Do I need to know where I want to be in 5 years or is it ok to just know the next right step?Nov 02, 2023
There’s another question that begs your attention: how would you know the next right step?
First, let’s talk about knowing, deciding, and wishing for what you want. For instance, at some point you have to make a decision on what you’re going to have for dinner. If you kept on about wishing you knew what you wanted, or wishing you can decide between this or that, or simply wishing for dinner, you wouldn’t eat. You could make the wrong choice; one that tastes good going down but then doesn’t sit well afterwards, which you’d realize after the fact. You get to make a mental note of it for future reference, wouldn’t you? If someone brought you dinner without asking you what you want, you’d eat what they delivered, maybe.
What about other decisions that feel like there’s much more at stake?
It helps to decide
where you want to be in 5 years. This way you can put something in your GPS. You’re not married to it forever, but it gives you a course of action to take and something to commit to.
It’s true, you’re blessed when you know what you want. And - you’re even more blessed when you can pull yourself out of the torture of wishing and make a decision on it.
Even if you’re unsure of what you want, it’s helpful to decide. Pick something. Your ability to do this is a superpower without which none of your other superpowers have a job.
But I’m interested in so many things!
Choose one and decide to put it into your internal GPS system. When you’ve done that, you’ll feel it in your nervous system, and you’ll know the right next step.
You’re right if you say humans are more than capable of working on multiple projects at once. If you’re successfully doing it, keep at it. If you’re not, you get there by adding another thing only once you’re successfully systematic with the current thing.
What if I choose the wrong thing?
You’ll know soon enough after you’ve decided it. If it was wrong, then it was right to find out. You now have good information that gives you permission to cross it off your list of options and free up your precious headspace. Yay! And in the process, you’ll have figured out more of what you want and don’t want.
Important note here: things getting hard or challenging your mood is not evidence of a wrong choice. Hardships and challenges happen with everything worthwhile, like raising a child, running a race, committing to a relationship, writing a book, starting a business, or getting a degree. Part of deciding is committing to the bumps and tantrums as they come up instead of later “when you have time.” You have time now. More than you give yourself credit for.
How balance fits in
Balance is a slippery word and often misused. When you focus too hard on “maintaining life balance,” you don’t get to steep into your passions - the stuff that makes your heart sing, challenges you in a fulfilling sort of way, and makes you feel alive. I’ll call this your thang.
Misguided efforts to find balance gives you just enough time to step your toes into your thang and then makes you pull out just when you’re getting started because you have other parts of your life to tend to. This in-and-out wears down your nervous system. I know you’ve got questions, stay with me here. You know that you need more uninterrupted time to do your thang, so you hesitate to start on it in the first place because you don’t know how to get it. It’s frustrating. If you wait long enough, your thang becomes a vague memory that turns into existential anxiety.
The key to true balance is to get a little obsessive over your thang, your passion, your deep interest, the one thang you’ll put into your GPS today. I’ll tell you why in a moment. First, a definition intermission:
Obsess: to haunt or excessively preoccupy the mind of.
A little bit of healthy obsession towards what you yearn to do and where you yearn to go is warranted. Because that thang is already haunting and excessively preoccupying you deep down. Think about it. But instead you’re focusing on your obsession over your to-do list, wishing things could be different, or some unattainable idea of balance that keeps you either overwhelmed or underwhelmed. It’s like the dinner scenario; you don’t get to eat.
I’m pretty certain that the thing you’re putting off for later is the thang you need to do today to save you from today’s dread and decision handicaps. Don’t worry. You don’t have to drop everything else in your life to do this.
Simply plug your thang into your Calendar like your doctor’s appointments that take up several hours of your day. See, if you have time for those, you have time for your thang. Your wellness counts on you taking care of it, arguably even more than those appointments. You might look at your thang like an apple a day that keeps the doctor away.
Occasionally pretend you’re sick and take a sick day: a lovesick day for the thang you want to do. Taking a lovesick day is a lot more fulfilling and on your terms than waiting to get sick (and tired).
Both these things will help you take command over your to-dos.
These deliver true balance because they give you the vitality, power and spirit to fully enjoy everything else in your life. Because your thang has your attention, you’ll now have the energy to get 10x more done than the load that’s killing you now, without the caffeine, and with ease. Your boundaries will be so healthy that you’ll drop time-wasters like a hot potato and pick up more playtime with friends, family, and yourself.
You’ll feel balanced.
Until then, it all feels like work. A little bit of obsession on your thang is your edge, your superpower, your freedom, your true balance.
Addictions and Obsessions
Addiction is an unhealthy obsession. Addictions hide from next steps and cut off flow to everything else in your life. You find it difficult to fully enjoy the other important parts of your life when you step away from your addiction because you never truly step away, and it didn’t scratch your itch. This, for example, is a symptom of a workaholic. People that don’t feel like they work a day in their life also work “a lot”; the difference is that they enjoy everything. They are fully integrated.
Healthy obsession into your thang wakes you up spirited and gives you energy that flows into everything else you do. Rather than feeling like you’re trying to balance everything out and feeling overwhelmed and confused by it, you’ll feel naturally balanced, vibrant, and authentic.
Plug in your vision for 5 years from now into your GPS.
And then get a little bit obsessed by putting your next steps into your Calendar today. Your superpowers and decision making prowess will kick in.