In a recent blog post, Marisa Wong at Slideshare challenged followers to reflect on the past 10 years and create a slideshow commemorating the changes that have occurred in the previous decade. In connection to LinkedIn’s 10-Year Anniversary, Wong challenges her followers to think about where they were 10 years ago, where they saw themselves going, and where they see themselves headed 10 years from today.
I really enjoy this idea, and I think it is an important practice in all of our lives. Every so often it is necessary to stop, celebrate, and aspire.
10 years ago this May, I was just finishing up high school and preparing to go to college. I don’t know exactly where I saw myself headed, but I suppose it included either working as an archaeologist or a history teacher. Along the way, I grew a lot as a person and met some amazing people. In the past 10 years, I earned two degrees, traveled, climbed mountains, explored, and found my career path. I made contributions to the world around me. I moved away from home for work. I experienced numerous ups-and-downs in my personal and professional life. At the end of it all, looking back, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve accomplished and where I now find myself a decade after high school. I also realize that I’m preparing to enter the next phase of my life, and beginning to think a bit more intently about my future.
So, when you find yourself stressed about your life or career path, take a moment to do the following – it just may make whatever you’re going through a little more bearable:
You have to forcefully interrupt any negative or stressful thought process you’re going through and switch gears. Listen to a calming song, or at least something that improves your mood. Flip through some old pictures. Call up a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Do something to derail your thinking, whether you’re experiencing anxiety about the future or frustration about your career path. Just take a moment to pause and disrupt your thought cycle.
Try to reframe your thinking in a positive light, and spend a little time dwelling in that positive place. Don’t think about your failures or try to compare your accomplishments to others (which can be a huge temptation on Facebook). Instead, consider all of the great people in your life who weren’t part of it 10 years ago. List off some of the experiences or accomplishments from the past decade for which you are most proud. You might even consider calling up or emailing a few of the people who really made a difference for you along the way. Not only will it help strengthen your network, but a surprise “thank you” note is a great way to make someone else’s day.
What is your vision for the future? Think about where you see yourself 5 or 10 years down the road. It doesn’t matter whether the vision is perfect, or if it even comes true. The odds are that your vision from 10 years ago changed and evolved along the way. The point is that you take a moment to regroup, collect your thoughts, and take those first steps. Think about the following:
Where do I see my career headed in the next 10 years?
What about my personal life? Will I have a family? A house? Where would I like to be living?
What changes will I need to make in the next year to achieve those goals? In the next 5 years?
Whether the last 10 years were the best or the most difficult years of your life (or both), the odds are that you have a lot of reasons to be proud of the growth you have experienced during that time. Take a moment to celebrate your life and the things you have already accomplished. Then create a dream for your future, and set out boldly to tackle the next chapter of life.
Check out this link to see samples of the #in10years Slideshare presentations, or view my own example below.