On my 20th birthday I wrote the following 5 Year Life Plan:

“On my 25th birthday I will be happy. I will not have just become a ‘suit’ defined by my occupation with money as my motivation. Instead, I will be working towards something worthwhile, making a difference, enjoying and gaining satisfaction from my work. I will still be challenging myself and continuing to learn new skills, developing myself to become a better person. I will not have allowed my circle of friends to break and kept my good friends close. Most importantly, I will have no regrets and not passed up opportunity, actively looking to create my own for the future.”

Now nine years later, I am still living each day according to this life plan which has now become more of a life philosophy. This plan has undoubtedly shaped my current direction – whether that is the businesses I am developing, my quest to achieve my life goals or my general desire to seek adventure wherever it can be found.

My two business ventures are Goalvanise, an innovative web application which inspires people to create and achieve their list of life goals (due to launch in January 2012), and Big Green Fox, which develops resources to help teachers deliver career-related learning in primary schools. Both businesses are socially-orientated in the services they deliver to the community, the way they are run and hopefully soon the training and development initiatives they offer. However, I hope that ultimately they help me achieve my life goal of becoming financial independent by the time I’m 40. This would then allow me the time and resource to focus on delivering community projects which aren’t constrained by funding restrictions and perhaps turn my passion for microadventures into macroadventures! An ambitious aim but it’s summed up best by my favourite quote:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain


6 responses »

  1. G says:

    “I will not have just become a ‘suit’ defined by my occupation with money as my motivation” vs “I hope that ultimately they help me achieve my life goal of becoming financial independent by the time I’m 40.” Dichotomy?

    • Jon Maiden says:

      Hi G, I certainly see what you’re saying. I suppose I’m just looking to avoid being a small cog in the works of a giant organisation; perhaps earning good money, but just doing a repetitive 9-5 job, working for someone I may not like in an environment I have little influence over.

      Yes, money is one of my motivations but I’m looking to earn it in a way that does not inhibit my freedom, benefits society and then ultimately enables me to deliver projects or invest of other enterprises which, in their own small way, make the world a better place to live in.

      So as an entrepreneur I may occasionally have to don the obligatory suit (this is thankfully very rare in my chosen sectors) but I have the freedom to choose what projects I want to work on, when I take my holidays and, when I hopefully start to employ others, I am able to create a positive working culture.

      As long as I’m earning money in a positive manner, and using it for positive things, then I’m happy that I’ll have avoided becoming a ‘suit’…

      • G says:

        I had the same desires until I discovered it’s actually quite ok once you drag your ass up to a certain level. Then you get to mess about with the machinery rather than being a small cog so to speak.

        Also depends on what you define as making the world a better place.

        On a daily basis my employer’s business is involved in providing clean drinking water, aids in the production of medicines, reducing CO2 emissions from power generation.

        Making Mitt Romney richer was an unfortunate byproduct :op

      • Jon Maiden says:

        It sounds like you’re not a ‘suit’ either then! Messing with the machinery, working towards a socially beneficial cause… sounds good to me. For me, being a ‘suit’ is not about what you wear, but what you do.

        There are often unfortunate by-products of any business or social enterprise. But even the wealthiest like Mitt Romney pay their fair share of taxes to benefit society… oh… hang on….

  2. Mad! You and I started blogging just months apart-How did I not visit your blog before???

    Added you to my Blogroll and follow list now 🙂

  3. I think we’re the same age too!!!

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