Flower in Kyoto, Japan.
Business, The Journey

Go Where You Want To Grow (51.61%)

Can you believe it? We’re halfway through the #my500words challenge!

Before I dive headfirst into today’s topic – long-term goals – I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who has shown their support for this wacky little social experiment of mine. From words of encouragement to post suggestions and social media shares, you all have been the best accountability partners a gal could ask for. I mean it: go give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back (or glass of wine or whatever your indulgence of choice may be).

Alright, it’s goal time.

Today’s post suggestion comes from my friend Chris, a fellow Saskatchewanian and the entrepreneurial engineer behind Legion Construction. What I value most about my friendship with Chris is that we’ve never been ones for small talk (the introvert‘s arch nemesis); instead, we dive straight into the highs and woes of small business ownership: the long hours, the wins, the fears, and all the awkward in-betweens. This is friendship at its finest: helping one another in good times and in not-so-good times.

True to form, Chris dug deep with his suggestion for the blog:

What are your long-term goals and how do you set yourself up for them in your career?

In Canada, I worked 9-to-5 as a strategic planner; I spent my days helping clients develop comprehensive business plans to position them for long-term success. And I liked it!

You’d think that this planning mindset would naturally spill over into my entrepreneurial venture… but alas, it did not.

When I launched Paper Plane Communications in 2014, I had no idea what it would/could be and how I would/could get it there. All I knew was that operating under a registered business would boost my credibility in the business world, and I’d suddenly have access to tax write-offs for work I was already doing.

For almost a full year, I did precisely what I discouraged my clients from doing: working in a constant state of reactivity. I was an ambitious business owner with poor business sense. A strong gust of wind could have knocked me right off my feet.

Now, this doesn’t mean I wasn’t capable of keeping the business afloat (or, for you lovers of wordplay, keeping my Paper Plane in the air); I simply failed, time and again, to articulate a vision for something that has since become a most cherished extension of myself. Was it laziness? Ignorance? Hesitation? I’m not sure I’ll ever have the answer to that one.

What I do know, though, is that when I made the decision to leave my full-time job and move to Australia, I promised myself that I’d treat my business as I did my former clients. I started asking hard questions: where did I see myself in a year… five years… a decade? What targets did I want to hit and how could I monitor my progress to make sure I hit them?

Questions like these are hard to ask and harder to answer for one great reason: they’re important.

From this process, I discovered that certain services I’d been offering no longer brought me joy, whereas others had me up and at my computer typing excitedly by 7:00AM. Because I’ve invested the time to understand my business today and plan for my business tomorrow, I am able to enjoy the benefits of living proactively, not reactively.

I titled this post “Go Where You Want to Grow” because the only way to something is through it… not around it.

If you want to be a writer, then write.

If you want to be a painter, then paint.

If you want to be a carpenter, then… build stuff with wood.

You get the idea.

I may not always have a clear, fixed set of long-term goals, nor a neat and tidy guidebook to get me there, but I’ve learned to trust that when you give focused attention to where you want to grow and you go there… you’re doing it right.

Now it’s time to hear from you: what’s on your dream board? What steps do you take to go from dream to done?


P.S. I want to take a second to wish my brilliant baby brother Tom the happiest of birthdays. From him I’ve learned that no goal is out of reach. Wishing I could be with you to celebrate another successful cycle around the sun!

Brother and sister in Kyoto, Japan.

Tom and I in Kyoto, Japan.

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  • Reply Kari May 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    As a serial procrastinator, I find accountability is my best motivator. Once I decide on a goal, I try to tell anyone and everyone I can about it. That plants the seed of “everyone knows so I might as well get going on it” and voila – an acceptable level of productivity!

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