A “Coffee with Colm” Blog – Are you where you thought you’d be by now? Have you a 2020 Vision for your life? (or are you just drifting?)

How old are you?

What is your date of birth?

How old will you be on that date in 2020? Shout out the answer – funny how, when I ask that question in my seminars, all the ladies are always 25!

Why am I asking? Because we, all of us, mark our birthdays, even if it’s just to acknowledge another year down and God willing, you will be that age on that date in 2020.

Recently I had the pleasure of addressing a group called Limerick Networkers, and I took them through an exercise to help them figure out are they on track or are they simply drifting. That experience, along with of my ‘Patchwork Quilts Theory’ blog of last week (which got over 2,000 views thank you), makes me think it is timely to invite you to address your 2020 Vision.

Let’s imagine together, your birthday in 2020? Go with me here. (might be worth your while getting pen and paper)

  • Again, what age will you be? (Me: 57)
  • How do you feel about being that age? Excited? Depressed? Meh!? (Me: Super-excited!)
  • What day of the week will it fall on? (Me: Monday)
  • How many months away is it? (to find out, input the date here: http://www.howlongagogo.com/) (Me: 29)
  • While you are there, find out how many weeks? (Remember the week is a perfect patch in the fabric of life so you’re going to want to make each week work for you – see last week’s blog for more on this – link provided at bottom of blog) (Me: 127)

Remember you will be this age on that date regardless of what you do between now and then.

So, here’s the real question I’d like to pose this week; would you like elements of your life to be better than they currently are on your birthday in 2020? Circle your answer:

  • Yes? (Me: yes)
  • No?

If yes, we’ll be exploring how and in what ways you’d like your life to be better below.

Are you still with me? Let’s imagine your birthday in 2020 is a Perfect Day for you. What might it look like?

On your birthday in 2020:

  • Is business/your career good? How good? Are you happy with what you earn? What do you earn? Are you taking the day off? Switching off your phone for the day?
  • Are you happy with where you live? Where? Describe your home:
  • Are you happy with the car you drive? What make and model is it? Leather interior? Colours inside and out?
  • What time will you rise? Who are you with?
  • Are you having breakfast in bed? Or going out to your favourite café?
  • Are you going to enjoy a favourite outdoor activity? Golf? Jogging? Walking? Other?
  • Some therapy perhaps? (Of the retail variety naturally… )What is your no-guilt, no credit-card budget for the day? What would you like to treat yourself with? Clothes, jewellery, shoes, bags, that watch, gifts for others?
  • Where for lunch? Glass of wine with that? Who is with you?
  • Afternoon snooze?
  • Dressed to the nines for dinner? What will you wear? Jeans and t-shirts, smart casual or more dressed up? Wearing the gear you bought earlier?
  • Dinner? Where? What wine is your favourite? Who is there? Your significant other, a small group of family and friends or a big gang for a party?
  • A nightcap? Where?
  • A night away from home and the kids with your significant other? Where – the local budget hotel or five star luxury?
  • Next day: Back to the hamster wheel? Or fly away to a bucket list destination? If so, where?

My friend, this is your life. It’s not a dress rehearsal, this is it. One shot. What life do you want? What is your 2020 Vision for your life? Do you have one? Or are you drifting, like most people?

I’d really appreciate it if you would give this some thought. Though it’ll make no difference to me, it may make all the difference in the world to you.

One of the questions I was asked at the end of my talk with Limerick Networkers was “How do we stay motivated? Motivation comes and goes. How do we keep it?”

My answer was along the lines:

“We all need a 2020 Vision for our lives – we need a destination – we need to be taking steps towards something or otherwise we are really just drifting.”

I live in Limerick in the Midwest of Ireland, Letterkenny is in the very north of the country, Cork in the very south. By way of analogy, if my decided destination for my 2020 Vision turns out to be Letterkenny, why would I hop in my car and drive towards Cork? I wouldn’t! However many, many people I meet don’t know where they are headed and so they just metaphorically drive around in the car of their lives being busy, but largely directionless.

You ask people, “How’s things? Busy?”

They respond, like it’s a badge of honour, “Flat out! You wouldn’t believe it! No time to catch my breath.”

You ask them, “Making progress?”

They respond, “Don’t be asking hard questions!”

Too many people confuse activity and busyness with productivity and progress.

If you don’t plan what your birthday in 2020 will look like, you run the risk of just arriving at it and realizing you are in Cork, not Letterkenny – but, hey, if you don’t decide that Letterkenny is your destination, maybe it won’t matter – ignorance is bliss.

(If you’d like to go deeper into this work I’ve provided a FREE link at the bottom of the blog to the first lesson in my 12-Step Online Program to Create the Life You Really Want – no sign-up required – the first one is on me.)

Before you go today, let me take you through my ‘Thumbs’ exercise.

You see, just because you decide you want to go to Letterkenny and not Cork, does not mean you will have safe or hassle-free passage; life will get in the way. That’s its job!

Life throws stuff at us to test our resolve, not to thwart our plans. Unfortunately (or fortunately) life is not like a 5* hotel doorman holding open the door of opportunity for you to ease your passage through. Nope. Life is actually more like a bouncer at a night club pointing over his shoulder and saying, you want this? You can have it but first you’ve got to get past me!

This is good. This is akin to evolution; it propagates the survival of the fittest.

I believe you really can have everything you want out of life if two conditions exist:

  1. You must know what you want (Letterkenny or Cork?)
  2. You must do whatever it takes, pay whatever price life demands of you, for as long as it takes.

…satisfy both conditions and Bob’s your uncle, ignore one or the other or both and you’ll likely end up frustrated, perhaps blaming bad luck for your situation.

Please don’t end up with regret.

My ‘Thumbs’ exercise is guaranteed to show you a way to stay on track, guaranteed to give you a tool for keeping your motivation more consistently than perhaps heretofore.

Watch the video (10 mins lesson – 12 mins total) or read on below, if you want to complete the ‘Thumbs’ exercise. It is centered on a snippet from my book, “Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business Despite the Roadblocks” and though it uses business as a focal point, the principles are universal to life in general.

“Lesson 1. Define the Big Picture for your life.

Whether you are in business already or perhaps considering whether you should start or not, it is important to remember that your business is not your life. It is probably a large part of it and deserves and requires its due commitment, but really if we are honest with ourselves it is a means unto an end, a creative outlet for us to express ourselves and in the process we expect to be able to pay some bills and enjoy some comforts.

And it is for this very reason that I ask people attending my talks to do a particular exercise. They have to do it in public, you, the reader, get to do it in private (unless of course you are sitting in a café or on a train as you read this LOL). It may feel a bit strange; it certainly looks strange, but it has proven to be a very powerful exercise for keeping things in perspective. So here goes.

  1. Mentally [jump to your birthday in 2020] and say the answer out loud. For some of us that exercise is a wake up call, we are no longer still twenty-one, time is getting shorter. This is the age you will be, please God, regardless of what you do in [2020].
  2. Get a mental picture of how you would like your life to look at that age. Let me help here -Your business is cranking along beautifully, you are making some money, the bills are being paid, the kids are healthy, the car starts every morning and you have your eye on a newer one, you are planning a nice holiday in the sun, you and your other half having just come back from a skiing trip – all the stuff that will make your investment of time and effort over the next [few] years worthwhile. Now pick a prop in the room, perhaps a picture on a wall, a vase, a bottle, a chair, anything that is a few metres away and imagine it is a mini video screen. Run the video of your life in 2020 now on your chosen video screen for a few minutes. Really get the feel of it. Enjoy the experience. This is what your life would look like if you waved a magic wand over it. When you have it clear, go to step 3. Take your time, this is your life.
  3. I’m going to ask you now to stick out one arm in the direction of your video screen, stick up your thumb and close (or cover) one eye. If you are doing this correctly you should be looking at the back of your thumb; your video screen should be completely out of sight. Adjust your arm, thumb etc to achieve this. Once done, look at the back of your thumb for a minute, noticing how it has completely obliterated your view of your future life. When ready, go to step 4.
  4. Leave your arm and thumb in place in front of your future life so you can visually toggle between this article and it. Your thumb represents a problem. Your plan was working swimmingly for three months, a year, a couple of years perhaps until some big problem has come into your path as you work towards your future life; the kids are sick, the mortgage is in arrears, a supplier let you down, a staff member left and went into competition, a customer hasn’t paid, the banks are calling in their loan. The problem is REAL and HUGE and as a result deserves your full attention, thus the plan for your future life gets put to one side while you handle it.
  5. And handle it you will! Do you know how I know you will handle it? Because ‘they’, the famous committee of naysayers that plague us all, ‘they’ said you would never make it. And you are not going to let ‘them’ be right, are you? Dang right you’re not. So you work doubly hard and finally you get past your problem (you can put your arm down now) and what do you see in the distance beyond where your thumb once was? In my talks the relieved audience usually put their arms down and in unison say ‘our 2020 Vision’ and I imagine that’s what’s going through your head right now. Amd you are right… for a while… BUT what is looming in the distance, in front of your future life? …Yep, you guessed it, the next thumb, getting larger by the day.
  6. Arms and thumbs back up please. Block out your view of your future life again. Yes, you have hit another problem and yet again you are not going to let the committee of ‘they’ be right so you redouble your efforts and knock down this thumb and what’s behind it? Yes, you’re learning, the next thumb. And when you knock that one down what will be behind it? Correct, the next thumb.
  7. The problem here is that if we just focus on the problem and knock it down only to find another one looming and knock it down knowing that there will be more coming after it ad infinitum, we risk running out of steam. Life will just get too hard and we may consider that ‘they’ may have been right all along and we may throw in the towel on our business. My theory is this is why most new businesses fail in the first five years; the originators simply decide it’s too hard and give up.
  8. Now let me help you handle this reality. ‘Phew’ I hear you sigh. Firstly it’s important we both agree that there will be problems in our lives in the next few years no matter what. Whether you start a business, develop your existing one or not in the next few years, there will be ‘thumbs’ in your life. They will simply be different types of thumbs if you are in business, that’s all. Agreed? OK.
  9. Arms out, thumbs up, one eye closed, future blocked one last time. This time leave your arm out, thumb up and open BOTH eyes. Now! Isn’t that magic? You can see your future clearly beyond the thumb, right?
  10. What has happened to the thumb? It’s still there, isn’t it? It’s still real. It still has to be handled but what has happened to its intensity? I’m right in saying it appears smaller, it’s out of focus, you can see clearly beyond it? Can you see how by keeping a clear eye on where you are headed, the ‘why’ you are in business in the first place, it will be easier to navigate around, over, under and perhaps even avoid some thumbs that come your way?

My dear, dear reader, I hope you took the time and allowed yourself the freedom to participate in this exercise.

For me, this is fundamental. If you don’t get a clear picture of ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing, business WILL get too hard and the path of least resistance may be to throw in the towel and if you do, the world will be poorer for it.

To paraphrase Admiral Jim Stockdale; ‘Never lose faith that you will prevail in the end, whilst simultaneously confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality’. “

I mentioned earlier, if you’d like to go deeper into this work I would provide a FREE link to the first lesson in my 12-Step Online Program to Create the Life You Really Want – no sign-up required. To check it out with my compliments, click here.


MORE? Some of the issues mentioned above have been discussed in earlier “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • Patchwork Quilt Theory / The Week is the Perfect Patch in the Fabric of Life. Click here.
  • Admiral Jim Stockdale. Click here.
  • Escape from the gravity of bad habits. Click here.

STAY CONNECTED?: If this is your thing, consider joining in the conversation here.

FREE BOOK?: If would like a complimentary copy of the book in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly,


“How can I help?”.

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