Big question eh? I used to wonder the same myself. In fact, it drove me a little mad to be honest. Especially when I reached the point where I had everything you would think I could possibly want. Huge job, huge company, matching title, smart car, big holidays, plenty of money going out in generous donations.
Imagine my surprise to find this was not it after all. I had ‘made it’, and I really truly had not.
I rocked up at a 121 with my boss.
‘I don’t know what I’m on this planet for’ I said.
‘And if I don’t work it out real soon, I think I’m going to leave’.
The horror on his face was palpable. Not that I had said I was going to leave, but this was no question to be putting on the table in a regular 121. We were there to talk about project plans, budgets, maybe even a little strategy, but life purpose?? No, no, no.
He did what any great boss would do. Turned to his laptop and started to send an email. He looked up.
‘I’ll get you a coach’.
Beginning coaching with that question was just the start.
My new coach knew what she was doing. She guided me through a series of questions and slowly but surely, I started to understand where my gifts were, what my heart was longing for. I jumped on a plane to Spain and spent four weeks over the course of a year digging deeper into who I am and what I am here for.
It was clear it was something to do with releasing potential, allowing people to see their true selves and reconnect with their brilliance. I had just been promoted, I was now leading 10,000 people. I could make this work.
And then it wasn’t enough. Again.
I was having an amazing time. Testing new hypothesis, leading in new ways and yet it wasn’t enough. I wanted more time to really be with people, especially women, who I could now see were often getting a tougher gig in the world.
I wanted to express myself without a corporate brand draped around my shoulders. I wanted to teach what I knew.
Fast forward a year and I’ve co-founded a business and things are going pretty well for a new gig in town. But it’s still not enough (spot a theme here?). My life is incredible, I’m in love with what I do and how I get to be and I want more people to have access to the things I have seen and learned.
I sign up with one of the world’s leading coaches and I’m looking for the silver bullet.
How do I change lives at scale? I want people to know what I know.
This guy doesn’t come cheap. You don’t need to when you’re one of the best out there and actually, his pricing sends a clear signal to his clients, ‘only come if you’re all in’. He calls it a ‘Hell Yeah’.
I got all in and invested a very significant amount of money. Whilst we were doing well for a start-up, this was a big deal – my well-earned savings from the corporate world were slowly and steadily dwindling and I wanted to create a shift fast. I believed Rich had the answers.
On our second session, I rocked up impatient and ready to get moving.
‘It’s not going fast enough’ I said. ‘I know what I want to create and I’m doing all the things and we haven’t tipped into the next level. I don’t want you to coach the answers out of me today, I want you to tell me what I need to do’.
I would have smiled too if it had been me on the other side of the screen. I’ve been in the coaching business a long time and I always smile when people come to me looking for a step-by-step blueprint. It doesn’t quite work like that (although let’s be clear, as each one of us learns and writes what we learn, we’re sharing as much of our blueprint as we possibly can).
‘What do you want to create that you haven’t got, Danielle?’ he asked me.
I paused. I’d been thinking about this for a while.
‘I want 10,000 heart centred leaders changing corporations from the inside and changing the world’ I said. ‘And as far as I possibly can, I want to create that through a movement of Remarkable Women. I want to change the world and I want to create a tribe of women who will do it with me’.
Let’s blow this thing up
His smile got bigger.
‘So, let’s go forward 25 years into the future. If you looked back on your life then and saw that there were 10,000 heart centred leaders changing the world because of your leadership, would that be enough for you?’.
‘Yes, of course’ I replied. ‘That’s exactly what I want’.
‘Then let me share a secret with you’.
Get ready for this. It’s bigger than you think.
‘90 days is 1% of 25 years, Danielle.
You don’t need to create all this tomorrow.
You simply need to move your business forward 1% every 90 days.
And in 25 years, you’ll be looking back on something quite spectacular indeed.
Come back and tell me what you’re going to do in the next 90 days that moves you forward 1% and we’ll take it from there’.
I both loved and hated it.
And I came back for my next session, with the one thing that would move myself forward by 1% and then I went away and made it happen. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I’m currently working on the 4th percent of my 25 year plan.
Oh, and I also changed the number to 50,000. What the hell – I’ve got 25 years to make it happen, right?
Your 25 Year Plan
The concept of the 25 year plan comes from another coach, called Dan Sullivan, as far as I am aware. He runs an organisation called Strategic Coach that works with entrepreneurs all over the world. He’s in his 70s and already in his third 25 year plan (which I really love). Without doubt, Rich has adjusted the concept to work for him, and here I am, sharing with you the ways in which I have adjusted that approach to work even better for me.
What I love about it is it enables me to dream big. To stretch into my deepest ambitions and own them fully. And when I look at today, or even the next couple of months, all I have to do is choose one thing to focus on that will take me forward by 1 percent. And when those 90 days are up, I simply rinse and repeat. Go again. And again and again.
Tiny steps, HUGE momentum.
You can do pretty much anything if you give yourself 25 years to do it.
Don’t believe me? Look back on what you’ve done in the last 25 years. I guarantee it’s more than you ever imagined possible.
And I bet you didn’t even plan that much of it.
Imagine if you did.
It’s your North Star
The innate beauty of the 25 Year Plan is it offers you a lot of time, which means you have permission to set your North Star as a very big and bold goal. Just take a moment to look back on where you were 25 years ago. Could you have imagined being here, now, doing the things you are doing?
25 years ago, I was a kid at University, thinking I could be Prime Minister. 23 years ago I earned less than 10% of what I do today. My life has changed exponentially and that was without having a North Star to guide me. Imagine what I can create now that I am setting out my stall and aiming big.
You may know your big creative goal right now, you may have an inkling of what it might be or you may have only the tiniest of clues. Don’t be kidding yourself that you have no idea at all, because I call bullshit on that. Start with this question,
‘What would you create, if you believed you could?’
I say this again and again when I’m working with smart women.
Just because you don’t know how to do something, does not mean that you have to wait until you do before you get started.
We start from simply believing it is possible. It sounds bonkers, until you remember all of the incredible inventions that have entered our world, simply started with someone believing they could. And getting going with it. How else do you think we ended up with men on the moon, televisions, the world wide web, cures for the most horrific diseases?
The surest way of ensuring that you don’t ever create your deepest dreams is believing that they simply aren’t possible.
The thing that is making them impossible is the fact that your beliefs that you can’t, will have you never start.
When we step into the possibility of a 25 year goal, we can dream big. It gives us the luxury of a lot of time to work with. Anything is possible within 25 years. Really. Think about it. The internet is only 30 years old.
25 years ago we could never have imagined being able to press a button that would not only order a taxi straight to our home, but even have the ability to update us every second on where the driver actually is.
We are finding new ways to combat disease and in 2015 the average life expectancy of a human being in the UK was 80.5 compared to 76.5 in 1995, adding four years to human life. Given the rate of change in technology and the world, it’s hard to even imagine where we will be in 25 years. Change has never happened so fast.
A lot can happen in 25 years.
Which means, it might just be time to step into believing you could create something incredible after all.
You know, now you’ve given yourself enough time to do it.
What’s your mission Remarkable One?
Go on, get creating just 1% of it.
90 days to make it happen.
Bigger than you’ve ever given yourself permission to dream. The tiniest steps to get there.
Let’s be remarkable together,