Alan Weiss recently wrote this:
You are not your “terminal self” right now. That is, the person you are today is not the person you’ll be in a year. Is the person you were last year the same person you are today? We change, become new people. This isn’t the cliché about throwing baggage off the train, it’s about taking an entirely new train with new baggage. Think of the person you want to be in a year or two. Plan around that future, a moving target. The person you are today will disappear, which is good. Every day we write another page in the autobiography of our lives. If the pages repeat, we’re boring, and a story no one wants to read.
The person who will accomplish your long-term goals is not the person you are now looking at in the mirror. That future person will:
1. Know things you don’t know.
2. Have skills you currently don’t have.
3. Be better at certain skills you do have.
4. Be at least a little more focused and consistent.
You should already be envisioning your long-term goals. You should also be envisioning the person you will have to become to achieve those goals.
Now don’t panic. That doesn’t mean you need to become a completely and utterly different person. I’m certainly a different person than I was five years ago and 20 years ago, but I’m not a radically different person. Even 20 years ago I had the same essential personality traits and wanted the same basic goals in life I want now (and/or now have). Yet there are still some very distinct differences between the current day me and me of 20 years ago. Today I’m calmer, more focused, more disciplined, healthier, and happier. I also have several key skills I did not have 20 years ago.
If you envision your future self, that wonderful person who’s accomplished all of your long-term goals, you can backtrack that vision to today. Then you can determine:
1. What do you have to learn?
2. What new skills must you acquire?
3. Which of your current skills do you need to improve? (And are there any you can drop because you don’t or won’t need them any more?)
4. How can you be more focused and consistent? (Subscribing to this blog would be a great first step.)
Unless you’re very lucky, personal growth comes before personal achievement. Yes, focus on your goals, but also focus on becoming the person who will accomplish those goals.