Stop Asking me what’s my 5 Years Plan!

Everyone already got this question, in an interview, in a mentoring session, in a manager talk. Everyone got the “what you want to be when you grow up?” question, the “how do you see yourself in 5 years?” question.

I was just thinking about it recently and suddenly it was very clear to me that we have been asking the wrong questions. We failed to understand how the fast changing pace of now a days world completely made those questions obsolete.

But I understand, right now a lot of people is shaking their heads and thinking “there is no accomplishments without planing”, “how can you know you got there if you don’t know where is there?” and for those people all I have to say is… I completely agree with you.

Yes I really do! The only thing I do believe is that we should be making a different question. We should ask people about their goals, about what drives them. To show a little bit better why I reach this conclusion I need to go back 10 years ago.

At that time I was finishing the 8th grade and two questions I got asked very often were “what you want be when you grow up?” and “what Bachelor degree do you want to pursue?”. In those days there was one topic that was very trending, Globalization. I had a very clear understanding that I wanted to bring change to the world, I wanted to make a difference and that the best way to do so would be through diplomacy and international forums such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and others.

Seen so I decided my mission, get into International Relations Bachelor course, graduate and become a diplomat to change the world.

5 years latter, in 2012, I had accomplished part of that, I was in the second year of the IR Bachelor course, had participated in a dozen of UN Simulations and had been invited to represent Brazil in the G-20 Youth Forum in Saint Petersburg.

Everything appeared to be according to the plan, except that the world had changed quite a bit in the last 5 years. Institutions were been questioned. Entrepreneurship, NGOs and Social Media were the new world game changer. The power of the everywhere people thinking, creating and most importantly connecting was what really mattered.

At this point I decide to start a lot of different projects, always with my goal in mind, “bring change to the world, I wanted to make a difference”. I and an amazing group of people started the Junior Chamber, an organization to promote debate, knowledge and Entrepreneurship. We developed the first Market Simulation for College Level Students.

For the next two or there years I developed and delivered a lot of exciting project, met great people from different parts of the world and had to opportunity to learn about so many different things. I learned to wright and negotiate a contract, but I also learned to create websites and edit videos and pictures. I learned how to deal with different kinds of people because none of us thinks or feel equally and, for sure, I made a lot of mistakes and learned from them a great deal too.

Today, ten years after deciding to be a diplomat and pursue an international career and 5 years after deciding that I would have my own business. I am not doing any of those, yet I am absolutely sure I am fulfilling my goals. I have been working in IBM for the last 2 and a half years. I had the opportunity to learn from an amazing team, talk and listen to clients from different industries with different backgrounds and different dreams.

I am working in a company that helped change the world many times, that helped the man go to the moon, that is helping to build the foundation for a Cognitive Era. A company that is helping doctors to define better cancer prognosis, that is speeding up the search for a cure. A company that engage the challenge of creating a better educational system that will ensure the education of the future generations. I am working in a company that helps it’s clients serve better their customers, that help our clients create a better working environment for their collaborators, that defends and have diversity in it’s DNA.

Today, as 5 and 10 years ago, I am fulfilling my goal. I am not executing my 5 years or 10 years plan but i am doing what I really wanted to do.

For that reason what I invite you all to do is to Think. What is your goal, what you want to be your mark, and what is the best think you could do now to accomplish that.

With honest answers to those questions, you will know what to do.

One last thing, my original goal was too generic and for that reason I have improved it. So remember that your goal need to be clear, it need to bee a letter of intention, a calling reason that can be achieved.

Hope I had contributed to your day and please leave your comments bellow.