Monday, December 21, 2009

What will your next 10 years bring?

Last weekend, my business partner and I traveled over to Providence, Rhode Island (we're in CT, so it was very short drive), to attend Perform Better's Results Business Seminar led by Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove. Many of you will recognize Alwyn as the co-author of my book, The New Rules of Lifting for Women, among other awesome endeavors, and Rachel being the new author of The Female Body Breakthrough. This dynamic duo also own their very successful gym in California, Results Fitness, which was named one of the top 100 gyms in the US by Men's Health magazine.

My purpose for attending this conference was two-fold: 1) To learn more about the business side of fitness, and 2) To see my friends (Alwyn and Rachel) again... it's been a long time since we last connected.

I must say, this conference was terrific and if you have a chance to attend it, please do. It really made a difference for me, and I'll explain why below.

Right at the beginning of the conference, Alwyn posed a question to all of us attendees. He asked, in his very cool Scottish accent, a simple (but not so simple) question that I've actually been asked before. His question was:
"Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?"

The first time I was given this question was about 10 years ago by my master's supervisor while contemplating my pursuit of a graduate degree at the University of Alberta. When given this to answer, my response was that I admired my university professors and loved what they did in terms of teaching and research and so, wanted to be just like them. Thus, to accomplish this goal I had to complete my MS degree, my PhD degree and attain my RD (Registered Dietitian) certification because I wanted to research and teach nutrition.

Well, as many of you know, I accomplished all these goals and more. I now hold my PhD and RD, in addition to other certifications and honors that I never thought I'd have.

But, the goal of being an university professor is one I'm not so sure about anymore. So when Alwyn asked us this question and gave us time to write out our answers, I honestly sat there for quite a while with nothing written on my paper.

I thought, "What the heck do I want to be doing in 10 years?". My initial thought was that in 10 years, no matter what, I'm going to have a 10 year old daughter and that's going to be a wonderful and amazing job in itself. But as far as career.... I was stumped.

When my pen finally started producing words on my page, I actually did write 'university professor in an exercise and nutrition sciences department', but then I also wrote 'successful gym owner', and 'write at least two more books' and 'living in Colorado, US, or Alberta, Canada'. To be honest, being a professor at a university would be a great career path, but I'm not so sure it's what I really want. What I really love right now is being able to exercise everyday (yes, even while 26 weeks pregnant I work out at least once a day... sometimes three times) and teaching others how to be active and love it. But, I also enjoy research and teaching nutrition at the university level, so I'm torn.

The point in Alwyn asking us this question was to help us frame how we function right now so that we can achieve these goals. Everything we do right now is going to affect what we accomplish in our next 10 years. By knowing where we want to be in 10 years will help us focus our short-term goals so they lead us to our ultimate goal. But, remember, this goal should be one that makes you happy and successful, no matter what that means to you personally.

So, do this now: Ask yourself: "Where do I want to be in 10 years? What do I need to do to get there and be in that position? Is what I'm doing now going to help me get to where I really want to be?"

Some of you may already be where you want to be - you might already have the career of your dreams, be living in the place you want to live in forever and be doing all the things you've always wanted to do, and this is great! But, for most, we have some work to do, but when we start the process it will only lead to success.

For me, because being a professor is still on my radar, I'm interviewing for post-doc positions beginning August 2010 after baby is about 6 months old. Also, since being a gym owner would also be fabulous, I'm working hard now to clear up my school loans and establish great credit so that I can receive a loan to open up my own place if and when that time comes. Thankfully I worked my butt off in university achieving plenty of scholarships, so my debt is not really bad for 12 years of schooling.

I hope this inspired some of you to start planning for the future of your dreams, especially as a new year approaches. Alwyn reminded us to build a business or career that supports our own lifestyle in terms of time, income and mobility. Don't settle for anything less than the best. You deserve it.

Happy Holidays!


Amy said...

Definitely something to think about!

Mimi said...

You always have the most thoughtful stuff to say! Isn't it amazing how our desires change as we get older? Honestly, I think that anyone who says his or her goals have remained 100% what they were for over 10 years probably has not done very much.