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Of course you should have a personal development plan.  But you should ‘begin with the end in mind.’

Rather than starting from today, start instead from 10 years from today.

First, take a notebook and go somewhere where you can be quiet.  This might be out in nature or at a local coffee shop with headphones on, or in a quiet room without your phone along.

Second, bring a copy of these questions with you and answer each one carefully.  Imagine yourself ten years from today.  How old will you be?  How will you feel?

Once you’ve transported yourself into the future with your imagination, write the answers to each of these prompts.  Your answers will help you build your personal development plan.


In 10 years, I feel physically

What do you want the state of your health to be in ten years?  Do you want to be running marathons, or are you content to be active and generally mobile?  Do any significant changes need to happen in your health habits in order for you to feel good in the future?

Take a minute to describe exactly how you feel in ten years’ time.

In 10 years, I contribute by

In the book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Victor Frankl says that meaning is the most important need that a human being has.  All of us need to contribute to the world around us.  Even if you have all the money in the world, without meaning, your life feels empty and pointless.

So how are you contributing to people around you in ten years?  These people include your family, your co-workers and your friends.  How are you adding value to their lives?

In 10 years my achievements include

Now we’re becoming concrete.  Be as specific as you can be answering this question.

Have you:

  • Achieved a certain level of income?
  • Built a business to a certain size?
  • Run a triathlon?
  • Learned to play an instrument?
  • Learned to speak another language?
  • Worked as a volunteer giving back?

Whatever achievements are important to you, list them here.

In 10 years I’ve experienced

What is on your bucket list?  What specific things have you experienced in the next ten years?

Have you:

  • Visited another country?
  • Gotten married?
  • Attended a Superbowl?
  • Gone on a work trip to help others?
  • Taken your family on a vacation?
  • Become a parent?

Whatever your experiences are, and whichever are important to you in the next ten years, list them here.  Be as specific as possible, the more specific you are in planning for the future, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve your goals.

In 10 years I inspire and influence

All of us are leaders, whatever our personalities or natural abilities.  A leader is merely someone who cares to influence the people around them.

You may be a positive or negative influence, but you do influence others.  If you’re a positive person, you lift other’s spirits.

And all of us can inspire and influence people around us.  Who do you want to inspire and influence?  How do you want to do it?

In 10 years, I love

‘Who’ questions are always more important than ‘what’ questions.  Who do you want close to you in life?  Who do you want to love in ten years’ time?

There are people who are with us for a reason, for a season, and for a lifetime.  Most people don’t stay in your life for ten years.  They play a role and move on.  There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just the way it is.

However, some people will still be around.  Who are those people?  Who do you love in ten years?

‘What’ questions are also important.  Think about what you love in ten years.  These may be activities or places of possessions.  Write them all down.

In summary:

When building your personal development plan, it’s important to ‘begin with the end in mind.’  Rather than starting where you are today, start thinking about where you’ll be in ten years’ time.  Find a quiet spot where you can reflect and answer these questions before building your personal development plan:

In 10 years, I feel physically

In 10 years, I contribute by

In 10 years my achievements include

In 10 years I’ve experienced

In 10 years I inspire and influence

In 10 years, I love


Additional resources

Thanks for reading this article on ‘Where am I in 10 years? Fresh insight into building your personal development plan.’  Below are additional resources from Professional Leadership Institute, the global provider of online human resources and leadership tools:


Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here:

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