Special thanks to Matthew Moheban for this guest blog post. He is the Co-Founder of Live220 and 220 Leadership, companies he started with his brother to help students and young professionals shatter their perceived limitations to create the life, career, and relationships of their dreams.

Long-term thinking prioritizes what matters

Since I was in high school, I had dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur.

Every vision board I’ve created for 10 years (yes, I’ve been a self-development nerd for a long time) had a blank calendar on it and a mock website of my first business.

I became obsessed with the thought of starting a company that allowed me to do what I love, live beyond the typical workweek and create fulfillment for myself and others.

For a long time though, that dream was just a dream.

In my early 20s, I was considered pretty successful by traditional standards.

  • I had graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with a finance/entrepreneurship degree
  • I got a great job in finance in Chicago right out of school making good money for my age
  • I was on an executive board for a philanthropic organization
  • I had a lot of friends doing similar things that I worked and spent time with on the weekends

Because of that success, I told myself, “your entrepreneurial dream can wait for a while- this would be pretty tough to give up.”

With my company’s annual promotion cycle coming up in December 2014, I was expecting a promotion after working hard to become a top analyst in my group.

I didn’t get the promotion. And at first, I was extremely disappointed.

But then I asked myself an important question:

What if I would have gotten the promotion? Sure, that was my goal. But then I’d be back in the same cycle, chasing the next raise and promotion. So then I asked myself:

Do I want to be doing this in 10 years? I knew the answer was no. And I knew the longer I stayed, the harder it would be to leave.

My goal of becoming an entrepreneur came back into strong focus, and six months later in August 2015, I left my corporate salary behind to become a full-time co-founder with my younger brother.

The power of a 10-year vision

If I had just stayed focused on the next raise or promotion, then I would have come up with a million reasons why not to leave. I’d have unlimited obstacles and rationalizations at my disposal.

But thinking about what I wanted my life to look like in 10 years forced me to get beyond the near-term fears and objections.

I didn’t want to be in finance in 10 years. I wanted to be living my ultimate life- the life where I do work I absolutely love, have amazing relationships and generate fulfillment every day.

I knew every day I delayed taking action meant I was another day further from that life, so I created a plan to go do it. I held myself accountable to completing tangible tasks with deadlines.

Small steps led to big results, and now I get to wake up excited 7 days a week to do what I love, when and where I want to do it, and I get to spend time with the people I love.

How to create your 10-year vision

Your ultimate life is unique to you. Maybe it involves entrepreneurship, but it doesn’t have to.

To create the 10-year vision for your ultimate life, ask yourself:

If failure wasn’t an option, obstacles couldn’t stop me and I could design my life from scratch, what would my ultimate life look like in 10 years?

To make your vision tangible, the key is to be specific through categories. Below is a snapshot of the qualifiers we use to help people discover their ultimate life in the major components of their ultimate life.

How My 10-year Vision Helped Me Design My Ultimate Career

How My 10-year Vision Helped Me Design My Ultimate Career

This is how you Design your ultimate life.

Then, you Create it through goals and an action plan.

Lastly, you Live it every day through daily habits and weekly routines.

This DesignCreateLive Framework is the same process I used to live my ultimate life by 25 with my brother (23), and the one we’ve used to help so many students and young professionals do the same thing.

article by caroline Dowd-Higgins