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The art of balancing short and long term goals can be tricky. It’s easier to look out a few days, weeks, or even months than it is to estimate where you want to be in the next few years.
Think about who you were ten years ago. How have you changed? How has your direction in life evolved?
Building a brand is more than just trying to maintain a profit through the next few months. It’s about deciding where you want to be and working hard to get there. It is a constant evaluation and forward motion to get to what’s next.
In today’s episode we’re going to talk about setting short and long term goals, how to work backwards from where you want to be, and dreaming bigger.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Think over the last ten years to gain perspective of what can happen in ten years’ time.
- Short term goals help you achieve long term vision.
- Knowing where you want to be personally will help define where you want your brand to be.
- Look forward and think bigger to be more purposeful with your time and energy.
- Set a big goal and you will want to get there.
- The more you do, the more you are able to do.
- Don’t limit yourself with small goals.
- Know what success looks like for you.
- Start personal—your brand and company goals will be an outpouring of who you are and who you want to be.
- Know what success looks like for you, because it varies for different people.
- 04:16 Cory: Originally, we had a different title for this episode. We were going to call it Balancing Short Term and Long Term Goals, and that will definitely be a part of what we’re talking about here, but I want to encourage people to think in terms of decades. Saying “decade” makes it sound so long, but think about what can happen within ten years. When it comes to building your brand and trying to develop something, you have to have both short term and long term goals. Otherwise, it’s going to be imbalanced and non-cohesive. Today, we’re going to talk about why it’s important to think about the next ten years, making short term goals in light of long term goals, planning what success looks like for you, and things like that.
- 05:16 Kyle: It’s much more motivating to look where you’re going than to look at your feet the whole time. Short term goals are like looking at your feet, making sure you know where you’re stepping, and long term goals are more like looking forward and understanding where you’re going. We touched on that topic in a recent episode (Related: e017 Regaining the Momentum You Started Out With). It’s about understanding what’s ahead and keeping something ahead of you to look at and keep your momentum going.
Kyle’s Last Ten Years
- 06:04 Cory: Kyle, I’ve got to ask you about ten years ago. Before we look forward, we’re going to go back in time like Marty McFly and we’re going to look at our pasts. What were you doing ten years ago, Kyle? What was your life?
- 06:22 Kyle: It was so interesting to look at ten years ago, because so many things were different. I almost couldn’t believe how many things were different. I was 18—I’m 28 now—I had recently graduated from high school and had just met my, now, wife. We had just started dating. I was interested in design, and for two or three years I had been working in photoshop. At that time, I was more interested in 3D, computer-generated art. That was my main thing, but I was becoming more and more interested in photoshop.
- 07:07 I was getting more into the design world, and ironically, I had no idea what UI design or icons were. That concept had not even crossed my path at one point. It was interesting to realize that, ten years ago, that wasn’t even on my radar. In that time, between being 18 and now, I’ve gotten married, moved twice, worked at both a really large company and small companies, learned about icon design, and now I’m teaching icon design. This seems random to include, but it was big for me… I stopped drinking soda. I was doing really bad in college, drinking five+ cans a day. Stopping that completely was a big milestone for me.
- 08:07 It’s been three or four years since I stopped that. I started and quit college in that time. I failed at one business and I started another. A lot of things happened.
- 08:21 Cory: When you say that you failed at one business, what was that?
- 08:26 Kyle: I went into college, and at 18, I had already been exploring design and those kinds of things. Once I got into college, I went into the Graphic Design program at the university and started learning. I’m not saying that the curriculum wasn’t good, but it wasn’t good for me. It wasn’t helpful to my goals. Eventually, I had to decide that I didn’t want to be there. I wasn’t getting anything out of it, personally, for the things I wanted to achieve in the future. I decided to leave, and when I decided to leave, I established my own business. My naive younger self thought I could start a business and do fine, but it almost wasn’t even a business—I was trying to have a business, but I didn’t understand what that entailed.
- 09:21 I worked at that for about a year. I don’t have debt and I don’t plan to have debt, but it got to a point where I was down to $200 or $300 in my bank account. For me, that’s freak out time. I could go get a loan, but I personally can’t do that. I didn’t want to go there. That’s when I got a job at a corporation. I moved into that, and that was where I eventually quit to start my second business.
- 10:05 Cory: That’s a lot of things in ten years.
- 10:07 Kyle: There’s probably even more than that, honestly.
Cory’s Last Ten Years
- 10:11 What about you, Cory? What were you doing ten years ago?
- 10:15 Cory: I was thinking about this, and I started freaking out, because so much has happened in the last ten years. I was 16 years old. I grew up in Washington state, so I lived up there for the first 15 years of my life. Right after we moved, I turned 16. We moved to California, which is where we’re living right now. I didn’t have any friends. I was homeschooling and working with my dad in general construction, and I didn’t really have any idea or a direction for my life. I was just doing what I needed to do now to get by. I didn’t have any plans to go to college. I didn’t really have any plans.
- 11:06 That was exactly ten years ago, and in the last ten years, I got married, had a child, went to college for one year, dropped out, and then finished my degree online. I changed my career ideas, what I wanted to do, four or five times. It’s interesting that Kyle talked about wanting to do 3D graphics, because I was really into that as well nine or ten years ago. I wanted to do 3D modeling with computer graphics. I didn’t want to do design or anything, but I started learning more and more about web design. In 2007, I traveled internationally for the first time. I flew to Costa Rica with a team and I was in the Talamanca Mountains with indigenous people, running a summer camp.
- 12:11 Every year since 2007, I’ve been out of the country at least one time. I’m very fortunate to be able to do that. I’ve been to Russia and multiple places in Europe over the last ten years. I started a business, and that business failed. I worked a bunch of different jobs.
Thinking over the last ten years gives you a crazy perspective of everything that can happen in ten years’ time.
- 12:59 I was 16! What was even happening in 2006? I don’t know. Think of all the books that have come out, the movies that have come out, the people who have become famous, the music albums that weren’t released. I just realized something, Kyle. Ten years ago, the iPhone had not come out.
- 13:22 Kyle: YouTube wasn’t in existence, either.
- 13:24 Cory: YouTube was barely getting started. It wasn’t owned by Google, so it was pretty young. Ten years ago, iPhone didn’t exist. That’s insane to me. Think about that. The Android operating system didn’t even exist. Everyone was using Blackberries ten years ago.
- 13:47 Kyle: It was probably Blackberry, because the iPhone came out in 2007. 2006 would have been prime time for Blackberry.
- 13:55 Cory: They had the big PDA things. Everything that’s happened in the last ten years is insane. Think through the trends, the way that culture has moved back and forth. I want to take a look back because I want to help people see everything that can happen in ten years’ time. Kyle and I were young. We were in our late teens, and we didn’t really have a direction for where we wanted to go in life. We had no idea that we would be where we are right now. Ten years ago, I certainly wasn’t thinking, “Ten years from now, I’m going to have a podcast and it’s going to be great.”
- 14:44 In the chat earlier, I asked, “What were you doing ten years ago? Where were you?” Some people said, “I was working as a lifeguard, drawing anime fan art badly and making websites on Angelfire.” Someone else said, “Ten years ago I was working for a publishing company, doing book cover designs. Super junior position.” “Ten years ago I finished my apprenticeship as a salesman and had begun my studies of international media and computing.” “Ten years ago I was hustling in the first year of my upper division design program for my my bachelor’s degree.” “Ten years ago I was 16. I was in high school, and I had no idea what I wanted to do, dabbling in photoshop and web development. I had already built a community online, but I didn’t even know that people were getting paid for this. I had zero idea about what lettering was, and also, I had just come out to my parents, and it was freak out time.”
- 15:37 There are so many things. A lot can happen. “14 years old. Dumb kid. Played a hell of a lot of sports in high school.” It’s important to look back to where you were. When you start looking forward to your next ten years, you think, “What did the last ten years look like, and what can the next ten years be?” This is a show about branding and that kind of thing, but it’s important to think about this personally and for your brand. A brand is made up of the heartbeat of the people who are building it, so my brand is literally made up of what I put into it.
- 16:32 A 300 person company is made up of the people who are building that, the employees—the people in the design department, HR, the CEO and the CFO. All of that pulls together to become what their brand is build on.
Thinking forward and knowing where you want to be personally is going to help define where you want your brand to be.
- 17:03 Kyle: Yesterday, we talked about ten years, and when we first started talking about it, we started with what has happened to us over the past ten years. It seems very overwhelming to think about the next ten years, but that’s part of the goal here. When you think about the next ten years, you don’t get to go really specific. That’s what we came to. What do you want your company, your brand, and yourself to be? It can’t be super specific. It’s far enough in the future that you have to distill it down to what you want to be and accomplish in a general sense, and not these very specific things that are more short term.
- 17:58 You could say, “I want a million dollars in ten years,” but instead, maybe the point is where you’re at financially in ten years. A million in ten years is very limiting, because what if you achieve that in the next three years? You made your ten year goal, so I guess you just sit around for the next seven years. You’re done. It’s much better to understand what you really want to do in the future.
Goals vs. Vision
- 18:52 Cory: We open up the chat for questions every time with this show, because we’re streaming live, and I asked people to share if they have questions about this particular thing. A lot of people seemed to have this division. Jay defined this in his question really well. He said, “Personally, I have a vision for long term and a goal for short term. Goal is binary. Did I achieve it or not? Did I hit my target income or not? Have I written 1,000 words today or not? Vision is somewhere I want to go. I would love to get the straight and fastest road, but it does not happen. I’ll stumble along the way, but I’ll get there. If I make a mistake, the vision usually does not change.”
- 19:40 As a follow up, he asks, “How do you apply this in a brand?” I think this distinction is really good. Some of it might be semantics, but there’s value to the idea of having a kind of person you want to be or kinds of things you want to accomplish. You can say that is your vision. Any level of circumstances may happen, but the kind of person you want to become, the legacy you want to leave, and the kind of brand you want to shape is going to meet that vision.
Your short term goals help you achieve your long term vision.
- 20:23 I think you can intersperse vision and long term goals, but we’ve talked about similar things before. A brand is mission, purpose, and values, and the mission is the “what,” the purpose is the “why,” and the values are what you will and will not do to accomplish your mission and your purpose (Related: e002 Values, Mission, and Purpose). Start thinking long term and you will think, “What do I want to have built?” I think you can interchange those terms. What do you think, Kyle?
Set Bigger Goals
- 21:03 Kyle: I completely agree. There can be ten year goals, certainly, but whatever they are, make them bigger than you think they’ll be. Like we said, ten years is a long time. Even having goals for ten years might be rough. My challenge for this episode is to think much bigger than you’re thinking right now. Success is not determined by financial status. Success can be whatever you want it to be, and I’m using the example of financial status because it’s easier to frame this in numbers, but this could be anything. It could be about your health, that you want your children to be successfully brought up and achieve certain things, or whatever it is for you.
- 22:03 Cory: To have a successful marriage, for instance.
- 22:06 Kyle: Let’s say you were the person who thought, “In ten years, I want to make a million dollars.” Change that to a hundred million dollars. That sounds crazy, and it’s probably one of those goals where anyone you told it to, even yourself, would say, “That’s a little bit crazy, a little bit out there,” but that’s the point. If, in ten years, you thought you were going to make a million, grow that to a hundred million. If you say, “I want to make a hundred million in ten years,” when you get to that ten year mark, let’s say you made $20 million. You haven’t hit your hundred million goal, but you’ve gone far beyond your one million goal. You’ve exceeded your initial expectations, but you haven’t reached the extended goal you came up with. You’re somewhere in the middle. You’re not limiting yourself to only making a million dollars in the next ten years.
- 23:11 Cory: Do you think setting a cap or limitation on a goal is stifling? For instance, if you say that in ten years you want to have a million dollars, we would say to 10X your 10X and go for a hundred million. The reason we put it up to a hundred million was because, for the initial goal, you might accomplish that sooner and maybe it’s too low to have that be a cap, but isn’t a hundred million still a cap of some kind? Is having a tangible, pin-pointed goal like that stifling? Should it be more generic and overarching than that, or do you just need to figure out what you want and then multiply it by whatever amount?
Setting goals is all about knowing what you want and going for it.
- 24:35 Kyle: Within this ten years, you’re going to re-evaluate your goals at some point. Understand where you’re going. We’ve used ten years for the title of the show, but maybe ten isn’t a good number. Maybe it’s five years. Whatever it is for you, make your goals bigger than they are or than you currently imagine they can be. That’s probably where you’ll be. Success is different for every person, and as I see success for myself, ten years ago I didn’t imagine that I would have this amount of success in this time. That’s not something I would have perceived. I had goals to do certain things, but I wouldn’t have imagined myself where I am now.
- 25:37 If I was going after a bigger goal, I would probably be further along. I had this idea that I wanted to get to this certain point, and I think I’ve gotten to that point in the last ten years, but ten years is a long time. It took me ten years to get there. I need to think bigger. If I wanted to be in a different position than I am now, maybe I would be further at this point. I worked toward getting to a certain point, got there, was excited about that, but now I have to set new goals. That’s the limiting thing to me.
- 26:22 Cory: Christopher brings up a great point. He says, “Isn’t the strategy and hustle different between one million vs. one hundred million? The way you get there is going to be different.” Absolutely. That’s exactly why I think it’s so important to think in ten year time frames. Let’s say that you aim to have a million dollars in three years instead of ten, and in ten you’ll have a hundred million. Now you have the first three years cut out for you. How are you going to break up a million for three years? What do you need to accomplish now to get to that point? You start to learn what it takes to get there.
- 27:12 Think of what it takes to get $10, $100, or $1,000. Those things are different. You do different things to get that money, that level. It’s absolutely going to change, so that’s why it’s so important to look forward and say, “If I’m going to get this much, I’m going to segment out these years to do these specific things.” I know we’re talking a lot about money, but this applies to other things. Maybe, in ten years, you want to have a healthy, successful marriage to the same woman or man—in my case, a woman. What do I need to do now, today, to make sure that’s going to be possible in that time?
- 28:17 One of the things I want to accomplish in the next ten years is to have a minimum of five published books. For five published books in the next ten years, my style of writing, my hustle, and my strategy is going to look different than if I were to say, “I’m going to write 50 books.” What is that? Five books a year? Yikes.
- 28:50 Kyle: You can practice this right now, today. Let me use the example of building a new fence. When you build a new fence, you have to put each post into the ground. You need to dig a hole for each fence post. Today, you woke up and said, “Based on the work I’ve been doing, I think I could do five new posts today, and that would be good,” and that’s your minimum goal. You’re targeting your minimum goal, because that’s where you think you can get to. If you set what would be considered an unrealistic goal and said, “I’m going to put in 20 new fence posts today,” odds are that you’re not going to get there. You would have to do so many in a short amount of time that it’s not going to happen.
- 29:47 Let’s say you get to eight of them. You’ve gone past your five goal. You haven’t reached your 20 goal, but you don’t just reach the five and stop. You’ve worked hard enough to try and get to the 20, and you’ve made it further than you would if you were just working to get to five.
- 30:12 Cory: People look at this differently. Some people say, “I’d rather set a minimum that I know I can surpass so I can feel good about surpassing that than to set a larger goal and not get there.”
If you set a big goal, it makes you want to get there.
- 30:40 It’s twofold. You say, “What can I do?” In a sense, what is a minimum that I can accomplish, and then what is the maximum that I can push myself to meet? Aim for that one. Then, you know that you’ve already passed the minimum. Life isn’t meant to be lived by trying to meet the minimums. That seems very boring to me, to say, “Well, I got the passing grade. I needed a 75 on my driving test and I got a 76, and that’s good enough,” living life “good enough” isn’t fulfilling. Maybe that’s just me. There are two parts. Say, “I know I can dig five, but I’m going to aim for 20.”
Don’t Limit Yourself
- 31:41 Kyle: It’s easier to look at this as someone looking at a different person. Let’s take Cory’s daughter, for example. Let’s say that she’s old enough to start doing chores around the house. Let’s pretend that you have a really big yard, there a bunch of leaves, and the leaves need to be raked. Realistically, Cory knows that she’s probably going to finish half of the front lawn today. There are a lot of leaves, and it will probably be impossible for her to finish the entire lawn. Cory tells her, “Hey, I want you to rake the entire lawn today. The whole thing needs to be done.”
- 32:21 She goes out there, and she finishes half of the front lawn and starts working on more of the front lawn, and then it’s time to come back in. The day is over. She says, “Dad, I’m really sorry. I couldn’t finish the whole lawn.” For Cory, that exceeded his goal. If he told her to do half, she would have gone to half and stopped, or she may have gone even slower and not finished half, because half was the maximum target. Now that the whole lawn was the maximum target, she finished more than Cory expected.
- 33:03 Cory: Kyle, you said that it was more than the expectation, but if I told her to rake the entire lawn, isn’t that saying that that’s the expectation? Or do I not verbalize the expectation?
- 33:18 Kyle: I’ve had this before, where someone tells me, “Accomplish this today,” and I work towards it but I don’t get there. I say, “I really tried my hardest,” and they know I tried my hardest, so they say, “It’s fine. You did your best.” For them, it exceeded what they really expected, but what they’re telling me is so that I push myself and go further than I thought I could go or even than they thought I could go. It’s more about motivation. It’s not saying that I’m actually going to hit this goal, but it’s saying that I’m going to do everything I can to hit that goal.
If you don’t hit your large goal, it’s fine, but set a large goal so you don’t limit yourself by the small goal.
You Can Do More Than You Think
- 34:16 Cory: We’ve been talking about why it’s important to think about the next ten years and seeing what’s ahead rather than always looking at your feet and how that’s motivating. Looking forward and thinking bigger gives you a long term direction and allows you to be purposeful with your time and energy. When I say, “In ten years, I want to have done this,” it helps me have clarity, direction, and a starter template on what to say no to and what to say yes to. I can ask myself questions like, “Does this advance my goals? Will it get me to where I want to be in ten years? Will it get my brand where I want it to be in ten years?”
- 34:56 When you start to think in that framework, it doesn’t have to be ten years. Maybe it’s just one year. You say, “In one year, I want to be pulling in $250,000 as a business, I want to have incorporated, I want to have two employees, and I want to be in this field.” Then, when something comes up that blocks or deviates from that goal, you can say, “Actually, this other business direction isn’t going to help me accomplish the thing I’m headed toward. It’s not going to get me there faster—it’s only going to slow me down, because it’s deviating from the path.” It helps to act as a filter.
- 35:40 It helps you say no to certain things and yes to other things that will help you achieve those goals. A couple of people in the chat are talking, and Robert says, “People who feel better hitting a small goal and those who prefer missing a big goal have a very different perspective on the meaning of failure.” That’s interesting. Personally, I prefer to finish a lot of small things than to not finish something big. That’s part of my personality. Kyle and I were talking about OmniFocus earlier, and sometimes I will retroactively put little things into my day and then mark them off.
- 36:33 Right after this, I’ll write, “Do a podcast,” and then I’ll think, “I did a podcast!” People are different and view this very differently. You need to figure out what success looks like for you. When you’re thinking about ten years, one year, and five months, you need to look at that and say, “What is going to make me feel successful? How am I going to become more of the person I want to become through doing this? How is my brand going to become more of the brand I want it to be, and what are those steps for me personally or for us as a company?” You’ll have to weigh that.
One person’s definition of success is not another person’s definition of success; think about what that could look like for you.
- 37:42 Kyle: I think we got really hung up on the word “goals.” That’s the problem, because the point isn’t to set a big goal, have that expectation, and then miss it and feel like a failure. The point is to push yourself further than you think you can go. Odds are, you’ll reach a bigger goal than you think you can get to. Cory’s right. It’s twofold. It starts with saying, “Here’s where I realistically think I can get to in this amount of time,” and you have to have that as a base. Let’s get back into math here.
- 38:18 We’re going to 10X a goal, and to do that, we have to have a base goal to start with. You have to set that base goal and say, “This is, realistically, where I can get to.” Your mindset, what you’re trying and hoping to achieve in that time, should be bigger than that. Then, when you get to what you thought was realistic, that’s not the end of your goal. You’re not done, because you said that you wanted to get to ten times that. If you say, “I want to get $10 in the next hour,” and you get $10 in the next 30 minutes, are you just going to give up and say, “Well, I met my hour goal”? Or will you go for $100 and make it to $30?
- 39:04 I wanted to clarify that, because I think we got really hung up on something being a hard goal. It’s not a hard goal. It’s a milestone that you hope to achieve, something you hope to get to, and you have a realistic expectation to begin with. You set that “unrealistic” goal so that you push yourself further and you don’t become complacent when you’ve achieved that base level goal.
We all underestimate ourselves and we don’t have a good understanding of what we’re capable of.
- 39:43 Cory: Your ability is going to change. You are going to be able to do more things and accomplish more exponentially than you could one, five, or even ten years ago. I think about waking up this morning and writing for 45 minutes to get 1,500 words. Ten years ago, I would have said, “That’s boring. I want to play a video game.” I can accomplish so much more now because I know so much more and I’ve experienced so much more. Every year, I’m able to accomplish more. The more you push yourself and your brand, the more you do, the more you are able to do.
Making Short Term Goals in Light of Long Term Goals
- 40:52 My personality is very much in the now. What am I doing right in this moment? What am I thinking? What am I seeing? What do I have my hands on? What’s outside? It’s raining outside. I’m very in the moment. Balancing in the moment, looking down at where I’m walking, and looking forward can be really tough for me. That’s something you have to try and figure out. For instance, I have my ten year goals and vision planned out from 2016 to 2026. I say, “This is the kind of person I want to be and the kind of work I want to be doing. I have this opportunity right now… Does that fit in the long term in any particular direction?” Balancing that is really important.
- 41:57 You can take that all the way down to, “What am I doing today?” Sarah asked earlier, “How do I keep my ten year goal on target while having to focus on everyday tasks and goals?” There are going to be some things that you have to do that don’t directly affect your ten year goal. For instance, I’m going to have to go grocery shopping sometime this week. That doesn’t necessarily help achieve my ten year goal, but it helps me live, so it does play a little bit into it. There are going to be things you need to do that are just part of life.
- 42:37 Kyle: It makes you look at those other things differently. Tommy had a great comment in the chat. He said, “I find that combining a minimum goal with a big goal helps tremendously. When I go for a run, I have a minimum distance and time I need to hit to stay on track, but I’m always hoping and trying my best to go further and faster than I have before, and both are motivating in different ways.” As Cory was saying, there are things that you have to do that may not help you with your goal. If Tommy just said, “This is how far I want to go,” he got there, and he’s done. Let’s say he gets to that point and he can keep going. He still has the stamina to go further.
- 43:33 If he only set that small goal, he would say, “Got there! We’re good!” Instead, he’s thinking, “I know I can go a mile today, but I’m going to try and go two miles.” When he gets to that mile, he keeps running. It’s much easier for him to say, “I want to go a mile. That’s realistic,” and halfway through his run he gets distracted. It’s easier for him to feel like he has time to do this other thing. If he’s trying to go further, he knows that he has to keep pushing it, and the distractions are less appealing. Maybe he’s a mile in and he has to go grocery shopping, he’ll go but he’ll go fast so he can accomplish more today.
- 44:42 Cory: Tommy says, “I do run past an ice cream shop. The struggle is real.” Running after eating ice cream is not a good idea.
Adjusting to the Unexpected
- 44:54 Emily asked, “Thinking about my brand in ten years is much easier than thinking about me in ten years. A lot changes in your 20s and 30s, at least for most people. How can we plan ahead for our brands while realizing that life will probably throw some curveballs? Is it more about future thinking mindset than strict adherence to the ten year plan?” Absolutely. It’s all about mindset. You can say, “In ten years, I’m going to be an Olympic runner,” and three years from then, you get in a car accident that damages your legs. From that point, you’re not able to walk anymore.
- 46:14 I certainly hope that this doesn’t happen to any of our listeners, but stuff like that happens. A couple of years ago, my wife and I had these five year plans that we wanted to accomplish, and all of a sudden life played it’s toll, and we found out that she was pregnant. That wasn’t part of the ten year plan. We wanted it to be later on before we started having kids, and all of a sudden we had this new thing, and we cried a lot. We knew that there are some things you can’t change in life. There is a lot you can’t change in life. Things happen, things change, and you roll with it.
- 47:10 In light of our current circumstances and who we are now, how do we dream bigger in the long run? How do our dreams and goals for the long run affect who we are now? For instance, we want to be people who travel. We want to have adventures and go around and do things. Kids are a nuisance. Kids are hard. It’s hard to have kids, first of all, and it’s hard to travel with kids, but we decided that we wanted to make that a priority because that’s who we want to be in the long run. We make it work. We figure out how to make it work. It’s hard, but it’s good.
- 47:54 We’ve traveled internationally with our daughter Rylynn, and we plan to travel internationally when this next baby is born. We’re going to make it work. If it doesn’t, we keep adapting. Being a human is about adapting, changing, and molding to whatever is happening in your circumstances. Future thinking is all about the mindset. You can say, “I want to do this in ten years,” but if you get there and you haven’t accomplished that, think about the person you’re going to be.
Think about the kind of brand that you want your brand to be—even if you don’t meet that goal, your brand has moved forward, and that’s what it’s all about.
- 48:46 Kyle: You pivot and you adjust. In Cory’s example, you want to run in the Olympics but you lose the ability to use your legs. That’s not the direction you’re going. There is the Paralympics, where there are wheelchair races. If this was me, I can still participate in the Olympics and “run” that distance. I can still be part of that event, but it’s going to be different. It needs to pivot. So many people run into a situation where life has thrown them a curveball or they feel like a failure for whatever reason, and they don’t try to think of the alternatives. They give up on their dreams and their passions, because they don’t think things are going the right way, instead of trying to understand how to turn this into a good situation.
- 49:55 How can I pivot this into something different? I’m sure this has happened, although I don’t know any examples. How powerful is it to know somebody that said, “I’m going to be in the Olympics. I’m going to run and finish this event,” and something happens to them. Maybe they lose their legs, and then they participate in the Paralympics and they win. That’s such an inspiring story, because they did not give up on their dream. Those are the stories that so many people look for. There are many brands that came to a point where they were almost a failure or they were a failure, and they pivoted. They changed and went in a different direction, and they made a success of their brand. They did what they wanted to accomplish because they took a different path instead of giving up.
- 51:11 Cory: I love that word “pivot.” It’s pivoting, it’s adapting. It’s continual forward movement. It’s important to make short term goals in light of long term goals because it can give you that sense of accomplishment, especially in a company. If you’re only ten years out, that’s 3,650 days, approximately. What about the people who aren’t with your company for ten years? They’re only there for two years, and they never accomplish anything because all you’re doing is trying to aim at that long term goal.
- 52:33 Making short term goals will help you accomplish the long term goal. In a much smaller sense, let’s say that there is something I want to accomplish today. I want to be a certain person by the end of this day. I’ll go into my app or write in my journal the things I need to accomplish today to become the person I want to be tonight. That could be to do a podcast, get a haircut, pack for my trip, and all of those things have sub-items to check off on my list. As I go, I feel accomplished because I have forward movement. I’m accomplishing these short term goals. Maybe, for your company or your business, your ten year plan is to be pulling in $100 million a year. This year, you need to bring in $200,000. That’s tangible, something you can accomplish this year that will ultimately help you accomplish the long term goal.
- 53:36 For right now, these short term tasks are helping you get to the larger things. I want to make sure people are making short term goals as well, but they need to exist within where you want to be ten years from now.
Plan What Your Success Looks Like
- 54:09 What does it look like individually, within your company, and for your brand? Be honest with yourself. Are you planning on your brand existing in ten years, or is your current brand, company, or position a stepping stone on the way to something else? Think through this. Have evaluation periods. Say, “Last year, what did it look like? Next year, what is it going to look like? In the next ten years, what is it going to look like?” There are a lot of people who have small businesses right now who don’t want to be doing this in ten years. This is just a stepping stone to get where you want to be.
Know what success looks like for you, because it varies for different people.
- 54:53 It could look like financial profitability, a certain number. It could be a legacy. Maybe my brand isn’t going to be profitable, but it’s going to make a dent in this universe. This last Sunday, a man named Ray Tomlinson died. He was the man who basically invented how an email address looks, the guy who said there needed to be the @ symbol, a host, and this other thing linked to it. He’s heralded as the inventor of email. I was thinking about it, and it shook me, and I was trying to figure out why. That man changed the way that the world works, if you think about it. How many people have email addresses?
- 56:04 I’m pretty sure there are more email addresses than there are people in the world. There are a lot of emails out there. That’s the way the internet functions right now. He has changed the way the people use this world, so he made a huge dent in this universe. Legacy is huge. Success looks different to different people. Maybe it’s about changing an industry. There’s a woman we know in the Community, and she’s an actress. Her goal is to change the theatre industry. No small task! The way actors are viewed as professionals, how they aren’t, how people in theatre are treated, costs, unions, and all this stuff. Her vision is huge.
- 56:57 She may never accomplish it in her lifetime, but she wants to create a legacy and change an industry that she cares so much about. That’s highly admirable. For her, it may never mean financial success or profitability, but she may get the ball rolling so that 50 or 100 years from now, a whole industry changes. That’s huge.
- 57:26 Kyle: Success for her may not necessarily look like being the person known for this, but to at least be a part of it, to have a big role of changing this. It’s something she wants to fight for, so seeing it happen in her lifetime is a big thing. Ironically, that’s part of one of my ten year goals. This has already started to happen, and I’m excited about that—highlighting the importance of icons in the design industry. They’re not a new thing. People have made little symbols of things forever. Back in cave drawings, there are symbols for things, but the way we know icons today in their digital form, using them in interfaces, is a relatively new thing.
- 58:29 It has kind of gotten lost along the way. It’s taken for granted, at least from what I see. People think, “Icons are icons. They just show things.” Part of my goal has been to highlight that and bring icons to the forefront of design, to say, “These are very important. They can target audiences. Businesses need to sell things to sustain themselves, and they have to target an audience to attract the right people.” Imagine every single icon in your app or your website has intention toward attracting your target audience. That’s huge. Every click they make is targeting toward a specific group, and it keeps a cohesive feel of that brand. That’s big for me, something I want to accomplish, and one of my ten year goals, so I connect with where she’s at. That’s really cool.
Cory’s Next Ten Years
- 59:51 Cory: I want you to think bigger and dream bigger. If what you want to accomplish in ten years doesn’t happen in the next ten years, it’s so important to think through where you’ve been over the last ten years and where you want to be. In the last couple of minutes, I want to talk about where Kyle and I want to be in the next ten years, and then I asked the Community where they’re going to be in ten years. If I call you on the phone, send you an email, teleport to your house, or whatever it’s going to be, what will you have accomplished?
- 1:00:37 In ten years, for me, one of our biggest goals right now is moving to Ireland and living in Dublin. In ten years, my kids will be 12 and 10 years old. That’s crazy to me. My daughter is going to be almost a teenager.
- 1:01:04 Kyle: I knew Cory right before he had his daughter, and he’s been raising her. We have weekly calls where we talk, and all of a sudden, one week, she was talking. What? She’s saying things? What’s happening Cory? I’m imagining her being a teenager, and even for me, it blows my mind.
- 1:01:31 Cory: It’s terrifying. Something else I want to have accomplished is a minimum of five published books. That’s my minimum, so I guess I need to up that. The primary passion that my wife and I have is for Third Culture Kids, also known as culturally displaced kids, whose parents are from one culture but they live in another culture. As an example, my wife’s parents are from America, but they live in Vienna, Austria. Kristiana was born in Austria and lived there for the first 18 years of her life. She wasn’t Austrian, and she was American by passport, but she didn’t feel American because she didn’t grow up there.
- 1:02:19 There’s a massive sub-culture around the world of Third Culture Kids that we really care for, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re moving to Ireland, to be able to work more with Third Culture Kids. In ten years, we want to help organizations around the world with their care programs for Third Culture teens. That’s hugely important to me. Those are my big goals that I want to have accomplished and be working on in the next ten years. What about you, Kyle?
Kyle’s Next Ten Years
- 1:02:56 Kyle: This was an interesting exercise, because I tried to go broad—not for the sake of going broad, but because I know that in the next ten years, so many things are going to change. I wanted to be specific about my brand, because I know my brand will shift and mold over time, and it should. One of my big goals is owning a company that sustains itself. Maybe I should push that further. By that, I mean that I could perceivably step away from it and it would continue sustaining itself and it could carry on for a long time. That’s a big goal for me.
- 1:03:45 Owning my own coffee shop is a big goal I have for the future. It’s kind of random, but one of my side passions is coffee, and I love it so much. I mentioned this earlier, but I want to establish the significance of icon design in my industry. That’s a really big one for me, and like I said, I don’t really care if Kyle Adams has the credit for that. I just want that to happen. Having the flexibility to give freely is part of my company sustaining itself. It’s a financial goal. One of my wife’s cousins was going to go on a mission trip to another country, and she needed $1,200 to be able to go. She’s in high school, so she doesn’t have a lot of money and she was trying to raise it.
- 1:04:54 I sincerely wish I could have just given that to her and not thought anything about it. I wish I could have said, “Here’s the rest. Go, it’s going to be awesome!” I want to get to that point. I want to be able to give things to people, and because I don’t believe in going into debt, I need to have a certain amount of my own assets built up. I want to be able to give where I don’t feel like it’s going to cripple me. I still want to be friends with Cory, if he’s not too famous. The big one that I made bold and that I underlined is being healthy. That’s one that I lose sight of a lot, certainly in the last year or so. I want to be at my peak health. Again, that’s a big goal, and I’m happy if I’m just healthy.
- 1:06:07 Cory: I recently bought a copy of Men’s Health magazine, because on the front it has a picture of John Krasinski, who was Jim Halpert in the US version of The Office. For this recent movie he was in, he had to get really buff. He did this whole workout routine, so on the front of this magazine he’s standing there all jacked with his muscles and things. I ripped off the cover and I put it on the inside of my office door. I put it on the door, got a sharpie, and I wrote, “If Jim can do it, you can, too!” That’s my motivation to be healthy and to be fit.
- 1:06:49 It’s not necessarily that I want to look like that, but because I sit at a desk for my job, and I want to be the kind of father to my kids that is the best father I can be. For me, personally, that’s part of what that looks like. We’ll talk about the Community members’ ten years in the after show, but this was really good. This is an incomplete conversation and it looks different for different people. You have to start with who, individually, you want to be, and that plays into what you want your brand to be.
Start personal—your brand and company goals will be an outpouring of who you are and who you want to be.
- 1:08:09 Kyle: There’s a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but it’s seriously great. It’s about going on a juice fast and what it can do for you. There’s this guy who started this trend of going on juice fasts. You take fruits and vegetables and juice them to get all the nutrients from them, and you do that for a certain amount of time. I’ve gotten through ten days of that only, and the documentary is fantastic. I lost 50 pounds in a few months doing it, and I felt better than ever. In the documentary, he starts doing this. He was overweight and in a similar position to what we’re talking about. He wanted to be healthy to continue his life and be there for his family.
- 1:09:21 He started trying this juice fast thing, and he did it for 60 days, I think. It was a long time of just having juice, but in that time, he went to work. He owns a business. They interviewed some of his coworkers, and they said, “He gets here earlier, he has all this clarity, he’s super focused on what he’s doing, and he’s gotten way more done than we’ve ever seen. This is a whole new company.” He felt good and he was getting healthy. He had energy, focus, and he wasn’t lethargic. All of those things play into your brand, your business, and moving forward with these goals.
- 1:10:22 If you wake up in the morning, I’m talking talking about health but this could be anything, and you don’t feel like parts of your life are in the right shape, that distracts you from achieving goals with your brand. It could even affect it on a physical level. If you’re not healthy or trying to be in shape and you wake up and think, “I’m too tired for this,” you won’t have the energy you need to achieve your goals.