Cara spent her day working. This was her second last day of work at this job. She’s really enjoyed working there over the past few years, but as she pondered where she wants to be in five years, this job wasn’t paving the way. She and Greg have long made decisions this way; is what I’m doing today, getting me closer to where I want to be in five years?
The five-year part is arbitrary of course. But it’s not a bad chunk of time to consider. We can do a lot in five years. On the other hand, five years fly by in the blink of an eye, and if we don’t lift our heads up every once in a while, to see if we are on a favourable path, the time passes us by anyway. When we finally do look up, we find many things have changed around us, but we haven’t ended up where we imagined.
I’m probably not the expert on five-year career decisions. I stayed in my first, much loved, teaching job for thirty-three years. At the same school. I did lift my head and ponder whether I was where I wanted to be. I had opportunities to change; to change schools, to change positions, to change grades and subjects. For me this was such an easy choice, even though I did give it serious thought. I was exactly where I wanted to be and more than that, I could see that in five years, I would still love where I was. I had freedom to make changes in my own practice, and I was always reinventing and trying to keep things interesting. I was at an incredible school, with incredible colleagues and incredible students. Even in the midst of it, I recognized how lucky I was.
So, while some people are wise to make career moves to position them for their next step, some of us do not have to wrestle so hard with this part of life. However, every single one of us have other parts of life to consider. Who do we want to be in five years? Which people do we want stronger relationships with? How will we increase our joy? What hobbies or interests are we pursuing, even in the smallest way, to keep us feeling connected to our passions? Which of our strengths will we amplify, and which weaknesses diminish?
Most of us, caught up in the full days of life, don’t even think of thinking about such things. And yet, one five-years becomes the next. Before long, they string together to make a life.
The premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, underwent biopsy surgery on Friday for a growth in his throat. At the writing of this blog, I am not aware of the result of the testing of the tumour. I first heard this news story, while driving home from a doctor’s appointment. For some reason it really hit me in the heart. I know it was because it was exactly one year ago, I too had a biopsy followed by a significant surgery to remove the tumour in my neck. My tumour was of the non-cancerous variety. And other than some pesky lingering side effects, I’m able to live the life I want. If the result had been different, I know I’d have been praying for five more years. I’m wishing the absolute best for Premier Horgan.
None of us has a guarantee about almost anything in this life. Most of us, with a bit of good fortune, will still be around in five years. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we woke up in 2026 and found we were the absolute best version of ourselves? The absolute best chance we have for this happening is to take a few minutes to really figure out exactly what that best version looks like. What does she sound like? What does she love? Who is at her table? What brings her joy? How do others feel in her presence? How engaged is she?
Weighty questions are these to be sure.
I understand that tonight there will be Northern Lights dancing above almost every part of this province I love. I think I’ll stay up a bit late and take a drive to see them. Sometimes when we stand in such majesty, we receive insights. The beautiful aurora borealis might just give me the perspective I need to remember I can become whoever I dream to be. There is so much more inside each of us than we often dare to reveal. Perhaps the next five years is our time to dance and shine.
My inquiry for you this week is ‘How is this preparing me to dance and shine in five years?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations and for conducting leadership reviews. Contact Elizabeth to grow yourself or your organization into it’s best self in the next five years.