So, (deep inhale) - I've just turned 40. To be honest, the anticipation was worse than the event itself. I have been dreading hitting this milestone for some time. Not just because I remember my parents 40th birthdays quite clearly and (as a then teenager) thinking they were positively geriatric, but I was also growing anxious at the introspection that comes with starting a new decade.
One of the benefits, or curses depending on how you look at it, of being born in 1980 is that every time I hit an age that has a 0 at the end, so too is it the dawn of a new calendar decade. The arrival of a new decade always brings with it extra hope and wonder at all the possibilities that might arise within it. The nineties were to be the decade I became a teen, then an adult and fly the nest. The noughties was the decade I would start my career, meet my future partner, buy a house and settle down. Then the teenies (confession: I had to google that as I didn't know that the years 2010-2019 even had a nickname) was the decade I would be birthing and mothering my young children, moving abroad for several years and starting my own business. So as I lurched towards the twenties I was filled with trepidation at what this decade, and my 40s, might deliver me.
If i'm being transparent, I must admit I never really daydreamed about what might be happening in my life in these years. When I was younger and casted my vision towards the future it always sort of skipped straight from being a happy working mother to being retired and drinking pots of tea on the balcony of my latest European river cruise. Until now, I have never examined what these years might bring and what, more importantly, I want to get out of them. It was this feeling of limitless opportunity that felt, frankly, overwhelming.
It would come as no surprise then, that I was excited for our family to be moving internationally again this year. This prospect brought so many of its own unique sets of goals and challenges that I didn't really have to do the hard work of contemplating my own personal ones. I could throw myself into the move and getting the family settled and not have to ask myself the tough questions about what I really wanted from this year and this decade.
But then Covid happened. It put a handbrake on everything and gave me all the time I needed, but didn't really want, to get introspective.
I put my big-girl pants on, stopped avoiding the inevitable and used all that extra time to re-walk myself through the tool that I take so many of my clients through: 10-year vision casting. You direct your gaze far far down the track to picture yourself in 10 years time. You describe what you're doing, what you're wearing, how your life looks and most importantly feels. You examine what you are doing more of and what you are doing less of when compared with today. You bring into focus what you are contributing to the world, where your joy is coming from and who you are surrounded by. And then comes the tough bit. You start the reverse engineering. You look at that glorious future picture and work backwards to where you are now and work out what you need to achieve between now and then to make that vision happen. You set concrete goals, milestones, and nitty-gritty action items. You decide who you'll be accountable to (other than yourself) to make this vision become your reality.
For me this exercise has brought my attention towards some business goals and pivots I want to make, a few bucket list items that I'm keen to action, habits I wish to create around money, health and friendships and some adventures I want to have with my family while my kids are still at home.
This exercise, or that of more simple goal setting, doesn't require a milestone birthday, the burgeoning of a new decade or even a new year to occur. It can happen at any age and in any season. You just have to be willing to cast your eyes up from whats directly in front of you and stare down the track. I cannot express how quickly the years have passed from me witnessing my parents celebrating their 40ths to being here myself and I'd be forever regretting if I didn't slow down long enough to plot my course and make the next 10 years count.
If you would like to do a session in vision casting, contact me via the details on my website and lets make your next 10 count too!