It is ok to not have all the answers. Sometimes just starting the journey is enough to get you to the next place. What is important is to have a sense of direction.
In financial planning we talk about goals. A lot. Goals provide a framework for discussions relating to opportunities, options, and strategy. For instance, retirement in 5 years may be a goal. Is it necessary to know exactly where you will live, how you will live, and what you will be doing? Not really. It is okay to just have a sense of direction, knowing it can or will change. Maybe you retire in 7 years or in two years.
In business, we talk about goals. Maybe their revenue goals, sales goals, operational goals, or customer satisfaction goals. Is it useful? Maybe. It could be one way to determine compensation or another way to measure success or failure. For many businesses, (like personal goals), it is arbitrary.
Many people are turned off by goals. Others may not have specific goals and think that planning will not be very useful unless they have goals. Some may feel that goals are an artificial means of outwitting the universe.
Whatever your belief, what is important is to have a sense of direction. What happens along the way is what keeps you moving. How you experience your journey may fuel your sense of purpose, may provide clarity, or may not even seem to be useful in that moment. You have heard the expression “people plan, G-d laughs”. Things will happen that reinforce your direction or incent you to try a new direction altogether.
Today I counseled a young person who just graduated from college. He was looking for his first job and his area of interest included financial planning and insurance. He asked me, knowing what I now know, would I have done anything differently. Great question, and one for which I did not have an immediate answer. Back then I did not know what I didn’t know and made decisions based on what I did know, which wasn’t much. However, I made sure I learned new things that allowed me to pivot, go deeper if I liked something, change direction if I did not, and kept learning. I think I would do it again.
What would you do?