I’m republishing this post one final time to reflect on the future I had cast for my life almost a decade ago. With this last and final update, I will add any additional annotations with blue text throughout the letter below.
In the near future, I plan to provide a similar style of update and reflection in the second letter I wrote myself in 2019 as I began to future cast the next decade, which did have three years of overlap with this ten-year vision of my life.
Below is a letter I wrote to myself back in October of 2012. It was an exercise that I was inspired to complete while reading Darren Hardy’s book “Living Your Best Year Ever.” The idea was to write yourself a letter from 10 years in the future and describe your life based on anything you wanted or wanted to accomplish, as if it had already happened.
I had actually forgotten about this until just the other day. I was listening to a podcast that reminded me of this exercise and led me to dig it up. It is amazing to see the things that have come to fruition. It’s also interesting to reflect back to see what I was thinking and what I was influenced by at the time.
This is getting published about 4.5 years after I wrote it and a lot of it still stands true today. Actually, there are many aspects that have already happened. In the near future I plan to complete this exercise again, maybe even make it a yearly exercise. Only this time, so I don’t forget about it, I will plan to use Boomerang to schedule an email five years into the future with the letter to myself for reflection. I will also plan to memorialize the reflections here on this blog.
After you read the vision I had for myself 10 years into the future, I encourage you to write your own letter to yourself from the future with the vision you have for your own life (don’t hold anything back). Let that be the document that guides your day-to-day activities.
As you read the letter below, you will notice that I have peppered in some comments (in brackets) based on reflection from the current day. I also made a few edits to protect my anonymity.
Written: October 11th, 2022
Sent back in time to : October 11th, 2012
I’m writing to catch you up on what my life has become since we last spoke 10 years ago. If you recall, 10 years ago today we were just turning 26 years old. I don’t know about you, but I barely felt a day over 16. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I hadn’t grown or matured over the quarter-century we had spent together. I just had a hard time comprehending that 26 years had passed since the day we were brought into this world.
When we were younger, time seemed to crawl at a snail’s pace. Until one day you wake up and realize how precious and scarce time is in this world. Like you, I had always been goal-oriented, but had no formal process for planning and tracking my life’s goals and dreams. It was the week leading up to our birthday that you found and shared Darren Hardy’s Living your Best Year Ever that would change everything.
I still remember the day we sat down to fill out that workbook, reading through the book and listening to the audio narration that came with this achievement management system. We inked our goals for the next 12 months, but more importantly, we took the helm of our lives, committing to live life with purpose and passion. No longer would we passively set goals in hopes of achieving them someday. It was on this day that we realized that someday doesn’t exist. It’s actually been in front of us all along, because someday is today!
Well, it has been an amazing decade to say the least. We started with something so simple yet so powerful. The achievement management system that we learned and have used over the last 10 years was just what we needed to stay focused and on track to making every one of our dreams a reality. It was about intention and strategy, not luck or fortune: there was no Holy Grail or lottery to win.
It was the simple disciplines that we did consistently over time that led us to our achieved goals. The system that Darren Hardy taught us through his program was just what we needed to track the principle we learned from Jeff Olson in his book The Slight Edge. It was our penny, if you know what I mean. It was so simple that it would have been just as easy not to do, as it was to do.
But we knew the right choice was to leverage The Slight Edge and do the small things that at the time seemed insignificant. Doing them wasn’t going to change our lives in a week, a month, or even a year. But that commitment to doing the small things day in and day out moved us continually closer to our dreams, and created snowball momentum. And at some point – I can’t put my finger on the exact timing – we got to witness the power of the compound effect.
Things just seemed to happen so easily after a while; big goals were accomplished with very little incremental effort.
But you already know all this, because you were there with me every step of the way. I know you chose to leverage The Slight Edge and the power of The Compound Effect. I also know that the achievement management system from Living Your Best Year Ever changed your life.
I know this because you and I are one and the same. So, let me now share with you how all of this has shaped our life with respect to our friends and family, our health, our career, and our finances.
[You can tell that I was influenced a lot by both The Slight Edge and Living Your Best Year Ever as I wrote this letter. I haven’t re-visited Living Your Best Year Ever since 2012, but as you all know, I am constantly recommending The Slight Edge]
Friends & Family: I can’t believe I have been married for almost 11 years. Marrying Jenny was one of the best decisions I have ever made. She has absolutely been the best thing to happen to me. It has been her unconditional love and support that has been my life’s driving force. But at the same time, she keeps me grounded and reminds me of what is important in life.
She has shown me what love is and has blessed us with more love, laughs, care, and compassion every day than most get to experience in an entire lifetime. Our bond has grown stronger every year, and I could not imagine life without my wife.
I know you’re probably wondering about Buddy Boo…he just turned 14 years old this month. He has slowed down over the last few years, but he is still the best dog you could’ve ever asked for. And not to spoil too much for you, but he is good around the kids :).
[My first update was only about halfway through the 10 year period and we had yet to have our first kid. We now have an almost four-year-old son and a six-month-old daughter. What I love about this is that it shows that my wife and I were on the same page since the beginning and knew we wanted to have a family and had a rough idea of our rough plan…even 10 years ago.]
We closed escrow on our first house as planned in 2013. We’ve enjoyed the house and all the memories we’ve been able to make with friends and family over the years. Jenny has turned that house into a HOME. She takes real pride in taking care of the place and keeping it nice for us and our guests.
I don’t think there has been a day that you have not gotten into the Jacuzzi out in the back yard.
Remember when you brought Mike out for his 25th birthday?
Jenny mentioned that she wanted to have a traditional loud Italian family. Meaning she wanted us to get together as a family often. Well, Mike moved back to SoCal after finishing the fire academy to join the Fire department out here in the OC. He finally has settled down with the perfect woman for him. They just had their second child three years ago in 2019.
Vinnie is doing well with the Nissan dealership and makes it over once a month with his wife and our little niece. And Anthony has been doing great with his welding business. He also moved down to SoCal on his twenty-fifth birthday to be closer to Dad. We think he is getting pretty serious with his girlfriend and that a proposal could be around the corner 😉 . It is really nice for all four of us to get together at least once a month.
In Grandpa’s memory, Jenny and I brought back the family tradition of a seafood dinner during Christmas time. The holidays get kind of crazy…but in a good way. So, we try to do the seafood dinner sometime within the month of December, not strictly on Christmas Eve. The only difference is we also invite our close friends as well as the whole family.
The Thanksgiving trip out to Lake Mead continues and is a trip we look forward to every year.
To say the least, we feel so lucky to be blessed with the great friends and family that we’re surrounded with. I’m so happy that our brothers have achieved their own success and happiness. Even dad was able to re-write the second act of his life.
I know there is so much more I could tell you, but just know that the people that are important to you today as you read this are just as important to you in 10 years. Of course, there have been new people that have entered, influenced, and blessed your life. But it would not be fair for me to spoil some of life’s surprises.
[We did end up closing escrow on a house, but it actually happened in early 2014, and in a different city than we originally planned. This ended up being a huge advantage for us financially due to the low cost of living area we decided to move to. Even with a second dog, Buddy is still the favorite, and always will be for me. Mrs. GYFG has really turned our house into a home just as I described and we did get that Jacuzzi. So far, this section is directionally right with the vision I had 4 years ago.]
[This continues to be a very accurate depiction of our lives. We have since moved from that home we bought in 2014 into our dream home and plan to double down on making memories with our friends and family. In fact, we plan to bring back that seafood dinner tradition for the first time this year – 2022.]
Health & Fitness: The best thing that ever happened to me was the decision to commit to that first round of P90X. Health and fitness has become a huge part of our life. Yep, you’re still a Beachbody evangelist. Tony Horton and Shaun T continue to help you achieve your fitness goals.
I continue to maintain my weight in a range of 185-200lbs with 6.5-10% body fat depending on the cycle of my current fitness goals.
As you could imagine, getting hired by a surf company has led to a regular commitment to hit the waves at least once a week. It’s one of the best ways to wake up in the morning.
I continue to water ski with Jenny’s Dad and Jeff. I have been getting through the course consistently.
Again, I could spill the beans as to every little thing you have tried or accomplished when it comes to your health and fitness, but where would the fun be in that? Just keep doing what you know to do. Over the next 10 years you accomplish every one of your health and fitness goals.
[I am still a Beachbody evangelist as predicted, but I have not done the best job on maintaining my body fat as low as predicted. The good news is that I still have another 5.5 years to get that piece right. When I first wrote this, I had just started to learn to surf, which I later found was not really my thing.]
[Traditional surfing ended up not being my thing but I have picked up a new hobby with my e-foil board that I get out on once a week. For those not familiar it is like a surfboard with a wing and is battery powered. When the wing is engaged you feel like you’re flying and the board can go up to 20 MPH. I’ve got some work to do over the next decade to get back to those body weight and body fat levels – both of which are achievable in 12 months or less.]
Professional Career: As you recall, you left SCF back in May of 2012 to join QS. This was a fantastic move, not because SCF was a bad company, but because QS had more to offer with respect to culture and upward mobility. QS also brought the aspects of being public and international to the table.
You impressed management very early in your career. You identified the opportunities with the most potential and interest to you, and pursued them with FOCUS and DEDICATION.
I think there were two defining things we did that shaped our upward path within the organization. The first was delivering beyond expectation right from the beginning, and giving the organization something they had never experienced with someone in your position. You leveraged your start by becoming the “go-to guy.” The second thing you did was PARTNER with the KEY PLAYERS within the organization.
It was uncomfortable at times, but growth always is.
After reaching out to the America’s CFO, I had the tools to be aggressive in the upward advancement I desired. Advice and mentorship received from the CFO along with the other key players I reached out to put me on an unstoppable course.
Let’s just say you have held many titles, but you made it to the 2nd floor with the rest of the C-level executives.
Oh…and I almost forgot, learning Spanish was HUGE!!!
[Well, I got the C-level thing right, but it ended up being with a different company in a completely different industry (on the 4th floor – LOL). The timing of reaching the C-suite did happen faster than I imagined, but that is really a credit to the power of planting these types of seeds in the subconscious mind. I also have not learned Spanish, YET!]
Financial Success: Although financial independence has always been important to you, it took a back seat as far as priorities are concerned. It was hard to make the shift, but we live with the belief that money never leads…it always follows.
The shift was easier after reading The Slight Edge and Automatic Wealth, I realized that financial independence at all costs was not the only path to financial freedom.
It’s important to never forget that life is nothing without anyone to share it with.
Over the past decade, your simple disciplines of maxing out your 401k, making good investments, and keeping very low debt levels (only mortgage debt) over the past decade has put our family in a strong financial position. As I write this we are on track to be able to retire in another 10 years (at 46) if we choose. But to be honest, it’s so crazy to think about retirement at this point in my life.
[Retirement is maybe doable now but for sure by 40 based on the progress we’ve made over the last couple of years.]
Between our professional life and our investments, we bring in close to a seven-figure income. You live well, but well below your means. What I mean by this is that you have not adjusted your lifestyle dollar for dollar with your increases in income. You live and enjoy about 50% of what you bring in at this point, and life is GOOD!!!
[Now I know where I came up with that goal for a 50% savings rate. Although we didn’t actually cement this as a goal until sometime in late 2015, this is evidence that it was something I thought was a good idea. Obviously, I didn’t hold anything back with respect to my ambition to both advance my career and income to EPIC levels. The career thing is in the bag, but at the end of 2017, we are only about 45% towards my crazy goal of a 7-figure income. We have some work to do, Scoobie Doo…]
[We ended up achieving our first seven-figure year of earnings in 2020 and are currently on track to have our third consecutive year of seven-figure earnings with $3.25M projected for 2022. I did end up becoming a bit more obsessed with financial independence during the second half of the last decade when I saw an opportunity to condense a twenty-year goal down by almost 50%. Luckily it paid off, and I remained conscious that I would eventually need to let off the gas and shift my priorities to focus back on the important things in life.
It’s interesting that I don’t mention becoming an entrepreneur anywhere in this letter although I’ve had that itch for as long as I can remember. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see now that it was the most important x-factor in accelerating my family’s timeline and full transition to our next chapter in life.]
Conclusion: I leave you with one caveat. What I describe in this letter is based on the current path you are on. My advice to you is to stay the course if you’re happy with everything I describe. Even better, if at any time you decide you want something different, you are in control of your own destiny.
[I’ve always felt like it was on me to manifest my own destiny but in my opinion, total control just isn’t a reality until you reach financial independence. I truly feel like I am now in total control of my destiny – I know we are never fully in control but I think you know what I mean.]
We are the only species in the world that have a CHOICE. Remember that the only thing written in stone is the past.
You are the sculptor of the FUTURE.
Here is to a LIFE WELL LIVED!!! We have accomplished and experienced so much with our friends and family in such a short time. It feels like a lifetime’s worth of experiences already. The AMAZING part is that we still have our whole life ahead of us.
I look forward to our next correspondence.
Onward and Upward,
Dominic (you, but from the future)
[I really love how I ended this letter, with the fact that I could change anything I didn’t like. Talk about wisdom!]
Great post here, again. Really appreciate the candor.
The timing of this is great, as I’m in the process of ‘doing’ the last chapter of the Slight Edge, where the author encourages you to solidify your goals/dreams and then express them in terms of daily routines.
Being ‘goal-oriented’ doesn’t really mean anything until it is actually formally expressed and broken down into steps that lead to realization of that goal. Many people have an attitude that could be described as ambitious but it doesn’t always translate into execution and achievement. Looks like you have actualized your goals through the right attitude + simple disciplines.
Hey Jake – A goal without action is just a dream!
Glad you enjoyed the post!
It’s awesome how many of things you put in your letter have come true. Writing down goals helps a tremendous amount.
Looking forward to the next edition! 🙂
Erik – I think there is a tremendous power to planting seeds in your mind for the things you want to achieve. Once planted the subconcious can go to work on achieving those things. It’s kind of like when you buy a new car that you never really noticed much on the road, but then once you bought it, you start noticing it everywhere. Setting up a vision or goals for yourself then forces you to see the path and opportunities that will get you there.
“It’s important to never forget that life is nothing without anyone to share it with”
I like this the best from the whole letter. Nothing in life is anything unless you can share/talk/explore with others. Inspirational letter!
Well you are “Simple Money Man,” so it makes sense that this simple but powerful truth would resonate so much 🙂
I love that you included life updates about your friends and family too. It shows that you’re a person who really wants those around him to succeed and find happiness too. I would not have thought to include life updates for others in my letter. Thanks for sharing and giving me inspiration to write one of my own!
Julie – I want nothing but success and fulfillment for all of those around me…family and friends alike.
Would love to have you participate in the new guest post series if you end up writing your own letter.
BTW – love seeing the progress on the blog income front you have made 🙂
I know that a lot of people like to write those “letter to my future self” kind of things. Personally, I don’t.
We really can’t predict how different we’ll be in the future. Our thoughts will change drastically over the years, so a lot of thoughts/things that we believe in right now won’t apply in just a few years time.
Troy – I don’t think these types of letters are about predicting the future. Instead they are about creating a vision for your life and the interesting thing about having something like this documented is to be able to look back and see what you aspired for and what you were influenced by at the time.
I was amazed at how clearly I could see my future and the things I was chasing when I re-read this letter. Of course things do change over time, but there maybe some constants in our lives, at least for some.
Interesting to reflect back on your goals from 5 years ago. Thanks for sharing, its pretty personal stuff. I’ve heard of this exercise before, but haven’t done it.
Also – new look to the website? Cool!
Brian – I agree, very interesting to reflect back. What was especially interesting is the consistency of what I was pursuing, at least from a high level, not the exact details.
The website is in the middle of a re-design and we pushed phase 1 live 2 days ago.
I really like this idea. Have you ever done the opposite — write a letter to your future self?
I’ve considered writing letters to my kids, for them to read when they are older so they can get a flavor of what life is like while they are little. They’ll laugh someday, I think, at how crazy they are and how tired I am all the time from their nuttiness!
Rich – I had not done the opposite, but I like the idea, especially writing letters to your kids.
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Thank you so much for sharing a very personal letter with us! It is really inspiring to see that you manifested so much of what you wanted in such a short amount of time!
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Since we are in the pandemic now
how many percent do you thing you finished of your vision.
keep the good work
I would say I’m 90% complete with about 13 months to go before the 10 years is up.