Let me ask you a question: When you make a decision today, are you thinking about how it will play out tomorrow? What about next month or next year? On the big things that really matter, are you truly thinking long term?
Long-term thinking helps you define a "target destination" that goes way beyond a single year. As thought starters, here are four key areas that every long-term thinker must consider and create strategies around to ensure their family is protected. These will help stimulate your thinking in the right direction so you establish the right target destination for yourself:
1. Spiritual beliefs
No matter your belief system, think about where you want to end up. You might be surprised, but just giving this some intensive thought will help guide you to become the person you want to be, living the sort of life that really means something while you're alive -- and afterward.
Your legacy will be what you leave behind, how people remember you and what they say about you, and who shows up at your funeral because they cared about you and will miss you. Plan your exit, so to speak, in a way that makes you feel as good as you possibly can about that inevitability. Make sure reality matches perception once you're gone. Don't let your secrets or your screwups be your legacy. Put your house in order.
In most marriages, the husband dies before the wife. But, no matter your gender, your spouse will be left with some state of affairs when you pass. Think about what you want that to be, and take action so there are no debts or mess to clean up.
A great way to extend your thinking is to think about your children, and even your grandchildren, and how you would like all your plans to play out with them in mind.
When it comes to your business, a helpful concept about target destination is to think about it this way:
The business you have today is not the business you set out to have.
It's a fair guarantee you don't think you're making nearly as much money as you thought you would, you're having to work more than you expected to, you're finding it more stressful and less fun than you thought, and you're never able to take as much time off as you intend.
Almost no one believes that the current state of their practice is everything they dreamed it would be. If that's true of you, too, then take a sober assessment of where you are, and then set a new target destination that you can attain. Just because you aren't as far along as you expected, doesn't mean that it's too late to make it happen.
Using the practice as your primary vehicle, your target destination should include the creation of assets that can be transferred down to your family once you head to the "hereafter." But it must not be all about making money. Aspire to a destination of much greater substance, and have a dream that's bigger than yourself. Aspire to affect the people and world around you. Do what's right in your life and in your business so you leave a lasting positive legacy.
Unfortunately, though, there is no GPS when it comes to life. You can't just lock in a location and have a pleasant voice tell you exactly how far to go, when to turn, how to get back on track if you get lost, and when you'll get there. Nor can you put in a nonspecific location. A GPS would tell you in no uncertain terms: "No destination found."
In life, it's up to you to figure out specifically where you want to go -- to set a long-term vision for your life. Only then can you plan for it and apply the necessary discipline to doing the right things so you stay on course.
Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.