Long Term Development is an experiential dive into constant and real experiences in order to hone the natural and learned abilities of an individual. In this week’s Power Idea, Founder and CEO, Jerry Houston explores an idea that he often uses with coaching and mentoring clients as a way to assist them in taking stock of their accomplishments and thinking ahead about the goals and objectives they might develop based on what they want to accomplish in the future.

Many years ago, I learned a technique called a “life line” that helps a person to understand all of the achievements that one accomplishes in their life, and what they might think about and create for themselves in the future. This is especially common during “mid-life crisis” moments; you know, when you men have hair plugs done, and women obsess over every little wrinkle:)! All kidding aside, this is a serious tool that is widely used in counseling family members who are caring for a terminally ill person.

Here’s how it works:

Draw a line across a sheet of paper, using the horizontal plane, not the vertical. Plot “0” for your birth, plot your current age where it falls on the line, and at the right end of the line the age you will live to (it’s a guess of course!).

0                                                           current age                                                            100

Between “0” and your current age, plot in all of your significant accomplishments, which could include: rolling over, crawling, walking, riding a big wheel, riding a bicycle, graduating pre-school, wearing big-boy pants, graduating from middle school, high school, college, first job, promotions, marriage, not marriage, etc… you get the idea. Then beyond your current age, begin to think and dream about what you want to accomplish in your career, your personal life, adventures, and so on. What you will accomplish for the rest of your life, at least in broad terms.

What this exercise does for people is to first have them realize all of the accomplishments they have ALREADY ACHIEVED, and then to look where they are going. Writing down your dreams and goals makes it ten times more likely that you will achieve them. Take your time with this exercise. Use all the paper and marker you like (I can already visualize you excel spreadsheet types going crazy with this one) and don’t be afraid to add something if you think of it after you are completed.

Just think, had I not dreamed of being an accordion player, I may never have taken lessons, learned my craft, and worked at the Salt and Pepper Lounge in Chicago at the young age of 18! Ahhhh, I can hear the sound of those melodies as if it were just yesterday.