“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” is an aphorism often attributed to George Eliot, the 19th-century novelist. Eric Johnson, MBA’01, executive career coach and executive director of the IU Kelley School of Business Graduate and Career Services, reflects daily on that sentiment and encourages those he coaches to do the same.
It’s still early in 2020—a good time to follow Johnson’s lead by conducting some personal and professional self-evaluations. Then, based on your discoveries, take the time to set some goals for the upcoming months.
Here are three questions Johnson suggests asking yourself each day to establish a personal vision:
Who am I today?
Being honest with yourself about who you are today, including all of your strengths and weaknesses, heightens self-awareness. Johnson suggests looking at five main areas to answer this question—your personality, skills, interests, values, and demeanor. Creating a personal inventory with these five attributes can provide an enormous amount of insight into who you are, where you’re happy, what you don’t want to change, and areas in which you hope to evolve.
Who do I want to be?
Rather than focusing on a 10-year plan, create a short-term personal vision that looks ahead one to three years. Start with a personal vision statement that highlights what you want to accomplish, the relationships you wish to build or maintain, the environment you hope to exist within, and the ways in which you will experience joy.
How will I get there?
With a clear and concise vision and a heightened sense of self, you can begin to make choices about what you will do to improve yourself. Focus on a single issue and practice it daily.
For Johnson, focusing on one aspect of his personal vision at a time has made him more consistent with following through on commitments and has given him a more positive perspective.
The past, he says, does not define who you are. He advises to move forward one day at a time and take every opportunity to evolve into the best version of yourself.
This story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of the IU Alumni Magazine, a magazine for members of the IU Alumni Association. To view the current and past issues of the IUAM, visit MyIU.org.