'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?.'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to', said the Cat.
'I don’t much care where', said Alice.
'Then it doesn’t matter which way you go', said the Cat.
Excerpt from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
As the title of this article – a famous quote by Steven Covey – suggests it is enormously important that you define the best possible outcome of any activity before you begin – especially as it pertains to building, growing and sustaining a successful business.
Therefore, if you’re a business owner or manager or considering becoming one, it’s imperative that you devote the time necessary to define your overall lifestyle goals. Once identified, take an objective look at your current situation to determine how easy, or difficult, it will be to get there and if your business supports, or hinders, your ability to reach those goals. If not, you’ll substantially increase the odds that your company may look entirely different than you imagined.
Defining your Future
You're in business to produce an income that is sufficient to support your chosen lifestyle. So begin by defining what you want most out of life. Your replies should serve as the foundation for all of your marketing efforts. For example:
- Do you want to spend more time with your family?
- Do you want to send your kids to private schools?
- Do you want to travel around the world?
- Do you want to support your favorite cause?
- Do you want financial freedom?
- Do you want to use your money to provide your family with a safe environment?
- Do you want to have enough money in the bank so you can live off of the interest when you’re 40 years old?
Next, combine your dreams into one vision like this:
By the time I am 45 years old I want to own my home, have enough money saved to educate my children, do work that is rewarding emotionally and financially, enjoy fulfilling relationships with my family, have a few good friends, enjoy a healthy body and mind, have enough free time to read books, take vacations and smell the roses.
Then continually consider whether your career objectives and activities and personal relationships are bringing you closer to, or further away from, your vision.
How Business and Private Lives Can Support Each Other
In our book, "The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing," David effectively illustrates how interdependent our private and business lives are on each other. He believes that who we marry, what we do for a living and our five closest personal relationships have the most profound impact on how our lives turn out, because they influence every decision we make.
For example, if we chose the wrong career – one that provides little joy - and endure unhealthy and non-supportive relationships, we’ll find it far more difficult to achieve our dreams. Alternatively, when our work is also our passion and we have caring and helpful friends and family our road is much smoother.
As you create your own vision, try to keep these sage words in mind, “Life best lived is life by design, not by accident… not just walking through the day and reeling from wall-to-wall and managing to survive. That’s okay, but if you can start giving your life dimensions and design and color and objectives and purpose, the results can be absolutely staggering.” (Jim Rohn, American businessman and philosopher).