Where do you want to be in ten years? Running your own company? Submitting your PHD thesis? Competing in the Olympic games? Ten years is a long time, I know, but by thinking about where you’d like to be now, you can begin making small changes to your routine that will make it easier for you to get there.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famously once said: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Breaking down your long-term goal into smaller achievable goals makes it easier to measure progress and makes the whole process seem less daunting. This is the basis of the ten-year plan and also why they’re so important. Are you sold on the idea? Excellent. This is where you begin…
This is the first step and in a lot of ways the most difficult. In a recent study, 44% of undergraduates either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: ‘they don’t know what they want to do after graduation’. It’s a big decision, one worthy of mulling over for as long as you need to before coming to a solid conclusion.
If you need a little help deciding, a great tip is to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on yourself. Be thorough, write down everything you can possibly think of under each category. Can you whistle the full national anthem? Write it down. Are you scared of clowns? Write that down too. Once you’ve got a clear picture of what your skills are and where they can be best applied, it makes finding the right path easier.
Still struggling to decide what it is you want? Write a separate list full of everything you’re truly passionate about, whether that’s fashion, sports, movies, or anything else. Next, cross-reference that list with your SWOT analysis and look for overlap there. For example, do you enjoy art and have strong computer skills? Maybe a career in graphic design is right for you. Do you have excellent organisational skills and have a passion for socialising? Perhaps event management is worth exploring.
Okay, great, you’ve figured out your ultimate goal. Now is the time to research what you need to actually reach that goal. If your aim is to land your dream job, start by looking at job descriptions for the role you’d like to land and also for the company you’d like to work for. You’re looking to see what skills they’re asking for, how much experience they require, and what qualifications are essential to the role. If you have a different goal, identify an expert in the field you’re interested in and then reverse engineer their career path. Where did they start? What did they do to make themselves successful?
Once you have this information you can begin setting the markers on your ten-year plan. But before delving into that, it’s important to remember that this is a ten-year plan, set yourself achievable goals and don’t try to do too much too quickly. For example, it’s unlikely you’ll go from having an entry-level job to a seat at the board of directors table in just two years. Setting yourself unrealistic goals undermines the whole process and will inevitably lead to disappointment if you don’t reach them.
Now that’s out of the way, we can get back to plotting out your ten-year plan. Hypothetically, lets say you’re 18 years old, on the verge of applying for universities, and you’ve decided that your dream position is Head of Marketing.
The year is 2020, the next four years of your life are going to be invested in your education. The year is 2024, you’ve graduated with your marketing degree in hand, hurray! What do you want to do next? Remember this is your ten-year plan, if you want to travel or take a break, you can. Just remember to work it into your plan. The year is 2025, you’ve come back revitalised and ready to start your career. Internships are a great way to build experience and learn industry secrets in a supportive environment. CRCC Asia’s award-winning program guarantees you an internship, in a career field of your choosing, within one of Asia’s megacities – because who said you couldn’t have fun during your plan? The year is 2026, the skills you’ve learnt during your internship have landed you your first executive-level position. The year is 2028, your continued hard-work and track record of success has led to you being promoted to a senior position within your team! The year is 2030, you have your qualifications, you have a solid five-years of marketing experience, and you have built a repertoire of skills from all of the successful projects you have worked on. You tick all the boxes from the job descriptions you read ten years ago; you are in an excellent position to land a Head of Marketing position.
The steps listed in the paragraph above are just one example of how to achieve a certain goal. Throughout the course of your ten-year plan unforeseen opportunities and obstacles will arise. If a golden opportunity presents itself then do not hesitate to grab it and adjust/accelerate your timetable accordingly. The same principle applies to obstacles, evaluate them, decide the steps you need to overcome them and then work these steps into your ten-year plan. There’s no need to feel discouraged by setbacks, overcoming them only adds another accomplishment to your list.