I always dread the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?” If you don’t already know this, I was out of work for several months and this was a recurring question I needed to be able to answer for a successful interview. It took me about 6 months to finally come up with a good answer for this question. You would think I would be the person who has it all figured out, right? Since, I’m constantly dreaming of the future. The problem is life never turns out exactly the way we plan.
When I look back at a paper I wrote in high school on where I see myself in 10 years it’s far from accurate on where I am now in my life. Some of the things I’m very glad are inaccurate. Why? Because I have changed and evolved, I’m not the same person and my dreams are very different now. Life, has also thrown some surprises at me throughout my journey. When I was searching for a job I had no plans on applying for a job like the company I currently work at, but I was desperate. As it turns out I love my job and the culture at my current company is awesome. I don’t know if I will be there 5 or 10 years down the road, but I’m okay with not having it all figured out.
I have read in books, articles and heard from professionals that you need to have goals in your life and your goals should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). Oh and they must be written down otherwise they are just dreams. If you have SMART goals and they are written down your doing a lot better than me. I’m pretty sure I’m failing at that, but I will explain why later.
In case you were wondering here is my best answer to that daunting question: “Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?” This is specifically for an interview: “I hope to be working at the same company and I plan on making a significant contribution to the company I’m at. I plan on continuously learning new things and increasing my skills and abilities (here I list a few related to the job, such as my writing skills). If there’s an opportunity to advance within the company that is definitely something I would be interested in, but it’s more important to me that I’m continuously learning and growing with the company I’m working at.” Feel free to use this response, if you think it’s worthy and it suits you. It did work well for me.
I have come up with a list of broader goals or dreams for my future. I think these are more important than SMART goals.
- To be happy: to be positive, to try and make almost anything fun and not let people or life’s unexpected plans for me get in the way of that.
- To not care what other people think of me, how I live my life, my dreams or anything else
- To be creative and always write: I don’t care if I’m drawing, painting or creating graphic designs. I just need to be using my creative abilities!
- To be the best wife: by not fighting over all the stupid little things, instead choosing to laugh about them. The rest is easy.
- To always be a good friend: to be there for my friends despite my own problems, jealously or any other life factors.
- To be young and silly: to avoid saying: “I’m too old to do that.”
- To be wild and adventurous and always open to trying new things (I have a long list of adventure ideas, but I won’t bore you with them).
- To travel: Long list here, but I must see Greece and France for sure.
- To write a book (not sure when or about what, but I think I will figure it out when the time is right).
- To make an impact in the world: to leave something behind. Along with giving to charity some of my time and my money.
- To always eat healthy without giving up all the things I love to eat.
- To become a better cook: to develop my own recipes in the future that I can share with others, but they have to be perfect first!
- To be in better physical shape then I am now.
- To be fashionable and feel good about the way I look throughout my life.
- To have a home unique to my personality.
- To have financial security and be able to retire by 65 (or somewhere around that age) and still have money to travel and have new adventures.
- To get a hot tub (Yeah, I know this one is totally not in line with my other dreams, but I live in a cold state and dream about it ALL THE TIME!)
Will SMART goals contribute to my #1 dream of happiness? Can the goals I have written for myself be specific with time stamps on them? Some of them yes, but they don’t need to be. As long as I’m continuously working on ways to achieve or maintain these bigger dreams or goals I know above all I will be happy. I can’t say that I need to be an artist, a writer or a marketing manager, or an entrepreneur to be happy. I don’t know and I think that’s okay. I think life will figure it out for me. As long as I’m constantly “Creating a Path to all New Heights.”
I think SMART goals make sense if you have a very specific plan for yourself. I’m sure I will be writing some in the future. I’m just interested in trying so many different things. My life is like this blog, sometimes I have just a glimpse of a thought in mind and I just dive into writing and see where my words will take me (just as I try new things and see where the road will take me). Right now, I plan on doing some freelance writing as a second job. I can’t imagine it will be nearly as fun as writing this blog. But, I’m excited to try it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? or 10 years?