Where do you see yourself in five years? Ah, the cliché question about what your aspirations are to further your career, your business, your relationships, your...[INSERT HERE]. Some have a clear vision of exactly where they want to be, who they want to be, and/or who they want to be with. They have a clear understanding of what to do in order to get there and the sacrifices they must endure to make their five-year plan a reality. But, no doubt, they will face obstacles – both internal and external. For most of these obstacles, however, there is a map - one that life's cartographers, those who have explored these treacherous terrains before - have figured out. From online blogs to friends or family members, we have an endless supply of, for lack of a better term, "advice givers" - at our disposal when life throws us a curveball that disrupts our plan, there to get us back on track.
But, sometimes, we have to be our own best advice giver. Sometimes, those we trust to impart wisdom simply do not understand our vision - our plan. They try to speed up our five-year timeline. After all, they only want us to achieve our goals faster, right? What's the harm in that? Turns out, a lot. Sacrificing your plan, your process, your journey is something you should never do. Stay true to your vision! When this tantalizing temptation to win at all costs, as quickly as possible - achieved through inorganic, disingenuous short-cuts - takes control of your mindset, ironically, you lose. You must remember the necessary steps and building blocks embedded within your vision, and that the construction of your dream reality takes time.
But, trust me, I get it, the possibility of success now, rather than later is damn near impossible to resist...Yet, if you want to live a life without regret, do not place your vision second to any short-term wins. NOTE: If the short-term win aligns with your long-term vision, absolutely go for it! Long-term success inherently must include near-term achievements. What I am primarily choosing to focus on are those temptations to boost yourself up that are not in accordance with your vision, values, or long-term plan. If an opportunity arises that you know, deep down, will jeopardize your ideal reality, then I'd advise to think twice before succumbing to this proverbial forbidden fruit.
As co-founders of Helium, Ian and I are constantly evaluating our approach to growth. And, quite honestly, it is tough to figure out! While there are cartographers who have mapped out success stories and growth frameworks, there typically aren’t two landscapes that are the same – after all, our vision is clear and unique to us. So, how do we navigate the waters of growth, knowing that there exist strategies that align with our long-term plan, as well as those pieces of forbidden fruit? How do we know what’s best? How do we know the best way to transform our vision into reality? The short of it is, we don’t. We don’t have a crystal ball. We don't know which strategies will work best for us. But, we do know what we believe in. We do know what our vision is. At times, these are the only constants that we have – our lighthouse on stormy nights. Not to say we aren’t adaptable, nor are we too stubborn to change our methods. But, without this commitment to something, we would be but a leaf blowing in the wind, with no direction whatsoever. With the vision crystal clear, we're confident that, through enough trial and error, strong-willed focus on the long-term, and unwavering persistence, we will be positioned for genuine, lasting growth. Staying true to who we are will not only lead to fulfillment, it simply makes business sense.
++ (ASIDE: For a phenomenal book that backs up this line of thinking, order a copy of The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek!)
Ultimately, my advice is to stick to your guns. You are the one that best knows yourself, your career, your business, your...[INSERT HERE]. And, you best know how to get there! Believe in yourself and trust your process. Don’t sacrifice the vision for short-term unaligned wins. Allow yourself to struggle, all the while understanding that your vision will get you there. Be patient. The time it takes to realize your plan will only further your passion, with the added benefit of equipping you with the necessary tools for lasting success. Go on now. Stay true.