Many moons ago, I had a boyfriend who would say “I'll plan the day when it's over, that way I know the day will have gone exactly to plan”. At the time, I would laugh fondly, thinking “of course everything would go to plan if you plan it backwards! How could it not?!” As time goes by, I realise how much wisdom there was in this way of thinking...
Now I am NOT saying that we should just let things happen to us and pretend that was the plan all along. My point is that if we plan where we would like to be at a given point in time, we can work out the steps that we must take in order to get there (or as close to that as we can).
When I graduated from University (for the third, and what my parents hoped so desperately would be the final time), I was faced – as so many young people are – with so many possibilities for the direction in which I might take my life. In the moment, it was easy to be overcome with fear and perfection paralysis. In that moment, I decided to take a very different approach: to live my life backwards.
This all boiled down to one question: What do I want to look back and say about my life when I'm 90?
Was money important? No.
Was success important? What did success even mean...? (which proved in itself to be somewhat of a rabbit hole)
Was stability important? Not as much as I had previously thought it might be?
So what was important? A career that was helping other people.... Spending time with the people I love the most... My physical and mental health... Working with creativity, authenticity and integrity... and having as many adventures as I could along the way.
For me, these realisations form a benchmark. Whenever I am faced with a big decision, and also at regular intervals throughout life, I remember these principles and I weigh them up against my dreams and my options. Without this, I wouldn't have travelled much, I wouldn't have started my career in charity, and I would certainly not have taken the leap to quit my job and launch Deha Visuals.
And yes, I hear what you're saying - “Thats great... but how does that apply to my life or my business?” Funny you should ask...
Break it down
Using this principle of working backwards, you can figure out where you want to be. This doesn't have to be when you're 90. It could be in 1, 5 or 10 years' time. Do you want to own your own studio space? Do you want to own a business that would allow you to travel for months at a time? Do you want 10,000 Instagram followers? It doesn't matter what it is, it just matters that you have a goal in sight.
Take a look at where you are at now
Try to take a step back for a moment and really see where you are at right now. Is your brand taking you in the direction of your dreams or does it need some work to get you to where you need to be? What do you do well? What could do with more work? Can your loved ones offer some constructive criticism on your business?
Work out the next steps
Whatever it is that you want, work backwards from there. What would you need to have in place to be there? Now you can break it down and work out what your next steps should be. Try breaking these down into daily, weekly and monthly steps to keep you on track. I like to do this at regular intervals (at least monthly) to make sure I never stray too far off course. Remember this is more about moving in the right direction, and it is often not helpful to beat yourself up if you don't move as quickly to your goal as you might like. Progress is Progress!
Good luck – and let me know how you get on!