Last weekend I attended a New Leaders Council Institute retreat. I recently was selected as a fellow for this progressive leadership and professional development institute. I am already loving my involvement with NLC. Our first institute weekend was a retreat focused on life entrepreneurship. With a phenomenal facilitator, an amazing group of like-minded young professionals, and lots of thought-provoking reflections and activities, our retreat was everything I was hoping for. (Yes! Yes! Yes!)
One of my favorite activities was writing about our perfect day – ten years from now. I had never taken the time to do this or think about the manifestation of my goals in this way. We were encouraged to be as specific as possible and provide lots of detail to make our vision seem more real. (Quality goal setting and visioning stuff here, folks!)
I am really excited about what I created as part of this exercise. So much so that I’m sharing it with you! I’ll also provide some information about how you might do the same at the end of this post. (As I was writing, it seemed like a looser timeline might be more realistic – so I’m thinking about this in an 8 – 10 year context.) Anyway, without further adieu, my perfect day several years down the road. . .
My Perfect Day: In 8 -10 Years
I wake up around 7AM in our small but spacious London flat. I hop out of bed and do some light stretching. My partner is already up with the kids and I can hear them in the next room. As I stretch I think about how London feels like home after a little over two years living in this vibrant city. And, how I will be sad to leave soon but am excited to return back home to the states in time for our oldest to start first grade next fall.
After ten minutes of stretching, I go out to join the rest of my family in the living room where our two beautiful children, ages 3 and 5, are laughing and playing with their daddy. I give each a kiss and sit down with them all as they play.
After a little while, my man gets them dressed and ready for the day while I make breakfast - eggs and bacon for the family along with overnight oats and fruit. Right as we finish eating, our nanny, Lena, arrives to take our oldest off to kindergarten. I greet Lena in German and the kids are obviously excited that she's here.
Our nanny is an amazing, creative Turkish German woman who spends time with the little ones during the weekdays. We pay her well and feel like she's an extension of our family. Kindergarten is walking distance from our home and serves a diverse group of children. Our youngest also joins Lena and the three head out the door and make their way to kindergarten. Lena will return with the youngest after some quality play time in the park and watch her till early afternoon.
With the kids out of the house, my partner and I clear the breakfast dishes and then hop in the shower to start our day. Once dressed, we pop down the street to our favorite coffee shop. The owner greets us by name and presents us with the perfect cafe lattes. I take one sugar. He takes 4.
From the coffee shop we part ways. I return home to get some work done. It's Friday so I have a weekly Zumba class at noon and then lunch plans with a friend. I want to get all of my "taking care of business" matters complete by 11AM.
By now it's 9AM. I sit in my small office in our home. First, I check in with my shop in the US. I am doing mostly follow-up as I recently returned from a trip to the states where I spend several days checking in on the store, doing a few speaking engagements, and catching up with friends. I was pleased to find that my plus-size consignment shop was running quite smoothly. I spend a lot of time training the staff and it has clearly paid off. Even in my absence, they've been doing outstanding. Although it was hard for me to let go of most of the control, it's proven to be a great move. My two key managers have simply blown me away with their dedication and creativity. I feel like we've achieved my foundational business practice of "women supporting women” and I am not only proud of my shop but the values on which it’s founded.
I also finalize travel plans for two upcoming workshop engagements. Then, I brainstorm curriculum for a Women's Leadership Retreat that I'll be hosting in two months. 54 women have already signed up, so I am reworking several parts of the curriculum to accommodate the larger group.
Just before 11AM, I head off to Zumba. Before I go, I chat with Lena about her weekend plans and remind her about some yummy leftovers in the fridge that she and the 3 year old can enjoy for lunch.
The weather is cool but not cold. I just need a jacket in addition to my curve-hugging sports leggings and bright Nike tennis shoes. The walk to the tube is great. I love the fresh air and I’m entertained by the podcast I’m listening to. I get on the underground and arrive at my gym within 20 minutes. It's great to catch up with some of the other regulars at the gym. Zumba is amazing and I kill it - like usual – and stare my sexy self down in the mirror the whole time.
I shower at the gym and transform my previously sporty look into something effortlessly fabulous. I leave the gym and head off to meet a close London friend for lunch at one of our favorite spots. Other days of the week I have coaching clients in the afternoon. Some over the phone and a few in person. But, on Friday, I don't schedule any meetings. After lunch, I settle in at a coffee shop to read and journal.
Close to 4PM I head home. My husband has picked our oldest up at school and has relieved Lena of her duties. He's home chilling with the kids when I return. I get to preparing a nutritious and delicious dinner for us. We spend several hours as a family enjoying dinner, playing and reading with the kids, and ending with a family dance party. After we put the kids to bed, my man and I sit on the couch enjoying a drink and talking about the weekend ahead.
Tomorrow, we plan to take the kids to a community rally in the park and spend the first part of the day out and about as a family. Lena has graciously agreed to watch the kids tomorrow night so we can enjoy an evening out. Our conversation then wanders to our preliminary moving plans and excitements about being back in the states.
We watch a little crime drama TV and then head off to bed together. I feel happy, fulfilled, and complete – feelings that have slowly become more present as I have settled into my full and fabulous life.
Is this not the most fun!? Obviously my life may not be exactly like this in 8 years, but we know that the act of visualizing yourself after you have completed goals put you in a place where you're more likely to achieve them. That's one of the reasons why this activity is so powerful. Also, I wrote about things that I didn't realize were important to me - especially all of that that kid business! That's one of those "in the back of my mind" goals that I don't really think too much about.
Have you ever described your vision like this?
I encourage you to spend some time with an exercise like this! We had a whole weekend of reflection as we explored our strengths, passions, values, and purpose and this exercise was kind of a culmination of this. (Much of our training was based on the book Life Entrepreneurs which would be a great resource if you want some of the activities that lead up to this.) Even without the preceding activities, the act of writing out your perfect day can still be powerful.
In writing this, I have become even more motivated to map out my goals in a way that allows them to build and grow on each other. In the spirit of long-term goal setting and linking our shorter term goals to the longer ones, I'd like to share a recourse I've created that might help you do this!
This Goal Setting & Action Planning Resource is a simple way to write out a long term goal and then backtrackto list smaller goals along the way. There's also some room to start thinking about an action plan or the ways you will work to achieve each shorter term goal. This sheet totally reflects how my brain works! Use this resource if it's helpful to you!
Wow, I've sure been sharing a lot with y'all! Hope that in doing so it's helping you visualize what you want in your life and how you might get there!