“Where do you see yourself in five years?” Its one of those questions thats innocent on the surface but is hard to answer, especially in an interview setting. It makes you want the ground to just swallow you up. You barely know what your plans are for the weekend, let alone in five years time.
It feels like you don’t get a spare minute to work out a five year plan and if you’re like me, a complete avoider and procrastinator, its easier to just brush it under the carpet and “do it tomorrow“. Instead of vegging in front of the TV or checking Twitter, do it. DO IT NOW!
Stick the kettle on, have a bit of a think and follow the steps below. The results can be pretty enlightening.
Begin with the end in mind
Steven Convey in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People states that you should imagine what you would want people to say about you at your funeral. Okay thats morbid, so think of what kind of person you’d like to be in five years time. You’ll be in your mid to late twenties. Approaching thirty. Which just seems completely insane and you can barely imagine it. But five years is enough time to work through long term goals which take a lot of planning, such as buying a house. You’d need to have a stable job, save for a deposit, maybe even buy with a friend or partner. It all takes planning.
If you don’t know what you want or how to get there then this is the fun part, you can dream as big as you want. What does your ideal life look like? Your dream career, relationships, personal development, where do you see yourself living? Note down everything you see, just try to be realistic.
If you like making lists this is also quite fun. Subcategorise everything that you saw in your vision of yourself. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- What is your job title?
- Do you work for yourself or somebody else?
- How much are you earning?
- Where do you live?
- Do you own your own home?
- What does your house/apartment look like?
- Have you traveled?
- How many countries have you visited?
- Have you lived in another country?
- Have you learnt a new language?
- What skills have you learnt?
- What do you look like?
- Have you lost weight?
- Given up smoking?
- Will you be in a relationship?
- What do your circle of friends look like?
One idea is to open a Pinterest account and make a couple of boards to pin images that inspire you and would like to have in your life. This will make your goals a bit more tangible.
Make it measurable
Take your vision and turn it into a list of goals that can be measured. Your goals will be made up of small achievements, so what will you need to do to get there and how long will it take? Will you need a certain amount of money to meet your goals? How long will you have to save for? This makes sure that your goals are actually realistic. Each time you have a big goal, break it down and down until they’re tiny achievements you can make each day or week, you may find yourself moving very quickly through these achievements or maybe a bit more slowly than you expected, thats okay though you might just have to go back and revise some of your goals.
Now that you’ve finished, don’t leave it sitting in the corner until you have a clear out or sitting in a forgotten folder in the depths of your hard drive. While its important to be flexible with your career choices its also important to know where you ultimately want to be and to keep on revising your plan.