Why can’t we live like we did that summer?
It seems to me that everyone has a golden age in the past or a vision of the future where everything seems idyllic. The question is, why is that time not right now?
I recall one such golden summer in 2000, paying dirt-cheap rent for a house a few hundred metres from Freshwater Beach.
At the time I worked in a drab office in the CBD with dreams of escape. I vividly recall hopping off the ferry and walking home down the promenade, ripping the tie off, and looking forward to a gloriously barefoot weekend in a cockroach-infested seaside heaven. Josh Pyke’s song The Summer always takes me back.
At the time I had no idea I was living the dream, if indeed I really was. Rose-coloured glasses aside, I think that one reason we don’t truly appreciate the joy of now is that we lack a clear business vision of where we’re going; or, for that matter, of how far we’ve come.
"One reason we don’t truly appreciate the joy of now is that we lack a clear vision of where we’re going; or, for that matter, of how far we’ve come."
Back when I first came across Flying Solo’s book, before I was even involved, I recall being intrigued by its vision exercise called ‘Wish you were here’, which helps you create an inspiring yet achievable vision of your ideal business, and life.
Among other things, it asks you to project into the future and:
- Describe your home and office – how it looks, how it makes you feel, what images do you see in the environment around you.
- Describe a typical day – how you spend your time, what appointments you have, how you are feeling personally and professionally.
- Describe your relationships – who is important to you, how do you spend time together and where are things headed.
- Describe your outlook on life – how are you physically, mentally, what hobbies you enjoy and what do you want more of and less of in your life and business.
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After taking you through specific actions to get on the right path and identifying how to measure your progress, the exercise culminates in writing yourself a postcard from the future, where you distil your business vision down to its most compelling elements.
Yes, it sounded very airy-fairy to me too, but I’ve actually found it extremely powerful. I go through the exercise each year with my then house guest and now wife.
Not only does it help you make the decisions that take you in the right direction, but when you look back it shows you exactly how far you’ve come. It helps strike the balance between constantly striving for more, yet also being content with what you’ve got now.
I’ve just re-read my 2007 vision for five years ahead and it’s not too far off the mark. Turns out that we’re living in what will become our golden years, we’re just not always conscious of it.
Ah, the bittersweet nostalgia of it all. I’m off for a swim.
Do you have fond memories of golden days past? Or is your very best still to come?