March 31, 2010

Where am i going?

Rather than tell you what to do, can I offer a suggestion or rather an exercise? Sit down with two sticky pads, two pens/small markers and your wife/husband (get the kids out of the house for at least 2 hours). For 20 minutes, don't look at each others work or talk, just write. One item per sticky. Put down everything you want to do, trips, things you want to own, financial goals, whatever you want, just write it down. Size doesn't matter, you can put Backyard BBQ with wife up to 105 foot yacht on there. No editing, have something that sounds wacky? Write it down. If your hidden dream is to sail around the world in a 30 foot sailboat, put it down. There are no rules here. At the end of 20 minutes (30 if you need more time), you should have a sizable stack of stickies. Now, either on the table or a large clean wall, start laying them out. no categories, no judgements. Just put them out there. Spend about 10 minutes looking at them all - give yourself time to envision yourself in each statement. Pair up like statements where you both wrote the same thing. Then, lay out a rough vertical grid - you don't need lines.

6 months | 1 YR | 2 YR | 3 YR | 4 YR | 5 YR | 5+ YR

If you feel the need to add longer time frames, do so, this is your exercise. Start putting things into columns under what you feel is the right heading. Stack duplicates on top of each other with some showing (different colored pads helps). As you begin to put things into categories of time, you'll probably realize that some things are not possible where they were originally positioned. As you move and position, talk with your wife about these things and why they are important to each other. Are some of the wacky goals really interesting to you? Here is where things get really fun. Start to imagine life with those wacky things. What moves can you make that would bring these things to fruition? Are some of the stickies simply things that help you keep up with the Joneses or are they things you really want as part of your life? What things on your lists lead to different life paths for the family? What surprises are on your partners stickies? What is absent you thought would be there? You'll probably find that some things don't fit anywhere. I'm sure someone smarter than me could figure out a name for this one, but I just put them at the bottom or side and think of them as wishful thinking - in this group, you may just discover your future. Do not just discard them as stupid or impossible.

Anyway, have fun with it and see where it takes you. Remember the old cliché, Life is what happens to other people while you are planning yours. What it really means is live today. When I started my blog, it was to document the trip to Europe if you go back to the beginning of the archive. One thing I talk about there is the idea that I don't want to be old and saying, I wish I had... So far, so good. :-)

If you try the exercise above, let me know how it goes.


At 1:24 PM, Blogger Buffalo said...

Can't say that I've ever did much long term personal planning. Business, yes. Personal, not so much.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger JAQ SIWALA said...

at first glance, i thought this post is just another nonsense I usually come across for personal blogs. However, I think this is a very helpful article to couples in synchronizing their goals, dreams and lives. I'll surely try this with my partner and I'd let you know in 2 weeks time :-) Thank you!


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