Vision and goal setting is a big part of the culture at lululemon. Well it was when I worked there anyways, but It's been a few years since I've been gone. It was the biggest thing I took from my eight years there. Goals were front and centre. They were public domain that was shared with your Manager and posted on the foyer wall for all to read. Sharing them publicly allowed for people to support you in achieving them. Before I started at lulu, I can't say that I was a person that had ever set goals. I mean, there was stuff I wanted to do in life, but it was never written down. The concept of goal setting was foreign to my parents, so it wasn't something that they taught me growing up. The lululemon introduction to formalized goal setting changed that for me. I started to set small goals and I saw them come to life, like learning something new or saving up for something, like a vacation. I set larger than life goals too, like buying a house and getting the job I wanted, but remained skeptic that they would ever come to fruition. Those big goals seemed so far out of reach. The ironic part is that even with that air of skepticism, I did achieve them. In year 5, I did get THAT job and year 6, I did buy THAT house! Take it from me, there is power in goal setting. I realized that it opened up a world of possibility.
My ten year vision, on the other hand, seemed like a dream life that would always be out of reach.
My vision, written in 2007, reads like this...
It's a slow morning. I'm looking out over the beach. I can see my husband out in the surf and our kid playing with the dog on the beach. The coffee snob in me cherishes that I'm enjoying a freshly poured Americano. The coffee ritual complete, paired with eggs from my chickens and fruit plucked from my tree. I'm sitting on the veranda with a friend. I watch the palm trees sway beside me. I hear the waves slam against the shore. I feel the sunshine warm on my skin. I smell the sweet, tropical air. I imagine a simple life.
Of course this is just a snippet, this goes on for another 5 pages! It gets juicy. I've gone back to this vision again and again over the years. The details have become more elaborate, but it has never changed. I can still see, smell, taste, feel and hear it very clearly: probably more clearly in the last two years.
Setting a 10-year vision and the goals that support it allows you to create a clear picture of an ideal future and what it takes to get there. Jumping 10 years into the future inspires you to dream big because it removes the constraints of time, money and knowledge.
Let me take you back to August. It was about 3 weeks before my 40th birthday. Here I was single (wanh, wanh, wanh), in Squamish and dreading another dark, cold, rainy El Nino Winter spent alone. I'd had enough of commuting 2 hours every day. I was having a hard time finding work that really satisfied me, in the only industry I knew. Don't get me wrong, I liked where I worked, but that wasn't it. It was more about where I 'fit'. In this exploration, a colleague posed the question "What do you really want?" It was a question that stumped me. I had a hard time answering it. "Fuck, what did I REALLY want?" It forced me to make a list. I wrote down what made me happy. The last few years of adversity had taught me the importance of filling my life with the good stuff, the kind that makes your heart full, so that stuff was easy. In another section of the page I wrote down what I didn't want.
My condensed happy list looked like this:
- sunshine and warm air
- slow, simple living
- a bright, open residence with access to the outdoors
- a garden
- animals (yes, there's a good chance I'll end with a pack of dogs)
- a child
- a partner
- work that doesn't seem like work
- a strong sense of community, people around me
- time - I don't want to feel rushed
- a creative outlet
- a studio
- flip flops every day
When I started to read the list to myself, it brought me back to that ten year vision, still fresh in my brain. And then the realization hit. 2017 was just 2 years away. I only had 2 years to make that vision real, or at least get started on it. Waiting around wasn't going to do anything for me. I didn't want to regret that I had never put myself out there. I needed to mix up the formula. I need to switch this up.
I am writing this for you today, about to embark on a journey to fulfill that 10 year vision. And it is really happening. House is sold. Belongings are liquidated. Ticket is booked. Goodbyes are (almost) said. I want to be clear that I'm not looking to escape. NOTHING about this journey is an escape. 3 years ago it would have been an escape. I've chosen Central America for a couple reasons: 1) The sun. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an eternal summer girl. 2) I love the Latin surf culture. 3) The cost of living is lower, so my money will go further. 4) Life is simpler. Not sure yet exactly where I will land, but I've thrown my pin on Panama or Costa Rica, for now. While it may sound like I'm taking off to become a permanent beach bum, I'm not. As tempting as that may sound...
Now that I'm clear on the vision, I'm working backwards with the goals. I plan to map out everything that I want, so that the dream I have for myself becomes a reality.
Here's the awesome template that I used to map it out. Try it. This shit really works.