Sunday, January 22, 2017

Planning A Year of Learning

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan, and guess what they have planned for you? Not much."  ~Jim Rohn
What's a YoL?
I've named it a Year of Learning (YoL).  It's not a sabbatical and it's not a mid-life gap year. I'm not taking a year off to travel or meditate on top of a mountain. And it's not just a career move.  Neither do I want to go in early retirement. I don't know that it will be a year long. Ideally it will keep going in some shape for the next 20 years. I do anticipate that loads of learning will occur, some planned and most unplanned and unanticipated, which is why I have decided to call it a Year of Learning.

Timeline (and the beneficial impact of anticipation)
My YoL will start in August 2017.  It's mid-January 2017 and I've been planning this for a while already (Social Impact Consulting - September 2016).  It feels like planning a vacation.  The planning part can be as fun and rewarding as the vacation itself.  I'm applying some of the findings of anticipation research, transferring them from the context of a vacation to a career change.

My ultimate goal is to design a smooth transition from a traditional 9-5 job with benefits into satisfying independent consulting work that will allow more flexibility to do the things I want to do without having to wait for retirement to do them.

I have goals for this YoL, I even have a detailed business plan, but I'm ready to throw the plan out the window if something else emerges.  Here are four angles I'll be working on:
  • Loads of Learning - That's an easy goal because it's an existing habit, almost on autopilot.  The key is to balance focused, intentional learning with serendipitous learning and exploration. I also have a specific research project in mind (see next blog post). 
  • Make (some) Money - Yes, this is not a 12 months vacation and it's not a sabbatical with a job to get back to in a year.  That's where the business plan comes in.  The YoL does require an income stream but my goal is to not make it the top priority.
  • Nurture my Network(s) - This will be more of a stretch, will require some pro-active planning --which sounds redundant --, and it will be critical to my overall well-being as well as important for long-term success.
  • Work out the "Work-life Balance"- Why wait to retire to go on those long bike rides in the middle of the week?  Schedule it and just do it!  No more 8 hours in front of a computer.  There has to be another way.
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