Forget your five year plan. Jenny Blake, myself and other entrepreneurs are eschewing it for the two year, one year or even six month plan. But then you have the other extreme that is equally important: Your 100-year plan. I'm not kidding.

Here's Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard on How I Built This podcast:

The faster a business grows, the faster it dies. We decided on a growth program so that we would be around 100 years from now. So all decisions were made as if we're going to be around 100 years from now.

More recently, hear this from Essentialism author Greg McKeown on The Ziglar Show podcast.

Focus on what you want to be relevant 100 years from now

Why 100 years?

Frankly, it is far away enough so that you know you'll be dead. Your focus, then, has to be on systems rather than quick fixes. Whatever you decide will have to be sustainable after you are gone - or, to paraphrase Jim Rohn, you are preparing for the big vision by creating habits while the risk is relatively small.

McKeown explains it as "the company your grandchildren will run". What standards do you want to be known for well after you are gone?

Why should you?

A few things happen when you pull your scope out. First, it sharpens your focus. As Patagonia's Yvon Choulnard put it, "We slowed down our growth, said 'No' to a lot of opportunities and became more responsible." In Patagonia's case, it has been a long-time advocate of the environment, supporting global warming prevention initiatives and donating to aligned causes.

Second, daily issues become a lot less petty. Will delaying a product affect the uture of your business 100, 10 or even five years from now? If not, then it is much easier to bypass any hysteria that comes from a minor snafu or setback.

Third, it simplifies any overcomplex mission. What basic statement embodies your very purpose for doing your business? When you think about the next century, safe platitudes and unnecessary jargon fall by the wayside.

My 100-year plan has evolved into "Helping the ambitious make their mark without sacrificing their lives." What legacy do you want to create now?

Published on: Nov 10, 2017