If you don’t know where you are going

Abha Malpani Naismith
5 min readDec 6, 2022

No road will take you there

When I was younger, I was very much a ‘go with the flow’ person. I knew I wanted to do certain things like: Learn Spanish, live overseas, or be a writer. However I never thought too much about why I wanted to them, or what my end goal was.

‘Life is about the journey, not the destination’, was the constant thought at the back of my mind.

While that still stands true, being older and wiser has made me realize that the destination is as important as the journey.

As I get older I realize more what I want to ‘be’ rather than what I want to ‘do’. And that if you want to ‘be’ something, you’ve got to clearly define it and then work towards it.

In the process of determining what I want to ‘be’, I often go round in circles. I’ve been working with a coach for the last year or so and she has helped me tremendously in defining tangible goals for myself that will help me reach my destination.

Here is what I have learned on the road with my coach over the last year:

  • Know your why: Whatever you want to do, you need to deeply understand and commit to your why. Why are you choosing this path?

My long term why is to have time freedom and financial independence so that I can be the master of my time and design my life on my terms.

Whenever I felt like it was too much work, I reminded myself of my ‘why’ and it got me on track again.

  • Accountability is key: I hit many of my milestones last year not only because I set deadlines, but because I invested in someone to hold me accountable. Knowing that I had to update someone on my progress gave me that extra push to just get it done, especially when it felt hard or when time was short.
  • I launched my newsletter.
  • I wrote a post every week for 70 weeks!
  • I wrote, designed and released free resources.
  • I built a community of 300+ amazing working mums, looking to better their careers and be better mums.
  • I launched an email course.
  • I launched the first cohort of an online course.

All while having a full time job and small kids.

  • Have a clear roadmap: If you don’t have a path towards your goals, along with clear checkpoints to stop, evaluate, and recalibrate, you are unlikely to move forward. And, what I’m realizing now is that you have to be ruthless about moving forward on your path. We are time poor and exhausted, you really need to have laser focus to move the needle.
  • Saying no is a skill to learn: Saying no to something, is saying yes to something else. Saying no to dinner with a friend, is saying yes to a rejuvenating yoga class or writing my newsletter. Every decision is a sacrifice and learning to say no is a skill.
  • Despite all your efforts, all things won’t go to plan: Although I hit many milestones, I didn’t hit all of them. And that’s just the unpredictable nature of trying to build something. There is no one formula for success, and everyone’s journey is different.
  • It’s okay to grieve about what you haven’t achieved: I’ve felt quite disheartened over not hitting all my milestones. It’s okay to wallow in that for a while before you get back on track.
  • The only real learning comes from doing: I must’ve done at least 10 courses in the last year, read thousands of articles, and joined too many learning communities. Truth is, you learn nothing by reading or attending courses if you don’t put what you learn into action. For example, you can read how to start a newsletter and watch a module on how to do it, however unless you actually do it yourself, you really don’t realize all the work that goes into getting it off the ground.
  • Your well-being is as important as your goals: If you are not feeling great, how are you going to create anything great? Time to rejuvenate is as important as achieving your goals. In fact they are mutually dependent.
  • Your destination can change! This is the most important thing I have learned. You may define something for yourself, and then realise on the way that it’s not for you, or it’s not the right time. Nothing is set in stone, and you can always change course. But you still need to have a course that takes you somewhere you want to go!

Tools to plan 2023

As we come towards the end of another year, I am reflecting on all of the above and working on defining my roadmap for 2023. I usually have an aversion to ‘goal setting’ activities or exercises. They are hard to do, require a lot of discipline and are not fun. But, I know no other way to progress. So here I am talking about goal setting tools.

Here are some tools I’m looking at to help me plan my 2023:

The YearCompass: YearCompass is a free booklet that helps you reflect on the year and plan the next one. With a set of carefully selected questions and exercises, YearCompass helps you uncover your own patterns and design the ideal year for yourself. Learn from your mistakes, celebrate your victories, and set out a path you want to walk on. All you need is a quiet few hours and this booklet. You can check it out here. (Yes, this text is copied from their website)

A guide to planning ahead in times of uncertainty: My coach has a great template that will guide your thinking to plan your year by helping you nail three pillars:

Clarity about what you want

Self belief that it is possible

A concrete plan that you turn to action

You don’t have to want to be an entrepreneur to do this. You can check it out here.

In case you want her to guide you through it, my coach is having a Vision & Planning session on January 9, 2023 that you can read more about and sign up for here. I will be doing this session with her next week, in case any of you want feedback on it, let me know and we can talk about it!

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If you like what you have read, I write more like this on my Working Mums Club Substack, a newsletter for mums want to have better careers and be better mums.

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Abha Malpani Naismith

Communications professional. Digital strategist. Writer. Mum. AI enthusiast. Newsletter for working mums.