Where are you headed? Where are you today and where do you want to be in 3, 5, 10, 15, 25 years? Are you on a path towards getting there? How do you evaluate if you’re headed in the right direction?
Pretty often (I’d say once every year or so), I get jittery. I wonder if I’m in the right place doing the right things to get where I ought to be. Well, where I want to be based on my goals and professional achievements-to-be.
The conservative in me always says “Don’t stress…ride the current wave, you’re doing fine. Keep working hard.”
Then I get passed up for promotion, don’t get the raise, get screwed in a company exit, or something else that makes me re-evaluate.
So what does one do? In the past, I’ve jumped to a new company when things got too bad on an emotional level. And I’ve had some success in moving the needle by making some lateral and vertical jumps.
What I’m realizing now is that the actual experience of getting to the future is more important than getting to the future. When I ask myself “am I getting where I want to be in 3, 5, + years?”, I really should be considering “what am I doing now, is it helping towards my goals?”
In truth, I won’t be able to answer the question accurately, because I don’t know what it will take to get to my goals. See the picture above which I think speaks volumes. It comes from here, as does the following quote:
“So all I can say is that even when it seems like your life isn’t going according to plan, maybe it’s just nature taking its course and you just have to keep that in perspective.”
I think what I’m saying, and what I need to do more of myself is, trust the path you’re on. Give it a chance and really work hard to take as much out of your current situation. You made decisions that led you to where you are today. Trust in them and yourself and keep getting the job done.
PS: Here’s another quote from the same article that Steve Jobs said at a Stanford Commencement:
“You can only connect [the dots] looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”