As we say goodbye to 2023, I’ll bet your inbox is jam-packed with advice on looking back at the past year. You'll hear a lot about reflecting on our wins and losses, learning lessons, and setting new goals for 2024. This is a valuable practice, no doubt. But, it’s a short-sighted practice. I want to talk about something we often overlook, something that can profoundly impact our lives and careers: looking beyond the next year, into the future - 5, 10, even 25 years ahead - and charting a course for the long haul, not just a series of annual sprints.
The Infinite Game: A Lesson in Long-Term Thinking
Simon Sinek, in his book "The Infinite Game", urges us towards a beneficial mindset shift. He encourages us to look beyond the short-term goals that dominate our thinking and well into the future. Sinek says, “Life is an infinite game, and when we play with an infinite mindset, we play to keep playing, not to win or lose.” This mindset is a superpower. It's not just about the immediate victories or setbacks; it's about setting a direction for the lifetime of your career, and perhaps, your life.
Why Long-Term Vision Matters
Why focus on the long-term, you might ask? Well, let’s look at it. The benefits are not just theoretical; they are well-documented and researched. In a study led by Barton, Manyika, and Williamson, published in February 2017, provides compelling evidence of the power of long-term planning.
They studied 615 non-financial companies that reported continuous results from 2001 to 2015. Between 2001 and 2014, companies with a long-term approach achieved 47% more revenue growth and 36% higher earnings growth compared to their counterparts that focused on short-term objectives. Thats pretty significant! Imagine what we could accomplish if we applied the same mindset to our work!
Making It Personal
So, as you sit down to reflect on the past year and plan for the next, I urge you to think bigger. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 25 years? What legacy do you want to create in your career or life? This isn't just about setting SMART goals for the coming year; it's about creating a blueprint for a future that excites and motivates you.
Taking the First Step
Start by envisioning your future. Write it down! What does it look like? Feel like? Where are you? Who’s around you? What does your business look like and what is it making - both in terms of revenue and impact. Now, work backward. What steps do you need to take each year to get there? This approach ensures that your annual goals are not just random targets but integral parts of a larger, more meaningful journey.
As you head into 2024, shift our mindsets to embrace this concept of an infinite game. Commit yourself to a vision that extends far beyond December 2024. Let this be the year where we start laying the groundwork for not just immediate success, but for a legacy that lasts.