One of the more valuable exercises in "The E-Myth Revisited" was answering the series of questions which define one's personal aim. Following are the questions (underlined) and my answers to them.
As a small incentive to try the exercise yourself, I'll edit this post and link to anyone who e-mails me a link to a post on their blog answering the same questions. I think you'll find it valuable, and it's probably a good introduction to potential new readers.
My answers aren't in any sort of order. I was hungry when I wrote this, so food seems to make it to the top of some of the lists.
What do I want my life to look like?
Full of good, healthy food
Eating healthy is a priority for me, initially for the health benefits and now because I derive a deep satisfaction from eating well and treating my body well.
Lots of time spent doing interesting things with my friends
Besides just spending time with my friends, I want to spend time traveling with them, learning with/from them, and building things with them.
A comfortable but exciting relationship with my girlfriend
Parts of the relationship should be comfortable and predictable, but I never want for any relationship to become routine, taken for granted, or boring. Some parts of it should be exciting, unknown, and unpredictable.
Frequent authentic traveling
I want to visit a lot of places, but even as I become wealthier, I never want to cloister myself in five star hotels and remove myself from the grit of daily local life. That doesn't mean that I'll avoid luxury, but it won't be the standard.
I want my life to continue to be marked by constant learning and interest in new subjects. This is easy now that I'm young, but I know that as people age things change.
Spending time with my family (including extended family)
I'm very lucky to have an amazing family, and I want for my life to always include them, including my extended family which sometimes doesn't get enough attention.
Fans who count on me to improve their lives
I always want to have people who follow my work and find it valuable, not just for entertainment, but also because it makes a concrete difference in their lives.
Access to people who are the best in their field
One of the main reasons I want celebrity is to have easier access to high profile people. Anyone with any sort of public life gets more requests for his time than he can accommodate, and I'd like for people who receive my requests to be excited about them.
Constant open mindedness and experimentation with new things.
Like the constant learning, I want to always keep my sense of adventure and willingness to try different things.
What do you want your life to look like on a daily basis?
What would I like to be able to say I truly know in my life about my life?
I want to know that my life was lived with conscious thought put into as much of it as possible, that it was lived with integrity, that I always did what I thought was best, and that other people benefited from me being alive.
How would I like to be with other people in my life - friends, family, business associates, customers, employees, community?
I want to be someone who can be counted on to listen, to do a favor, and for motivation. I want my friends to be successful and to know that I am rooting for them. I want to be empathetic and to be able to put myself in their shoes and act accordingly.
I want to express my love and gratitude to my family. I want them to be able to rely on me when they need it.
I want to make deals that are mutually beneficial, over deliver, make my expectations clear and reasonable, and do the right thing whether it's contractual or not.
I want to deliver work of the highest quality to customers, and for my name to be synonymous with excellence. I want to treat customers with respect, not talk down to them, and to treat them like real people with real lives. I don't want to sell things to people that won't be of real value.
I want to give employees jobs that matter to them. I want to have very clear communication, so that employees know what they're responsible for, and know that I appreciate the work they do. I want to motivate employees to pursue excellence.
I don't really care, to be totally honest. It would be nice to be recognized by the community as an asset, but it's not important to me to please everyone.
How would I like people to think about me?
I would like for people to think about me accurately, for better or worse. It's more important to me that people know about me than how they feel about me.
What do I want to be doing 2,10,20 years from now? At the end of my life?
2 (age 30)
I want to be entrenched in a business that I love and believe in. I'd like to have gained more focus. I'd like to be doing some sort of public speaking (a couple times a year at least) that impacts people in such a way that they take action, (like how I am taking action with this book) (maybe more than 2 years, but less than 10).
10 (age 38)
It's probably time to have kids by then. Money should be permanently taken care of. I should be fluent in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and maybe French. Involvement in my business should be overall strategy and work that I genuinely enjoy. I should probably have my submarine by then.
20 (age 48)
can't really imagine what it's like to be that old, and can't really imagine anything beyond my 38 year goals. The one thing that comes to mind is that it would be nice to have some land and a huge house / compound for friends, family, and future family to enjoy. There should also be enough money in some sort of trust that maintenance is perpetually guaranteed.
End of Life
Who knows? I would like to have written things I've learned which were valuable to me so that I can pass them on to people who are interested.
What would I like to learn in my life?
Everything. I don't think I understand the question.
How much money will I need, and when?
1m by 32. 100m by 38. I hate these questions because I know that I am happy no matter how much money I have. I picked one million by thirty two because by then I will probably be starting to think about a family, and having that amount of money will probably mean that I'm where I want to be, businesswise.
I picked $100m by 38 because I really want to buy the Phoenix 1000 submarine, and that's about how much it will cost including enough reserves to pay for the upkeep perpetually
I think this is a great exercise for providing a clear vision of what you want your perfect life to be. However, becasue the answers relate to a very long term outlook, accomplishment of everything can be difficult. The problem is, like New Years Resolutions, everything tends to be visualized far enough in the future that no immediate progress is ever made, and consequently, no long term progress is made either.
Another question that should be added is, "What have I done this week to move closer to my ideal life?" Asing oneself this on a weekly if not DAILY basis is a sure fire way to keep moving towards ones dream-life.
A submarine... That's pretty awesome. I once researched the possibility of getting married in a submarine in the great barrier reef.. Instead I found a site that offers weddings in a submarine for $5000 in Hawaii. Though the distractions might be too large to say I do.
Bullshit @ comments
Having a vision is something that is crucial.
Who are any of you to question somebodies goals/aspirations? You have no right.
i have no doubt you'll accomplish every last bit of it. this post makes me very proud of you. you deserve it.
Tony the Tiger - very good point you have made.
I must say besides what Tony pointed out, I highly enjoyed this article.
Previous birthdays never really meant much to me. At eighteen I could buy cigarettes and porn, but I didn't because I don't smoke and know what the internet is. At twenty one I could buy alcohol, but didn't because I don't drink. I could gamble, too, but had already been doing it for years online. At twenty five I could rent cars at a discounted rate. That was a little bit exciting, but not exactly a life changer.
So when thirty rolled around, I didn't expect much. And, of course, the actual day didn't really change anything, but the increasing comprehension that my twenties were over did change something. I got serious.
My first ten years were spent filling diapers, and then drawing with crayons. It's tough to expect much from a 0-9 year old, and I'm sure I just about met those expectations.
My next ten years were spent learning, mostly. I learned how to make money, how to write, how to do math, and how to speak some Chinese and Spanish. A lot of my good friends were met during these years, too. So the 10-19 age range was mostly experiencing the world and building up a collection of reference experiences to help me understand it. The foundations of who I "am" were built during these years. I became a nerd, I became interested in Asia, I neglected social skills to the point that I would later have to become a pickup artist, I gained a deep understanding of risk and reward, became an entrepreneur, and I started exploring things.
If anyone else is like me, they have more than one 'version' of themselves and each one serves almost a different purpose. For example, I'm the happy, confident and generally carefree me in front of my friends and mostly my family, however, with a certain group of my friends, the closer ones to me the people I actually trust, I also show them the me when I'm down and vulnerable. And of course with my lover I show him all of me, when I'm happy and carefree as well as when Im troubled or depressed ^ ^
So that's images - what other people show us and what we choose to show other people. Next is masks. Basically the same but with more of a 'hiding' element to it. So for example, a few days back I was feeling super depressed, really sick of life and I was only online to try and distract myself from my suicidal thoughts when a friend began talking to me. Talking to him, I had to act completely normal, which to be honest can be pretty tiring especially when I was already feeling so exhausted mentally to begin with.
Wearing masks in front of people has become basically second nature to me and I do it naturally like everyone else, to hide my weaknesses from other people. Not only my friends but my family, pretending I'm ok even when inside I'm torn apart. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not playing it like I'm the only person on earth who does this, I have to yet to find someone who doesn't, but I just want some more opinions on this and maybe some clarification as to why I don't feel like I can trust my family?
Also, I'm really selfish. Even when I hide my pain from other people, I sort of still expect them to notice I'm not ok, really selfish I know and basically seeking attention but sometimes I think we all need that- someone who can understand how youre feeling without you telling them. My boyfriend always somehow seems to be able to tell that I'm feeling depressed sometimes even before I notice which is pretty crazy but also rather nice; knowing theres someone out there you don't have to act in front of, who loves you and understands you and knows you as well as you know yourself ^ ^
Next is 'worlds', not literal worlds hence why its in quotation marks. Like many people, I keep my personal and family life apart. Yes I call it personal not social simply cuz I find that I 'socialize' with people I don't trust and include my friends as part of 'personal' since these are the people I trust.