Believe or not, if you do not have a five-year plan cemented in place, you are setting the best roadmap for a fulfilling future. Counterintuitive, isn’t it? The twists and turns you face are a function of the lightning speed of technological innovation, along with the rapid shifts in the global economy. Therefore, it would be self-defeating for you to cement a five-year plan, crystallized solely in the “now.” After all, adaptability is crucial to your professional survival. Phrased differently, stagnation is never an option.
Below are five reasons why you should avoid adopting a five-year plan:
Successful professionals understand the grave importance of adaptability. You must always strive to maintain a fluid perspective, capable of adapting to swift changes in the market, while maintaining an eye towards the innovations of tomorrow. In a traditional product-development model, a team accepts an order to build something, goes to manufacture it and then comes back to discover the market has moved and it’s no longer what the customer wants. Overlooking the quick shifts in the market may spell the end of a lagging corporate strategy, leaving yourself and many other employees commiserating while waiting in line to collect unemployment.
I left my job as a commercial litigator to establish MindWell Coaching and Counseling. My practice focuses on assisting attorneys and distressed professionals who suffer from addiction, depression, stress and acute anxiety. Prior to leaving a well-paying job as an attorney, I spent several months testing the idea, playing multiple rounds of devil’s advocate, and analyzing whether this professional wellness services is now in demand. Had I not spent the time to incubate this idea and tailor my approach to the changes in attitude towards mental health setbacks, MindWell would have failed before it even began.
Establishing short-term goals should always be a deliberate process. When you brainstorm new goals, assess them with your business’s core ideology in mind. Allowing yourself intermittent periods of analysis helps alleviate stress & anxiety, by setting aside “breathing room” to make adjustments to help ensure the viability of your business. It’s never wise to “go all in,” without the flexibility to pivot.
One example is “Sprint-planning.” According to CanadianBusiness.com, sprint-planning is a unique method of placing a team’s focus on short powerful intervals of productive activity—rather than on long-term corporate goals—making it feasible to possible to move quicker, while implementing crucial course corrections immediately. This method alleviates a tremendous amount of workplace stress and anxiety, while developing a sense of camaraderie, along with accountability.
In his interview with CanadianBusiness.com, CEO Matt Friesen of Wantering, a fashion search engine based in Vancouver, “Everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas, which includes selling them to the rest of the team. I’m always impressed with how prepared and thoughtful the team is.”
Very few industries operate under such a unique and proven model (including the legal industry), despite the fact that employee morale is much higher while they operate under this unique process.
Working hard maximizes the opportunities for you to learn and to be in the right mindset to take advantage of opportunities as they come along. In other words, it’s all about putting yourself out there, trying new things, and creating your own luck. Krumboltz writes, “The goal of career counseling is to help clients learn to take actions to achieve more satisfying career and personal lives—not to make a single career decision.”
A commonality among the successful is they are willing to place themselves in unfamiliar situations, where unbeknownst to them, a stroke of luck affords them a chance to do something special and satisfying. Simply put, confidence fuels success. Fear of failure is the toxic recipe for stagnation.
When I began MindWell, my ears were flooded with naysayers and pessimists. It would have been simple for me to mail it in and go back to a well-paying job. However, I was so tired of losing friends and colleagues to addiction and mental health issues, that nothing could dissuade me from my mission to help those suffering in silence. I placed mental health concerns and addiction at the forefront of public discourse and now professionals are coming around to taking care of their mental health.
Boredom is the kryptonite to employee enthusiasm. Nowadays, young professionals yearn for new challenges. Why? Because millennial employees want to be involved in solving a novel issue that transcends their respective industries. As new challenges arise, a business stocked with excited, ambitious minds is primed to collaborate towards a common goal is primed to succeed.
MindWell represented an extremely challenging opportunity for me to place addiction and mental health issues at the forefront. Essentially, I’ve flipped the unspoken rule of never addressing depression and addiction “on its head.”
A “know-it-all” knows nothing and is doomed to fail. Industry innovations ignite creativity, fuels cost-effective solutions and promote collaboration among professionals of varying disciplines. As Peter Arvai pointed out, diversity of thought and background is good for business. According to The Intelligence Group, 88% of millennial’s prefer a collaborative work environment over a competitive one. When you have “all hands on deck,” visions can transform into reality.
When I set out to establish MindWell, I created it as solution to help distressed professionals and lawyers, in particular. Law firms have now turned to specialized software to complete tasks once delegated to attorneys. Rather than wait for my pink slip, I decided to collaborate with my wife and a few nationally recognized figures to bring mental health and addiction to the forefront of public discourse.
Moving forward, my business plan will continue to shift, fluid in its philosophy and capable of maneuvering shifting market forces. Something tells me I am onto something, as lawyers and high-functioning professionals are shifting away from their initial career paths. Either way, I’ll always keep working towards refining my message, the services MindWell offers and allow the market to dictate which path to take to realize success and happiness.
Dan Sarfati is a former litigator and "BIG" law attorney. While in Big law, he drank heavily, smoked cigarettes, and became an addict. Luckily, he decided to resign, get sober and get active. While in practice, Dan noticed lawyers were killing themselves in all sorts of different ways, slowly or quickly. He became tired of losing friends to addiction and mental health issues. So he created MindWell, which focuses on coaching and counseling professionals suffering from depression/anxiety/stress/addiction, or just feel stuck. His ability to empathize, actively listen, and help lost professionals adapt are his hallmarks. In addition to individual coaching, Dan lectures at universities, conducts workshops, and assists firms and companies on integrating well- constructed wellness programs to maximize employee retention, along with improving employee engagement.