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50th - Part 2

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 07/01/22 18:00


Since it was my birthday I’m giving myself the enormously generous present of writing 2 blog posts about my birthday. 

Yesterday I talked about what I’d like to do next, today I’d like to talk about what I do to try to figure out what I’d like to do next. 

There are two important components to this that I’m just hoping to pass on to anyone who might be interested or to take some notes from anyone who has done this better than I have in the past. 

The first is to write a plan. 

That is to take the time and the space, which needs to be on your own, to decide where you would like to go and perhaps how you might like to get there. 

It’s really easy to say that but it’s really, really difficult to do and I’m not even sure it’s possible for everyone to do it. 

This would be the skill of ‘envisioning’, it’s the ability to imagine yourself as a person considerably older than yourself already and to see yourself in that frame and then decide what you would like to be. 

The fact that it’s hard is one of the many reasons that people don’t contribute enough to their pension, they can’t see themselves as the older version of them. 

I first wrote a proper full-on 10 year plan aged 39, I was in Cornwall at my relatives flat and I’d fallen down the stairs. 

I was training for my first half ironman triathlon and I had just driven myself out of competing (probably for the best as I wasn’t fit enough) and I’d been left in for a day on my own while everyone else went out. 

I decided one of the best thing I could do was to start to envision. 

I read back at that now with interest, more than 10 years on as I’ve reached the finish line for that plan, but one of the most poignant things I wrote in that was the following “at 75 I will be alive and have some small ability to contribute to younger people in healthcare to make it better”. 

Almost everything else I wrote in that plan I smashed and then a couple of months ago I started to write another. 

I will have finished the second plan within the next couple of weeks which is the one which will take me (life permitting) to 60. 

The second part of this envisioning process is journaling. 

I’ve been journaling regularly since 2007 and seriously since early 2008 when we had a major health scare within our family which made us entirely reassess our approach to everything to make sure we were in the right place. 

Bizarrely and interestingly I started to seriously journal just weeks before my bosses sold the practice to a corporate which catapulted me in an entirely different direction in my life and I’ve continued to do that (in an irregular, regular fashion) since then. 

I do not write in my journal every day and in fact sometimes weeks and weeks will go by without an entry. 

I write much more when it’s bad than when it’s good (when it’s good I don’t need it’s help) but it charts a pathway through the weeks and months and seasons and years that you can clearly see after 14 years. If you had the product of your journal side-by-side with the plan that you’d hoped, you get something really, really powerful. 

If you remember Mike Tyson’s lesson “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” then you have something concrete to work with. 

If you don’t have a map how can you possibly find where you’re going and if you decide to go somewhere without a map then you accept wholeheartedly where you end up. 

I think 10 year planning is a little bit like 10 year investing. 

There will be ups and there will be downs but in general, it goes in the right direction. 

If I make it to the end of the 10 year plan, I only have another 15 years before I get to that quote above in the blog and then only another 10 until I finish work. 

Time to get back to making the 10 year plan work every single day. 


Blog Post Number - 2971 

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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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