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5 Years Book ClubEvery month or so, we are pleased to go all Oprah on our readers and followers with our HMA Book Club. 

Because I like interactive books and because February is my turn to read a business and/or communications book and report on it to the group (and all of you), I chose Dan Zadra’s “5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?

The premise of the book is fairly self-explanatory from the title – decide what’s next in your life and strategize how to get it. Quite cleverly, Zadra calls out readers from the onset (like me) who complain they are too busy to bother making an actual action plan for the future. Quoting H. Jackson Brown, he writes: Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”

Welp, he’s got us there.

Zadra goes on to assert that the keys to charting a path for your life – especially the next five years – are determining your values and mission statement, respectively, going so far as to provide an exercise on how to put pen to paper on both.

Since I am not Napster, I won’t provide all of the exercises here, but I will share some killer mission statements from others in the book – guess who wrote them?

My mission is to make people happy.

My mission is to collect all the world’s information and make it accessible to everyone.

My mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

If you guessed the above belong to Walt Disney, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Nike founder Phil Knight, respectively – you guessed right!

Notice something about them – each statement is short, sweet, to the point and actionable. Yours should be too.

Once you have a written mission statement, don’t even think about dropping that pen! Write down some of your dreams and goals – especially short-term ones. According to Dave Kohl, a professor at Virginia Tech., people who write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes that people who don’t!

Got the goals written down? Good.

Are they specific? If not, start over.

Zadra’s reasoning is spot on as to why: “you wouldn’t go into a restaurant and just order ‘food’ would you?”

A picky eater like moi? No way!

Hence, your goals need to be specific, time-bound and measurable.

Three final insights I took from the book – aim high; get help; and stop procrastinating.

Aim High

Most people, Zadra notes, don’t aim high enough and miss. Most aim too low and hit.

Get Help

They also forget to surround themselves with help in reaching those goals. In another great exercise in the book, Zadra asks you to write down five people – either currently in your life or those you want in your life – who can help you reach your goals, as well as a list of people you can help reach theirs.

Stop Procrastinating

Here is one exercise that I will share to help fellow procrastinators like me:

  1. Write down five things you have been putting off.
  2. Commit – in writing – to small ways you can take at least a little bit of action on all five this week.
  3. Take the action, however small, and cross what you do off your list as you do it.

Look at you! You just made a to-do list…and did it!

Bonus Advice

Okay, a few more nuggets!

  • Forgive everyone, especially yourself
  • Make a “thank you list” – and actually take the time to thank people on it
  • Don’t go through life, grow through life
  • Forget your age. It is what you do, not when you do it that counts
  • You will never have more time in your life than you do right now

On that note – THANK YOU to Scott Hanson and Abbie S. Fink, who started my career 11 years ago today.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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