Archive for category Thinking Thursdays

Forget a 5-Year Plan.

How many times have you heard this question: “What will you be doing 5 years from now?” Yeah. If you are like me,  you probably just cringed when you read that.
We live in a constant state of panic about our future. Parents want to know about our five-year plans, future employers want to know where we see ourselves five years from now, and even friends will demand that you play the “5 Year Game” with them too.

And if you are one of many young professionals that really have no clue about what your 5 year plan is, then this question can be a major source of stress. After all, shouldn’t you have an answer?

Nope.

I think it’s okay not to know what your 5 year game plan is.  Hell, five years is a long time. And a lot can happen in five years.  If you are one of those people who need a plan, don’t skewer yourself if you find yourself straying off course.  It happens.

For the rest of us who are more free-spirited, I have a compromise: The 5 month plan. Thinking about your life in 5 month increments works for several reasons:

5 months is a short enough amount of time to make you feel like you are planning for your future without forsaking happiness in the present.
Think about it.  What can you accomplish in 5 months?  In that short amount of time, you can take a class in a subject you have always been interested in. It’s enough time to do research about a new career field. It’s enough time to plan and save for a trip for personal rejuvenation. It’s enough time to start a new hobby.

Most of us are not about to experience a life-changing event in 5 months (marriage, or childbirth),so it’s enough time to just plan your future without factoring in major life events.
Eventually a time might come when your future will include a significant other and little dependents, but for most of us, that time is not NOW. Why work yourself up over worrying about whether Ms./Mr. Right will pop up in the next 5 years? Plan your life for you right now, and factor in the things you enjoy doing, or the goals that you want to accomplish before you have to think of the needs of others.  And who knows, that art class you decide to take in the next 5 months, might be where you meet your new boo!

Your accomplishments in the next 5 months can give you some insight into what you might be interested in pursuing in the future.
Think for a second about the last time you accomplished a goal. How did it make you feel? If a huge smile just erupted across your face, I’m with you. Accomplishing a goal feels good! It is an amazing feeling to you achieved what you set out to do. This does not have to be a fleeting feeling. It can happen again, and again. Five months is enough time to make sure you can taste that rush of accomplishment again. Let’s say you do join that art class. Five months from now, you will know something about yourself: Either you are really into art, or you are not. You will know that you have the guts to try something new. If art turns out not to be your thing, try another subject you have been curious about. If you find out you love art, take the next class. Hmm… suddenly it looks like you have a 10 month plan.

In the next 5 months I will be planning my first trip West (Portland here I come!)  I just started a creative writing class, so that will keep me busy for the next 3 months. And this weekend I am moving to a cheaper apartment so I can save money for more travel.

What do your next five months look like?

Happy Friday!

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The Art of Trying Something New

*Note: I wrote this post last night at I was coming home on the subway.

A few months ago I wrote a post about the power of trying something new. Well, tonight I did something I have been dying to do since I touched down in Manhattan two years ago.

I took a creative writing class.

I spend a lot of time writing for my 9-to-5, but none of it is creative. It’s all a lot of fact-based writing. I enjoy it, but I miss being creative.

Tonight I got to create my own world.  We did several writing exercises:  I got to write one truth and a lie (then have my classmates guess which was which). I wrote  a short essay about what I hate (cilantro). Then I got to write a piece about an invention of my own creation ( a language interpretation device).

I loved making up stories just because and not having to double-check names because I made up the damn names!

Tonight was awesome. It was freeing. It was powerful. And you know why?

Because I actually DID something.

I’ve asked you all before, and I’m asking again, What’s on your “try” list? Do you have any plans to try something new this year?

Go forth and be fab.
Everyone in NYC is familiar with the ubiquitous yellow, Gotham Writers workshop fliers pasted all over the city.

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The YEAR without FEAR


I read a lot of blogs and books that fall into this genre loosely defined as “lifestyle design.” Of all the topics they cover ( 9-5 escape tactics, traveling, ect.), I’ve noticed that subject matter about “fear” or getting past “fear” rather, seems to be the most prevalent.

I’m inspired to wonder, what is it that we fear so much? What exactly are we afraid of? What is your fear?

Personally, I am terrified of putting myself out there. I’ve never been comfortable really telling people all the things I want to happen in my life. Part of that is because I know you have to guard your dreams, but a big chunk of my feelings come from not wanting to disappoint anyone. How crazy is that? So caught up in worrying about disappointing others that I willingly disappoint myself.

I’m sick of feeling this way, of choking on my aspirations. I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in giving every year a theme. So, this is what I’m doing about it-and I would love you to join me.

I’m declaring 2011 as “The Year To Step Through The Fear”

Notice I said step through, not get over. Key difference.  I think “getting over” the fear comes in time after plenty of practice of stepping through.  You can’t get over anything automatically, or overnight. But you can take one step. Then take another step. Keep on steppin’.

This year I plan on doing the things that terrify me-both professionally and personally.  If it scares me, then that means I need to do it. Wholeheartedly.

Let’s do it.

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