I believe that the pandemic has given individuals the freedom to look at their priorities and goals more objectively. Some of the underlying assumptions have been tested and reframed because of these circumstances.
Rather than getting hung up on a long-term plan, I suggest that individuals set their intentions and then create short-sprint plans toward that vision. By intention, I mean, what is the life you are striving to build and why is it important to you? As an example, let’s say your intention is to have financial independence, control over your schedule, and the freedom to travel.
The first step, then, might be to brainstorm all of the ways in which you might accomplish this intention of financial independence, control over your schedule, and the freedom to travel. With all of those options in front of you, you need to determine which to follow. I suggest asking yourself which are you drawn to? Which excites you? Which scares you a bit?
Let’s imagine that, in looking at the ideas, you have decided that the way to realize these intentions is to launch your own business. The next step is to think about what you might accomplish that will move you in that direction. I call these sprints. A first sprint (typically 12 weeks in nature) might include things like:
– Clarifying what your business niche is (What do you want to do? Where do your expertise and interests intersect?)
– Understanding the different types of business structures (Do you know what running a business entails? Do you understand the barriers to entry in your particular industry?)
– Understanding the competitive landscape (Who else is doing this? How does your offering differ?)
At the end of this first sprint, you may determine that this industry is simply too competitive and the margins too narrow for you to achieve your intentions. Or, you may decide that you don’t want the headache of actually running your own business.
That sprint has not been a waste of time, it has given you valuable insight that allows you to course-correct while still keeping your eye on the prize (your intentions). Additionally, you may have made connections or identified resources that will become the foundation for your next sprint. Remember, the intention was not to start a business, it was to achieve financial independence, control over your schedule, and the freedom to travel. Take what you’ve learned from this sprint and go back to the drawing board.