating some brilliant plan for getting there, that only works if our environment is unchanging.

Which it is not. Change is taking place everywhere at every moment. And not only with our surroundings, but with our identities too.

That’s the hard part about having a plan. We limit ourselves to today’s options. Instead of thinking beyond our current successes and constantly looking for compelling ways to create new ones, we continue to fool ourselves into believing there is a chance everything will go according to plan.

Consistency for consistency’s sake.

But where’s the adventure in that?

My twenties were all about having a plan. My professional life centered around a very particular career trajectory. The whole journey was mapped out on a whiteboard in my office. It was empowering.

But in my thirties, something occurred to me. Having a plan is less important than holding a purpose. Because a plan is simply a set of actions, whereas a purpose is a desired intention.

For example, my purpose statement is as follows:

I am creating a fulfilling life that is engaging and inspiring to myself and others, integrates all of my gifts, and provides me a sense of stability and freedom.

By holding that purpose in my heart, and committing to it every day, it frees me up to be flexible with my plans along the way. It keeps me nimble enough to stray from the plan when appropriate.

And it allows me to remake my set of actions as I grow and as the world changes.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? It’s a moot point. As long as that place is fulfilling, it’s good enough for me.

Is your plan trapping you into a box of your own making?