Where Will You Be In 5 Years?

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“Where do you see yourself in five years?” That’s a pretty common job interview question. The answer, of course, is “Someplace better than the pathetic job I’m applying for right now.” I was talking about this question recently with a friend of mine who works in Human Resources, and she said that most applicants respond to this question with what she called “lofty, unrealistic goals.” She went on to say, “The truth is, five years really isn’t all that much time, and the odds are that where you are five years from now will probably look a whole lot like where you are right now.”

The really sad part is that she’s right. For most people, whether you own your own business or work for somebody else, five years probably isn’t going to make a huge difference. That’s because for most people, one day is pretty much like another. You get up, go to work, come back home, and do it all over again the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat. And all of a sudden you’re getting a watch for 25 years of service, and you wonder where the time went. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can create an entire world for yourself in five years. Let’s take a look at the Beatles.

For most Americans, the Beatles began on February 9, 1964. That’s the day the Fabs first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. 1964. Keep that year in mind. Now let’s jump ahead just five years (which, for most bands today, might be two or three albums, tops). 1969. Specifically, August 20, 1969. An historic day in Beatles history, because it’s the last time all four Beatles would ever be in a recording studio together. So, in the span of just five years, they went from I Want To Hold Your Hand through Sgt. Pepper, the White Album, and Let It Be, all the way to Abbey Road, and for good measure completing several world tours and at least three feature-length movies.

So, basically, the Beatles’ entire recorded output happened in just five years.

My HR friend was right: five years really isn’t all that much time. But it turns out that it’s not about the amount of time you have—it’s what you do with it.

So the big question remains: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Take some time to answer that question. And, although my HR friend might disagree, I want you to set “lofty, unrealistic goals.” After all, in just five years the Beatles conquered the world. So what’s stopping you?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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