Ten years ago I moved back to NYC. I had seven thousand dollars in the bank, a solid resume (or so I thought) and a plan.
The plan took the form of a 15-page manifesto called “What’s Important.” It provided, in explicit detail, what I wanted to accomplish over the upcoming decade. It explored my values, set goals and defined milestones. Writing it had helped me to define what kind of person I wanted to be and what kind of life I wanted to live. It provided context and clarity. It helped me to focus my efforts and make choices when faced with competing alternatives. Most importantly, it was a living, breathing document that I could (and did) update regularly. It changed as I changed, in sync with my evolution.
I am now approaching the official end of my 10-year plan. A survey of that document reveals that I have accomplished a great deal. Certainly, the past 4 years have been momentous. I fell in love, completed a second graduate degree, put significant attention on managing my career, got a new job and then spent the past year getting good at it. Prior to that I focused on getting into really good physical shape, running marathons, participating in triathlons, building a large social network. And while my 10-year plan did not accurately foresee every single activity I would engage in, it did define a desired long-term trend: a tone and framework that I have established for my relationships, my career, my creativity.
I am also painfully aware of all of the things that I did not accomplish but might could’ve if I had just: used a small portion of my time and energy with a little bit more efficiency; been able to take a firmer stand against my addictions; been able to exercise a bit more willpower/initiative/restraint/courage/humility.
As I approach my 43rd birthday, I find myself entering a new stage of my life and am ready to develop a new plan of action. I have been referring to this new phase as “the CEO Zone.”
I have had 43 years to learn about myself and the world around me. I have obtained an education and developed valuable skills. I have resources and maturity. There is still a great deal to learn, of course, and I am open to that. But I believe that the focus of this phase is about implementation and action. I am thinking that my personal CEO Zone should last about 25 years; from now until my 68th birthday, when I suppose it will be time to begin some other phase.
A year ago, when I was looking for a new job, I did an experiment that I called: The Unemployment Micro Blog. Every morning, I would update my Facebook status to review my plans for the day as I pursued this effort. Folks seemed to enjoy reading it and being in touch with people provided a foundation of hope as I worked toward a challenging goal.
The CEO Zone is a significantly larger project. One that I want to keep a record of and track my progress along. So, I am going to do some of it as a blog. I tend to understand things better when I write about them, so blogging it seems a useful activity. I am not planning for this to be a “kiss and tell” or an accounting of my most private personal moments, but I think that the process that I use to set and accomplish goals is interesting and will be worth writing about and sharing.
From the Zone…