In this post, I’m inviting you to play along with a thought experiment about your future. The goal? To help you see what’s possible for yourself – and then to be sure you’re on the path to get what you want. Watch the video or read the text below to try it out.


This thought experiment takes you to the end of your career – to your retirement. So to start, think about the year in which you want to retire. Whether that’s 10 years from now or 30, it doesn’t matter. Just think about how long you want to work, or how old you want to be at retirement, and jot down that year.

Now let yourself get clear about what’s happening in your life at that point, with a few more details:

  • Do you have a spouse or partner? If so, how old are they?
  • How about kids? How old will they be?
  • What do you think might be happening in the world at that time? Any cool new technology or social shifts you can imagine?

Next, begin to imagine your retirement party. It doesn’t matter what company or role you’re retiring from – just picture the party itself. It could be a big bash if that’s your thing or an intimate gathering of family and friends. Whatever suits your style. Imagine yourself at that party, with people who are important to you. Imagine how proud and honored you feel to be wrapping up your career and celebrating the life you’ve led up to that point.

As you picture that occasion, now let’s get a bit more specific. What are you celebrating? What are you most proud of? Here are a few examples:

  • How you’ve led your team…
  • What you’ve been able to create…
  • The impact your work has had – for your customers, your industry, the world…
  • The kind of colleague you’ve been…
  • The kind of boss or leader you’ve been…
  • The way you’ve mentored and supported others…

Let yourself really fill up with that sense of accomplishment as you imagine all of the things you’re celebrating.

And now, let’s come back to 2022 and reflect on the thought experiment.

Thinking back over what you’ve pictured so far, see what that tells you about what you want in your career.

Finally, take a look at your current job, in light of that future vision:

  • Is the role you’re in right now moving you toward that future?
  • Is your boss providing you with opportunities for growth that will get you there?
  • Are you building the experiences and the skills you’ll need to have the impact you want to have?
  • Is the organizational culture supporting you to become the person you want to be? To be the colleague, manager, leader you want to be?
  • Do you have mentors and colleagues who are supporting your development?
  • Is your paycheck setting you up to throw that party, and to have the kind of retirement you’d want to have?

I do a more extensive version of this exercise with my clients as we begin our work together. It helps them discover what they want and what’s important to them. It opens up a new set of possibilities. Then, with that vision in mind, we identify strategies they can use right away to move in that direction.

If you feel like you’re not quite on track to get to the future you’ve imagined for yourself, let’s talk. You can schedule a call with me at We’ll talk about your vision and what you want from your career, and identify steps you can take right now to put yourself on a path to reach it.

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