We think about ‘5 Year Plans’ all wrong. Oftentimes this common question strikes panic in our hearts, because we feel like a specific job title is required for it all to make sense.
But instead, you need to start with a vision of what you want your LIFE to look like 5 years from now. Once you have a clearer sense of this vision and the right kind of options and the right way forward will follow.
How to craft your 5-year vision:
Pull out a pen and paper, or open up a new document on your computer, and simply write down what a typical week would look like in your ideal future.
This starts with a detailed description of a typical work day: What time do you wake up? Who's there? What do you do first? What does your morning routine look like? Where is work? If not at home, how do you get there? Who is there when you get there? What happens while you’re there? How is your time organized (lots of short bursts, periods of time of deep work, etc)? What kinds of tasks do you do? Whom do you do it with and for? When do you leave? What happens after work? And so on. Also, how do you spend your weekends?
It's likely not all clear to you today, and your vision may change with the new experiences and people that come into your life. You may feel at home with your creativity, or you may need to try a few things to get the juices flowing — sketching out a picture that represents your future, word mapping, brainstorming with a friend.
But get at least a few paragraphs down on paper that you feel good about when you read back to yourself. Use this narrative as your north star for today.
Once you do, you can consider the jobs and paths -- and the decisions or changes you could make -- that will get you as close as possible to this vision.