What's your 5-year goal?
Sorry. That was a trick question.
In our work as Corporate and Career Strategists, we earn a lot of our success by routinely surveying the landscape and staying at the top of our field in terms of emerging trends and best practices. We deliver "what's coming around the corner" insight to our clients in order to provide extraordinary value and best-in-class services.
What does that have to do with goals? 5-year goals are out; 1-year goals are in.
In the last decade, especially, technology (of all kinds) has increasingly facilitated rapid iterating in life and work. Faster access to information. Faster ways to connect with people. Faster means to develop skills. So, by the time you get a year into a 5-year plan, chances are that your circumstances and opportunities will have changed so significantly that your 5-year goal will already need retooling. Long term thinking is critical, but firm 5-year goals no longer make sense.
Here’s the rub, though. Because – thanks to technology – things are moving so quickly, it’s critical to reduce noise and increase focus. And what a cruel joke that those skills become more critical in a time when – again, thanks to technology – valueless distractions abound. All of this advancement in tech can be used for good, but it is also increasingly throwing people off their game, making them feel "less than" compared to others, and driving depression and anxiety within the global population.
Here are some tips for staying on track:
Never look back. You need to know where you're going and keep moving forward. With modern-day transparency, we all get a front row seat into the life of pretty much anyone. It's so tempting to be thrown off by what this or that person is doing (or is broadcasting they are doing, regardless of what they are actually doing). The problem is that this keeps you from doing and, ultimately, puts you behind. Rarely look side-to-side (only for quick "landscape checks") and never look back. When you're on purpose, it's much easier to not get caught up in the swirl of what others are doing.
Ask: What am I working toward?
Set your intention. Know what you want and need. In every situation. When you have a clear vision and sense of purpose, it’s easier to eliminate that which isn’t important.
Ask: What am I doing this for?
Focus. Uni-task = good. Multi-task = bad. Thankfully, in recent years multi-tasking has been exposed for the bad idea that it (usually) is. Study after study is finding that everything ultimately runs better when you focus on one thing at a time.
Ask: What do I need to do right now?