I’m in the middle of my own version of March Madness: 9 events in 8 cities over the first three weeks of this month. The last week I’ll be recovering on what I anticipate will be a very relaxing vacation.
March is a special month for me. I celebrate my birthday. I always hope to celebrate great Q1 results. And today, I’m celebrating five years on my entrepreneurial journey. It’s been a fun ride.
Five years ago I was dreaming about a month like this. At the insistence of my coach, I wrote out those dreams in a 5 Year Plan. The simple plan was intended to describe a “perfect day” in my life five years into the future. It was a powerful exercise and it prompted me to take very specific actions to get closer to my vision. A few months after I drafted that document, I walked out on the only job I’d ever known to start my first business.
I was recently reading a brilliant blog post from James Altucher on The Art of Reinventing Yourself. He shares that reinvention takes five years and describes the process this way:
Year One: You’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to DO.
Year Two: You know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re Doing every day. You finally know what the monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors.
Year Three: You’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet.
Year Four: You’re making a good living.
Year Five: You’re making wealth.
For me, that five-year process is spot on. Today, I consider my own attempt at reinvention the single best decision of my professional career. That’s primarily because of the people I’ve met and lessons I’ve learned along the way. We’re all living in a permanent state of reinvention and it pays to view change and challenge through the lens of opportunity. So often, our biggest breakthrough opportunities exist at the edge of our comfort zone and we just have to be willing to get uncomfortable. I didn’t always see the world this way, but I’m grateful for the shift in perspective. These days, I’m starting to get uncomfortable again and I know that’s a very good sign. Whether I succeed or fail, I’m always far better served by taking my next shot.
I review my first 5 Year Plan regularly, and I’ve come pretty close to accomplishing that original vision. I’m working hard on closing a few of the remaining gaps. I’m also in the process of working through a new vision. I know the next iteration of both the business and life I’m building is going to look different in five more years, and that’s exciting.
If you are reading this, thank you. You’re investing time and attention that is deeply appreciated. Five years wouldn’t have lasted five weeks without so many generous people supporting me. I’m lucky and grateful for it.
I included this thought in my original plan:
I realize that my 5 year vision includes being successful in life, not just work. I want to be healthy, happy and have great relationships with the people I love.
The truth is I want both. They aren’t mutually exclusive. One flows into the other. Being good at this work will help me live the kind of life I want to live.
Five years later, it still seems right.
Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.