This is part 2 of our Building Your Personal Brand series. Click here if you missed part 1.

Another component of successful branding (and the joy you’ll experience in your life) is knowing where you want to be – and then purposefully designing a path to get there.

If you don’t know where you want to be – your directionless route will eventually lead you somewhere ~ just not perhaps in the best place you could have been had you taken a moment to plan your life’s route. Perhaps you’ll rent your practice space in a neighborhood 40 minutes from your home because, at the time, it happens to have an available space where you can set up shop immediately. Maybe you’ll stay there for decades until the owner of the property decides he wants to sell his commercial property to another major developer. Suddenly you are out of a location.  Or, maybe a couple of years into your practice you meet another massage therapist at a conference and, to cut your current overhead costs, decide to combine your practices.  You suddenly find yourself working more hours and juggling more responsibilities while earning less income.

The thing is, if you don’t know where you want to be ~ you’ll still be somewhere years later in life.  Further, even if you do know where you’d like your career and your professional massage therapy practice to be years from now, without a plan your journey will be like scuba diving in murky waters without a compass ~ it’ll  be a scary journey, but you’ll still end up arriving somewhere.

If you know where you want to be, however, but don’t have a plan, you might never actualize your goals. Without  thinking about where you’d like to be and without a plan, you’ll still find yourself somewhere later on in life, just not maybe where you want to be.

Here’s some simple and easy steps to take to help you identify and actualize your goals.

Identify the things in life that bring you joy.

This step goes back to your values.  Do you strive to enhance and inspire the lives of others? Do you love being surrounded by luxurious, expensive things? Do you enjoy meeting new people and making them feel comfortable?  Do you like to teach and help empower others? Do you enjoy spending weeks at a time at the beach, in Europe, or in the mountains skiing? Do you look forward to sharing quality time with children, your family, and friends?  While you certainly can have many things you value, ultimately it all focuses back to a few focused things.  If you prefer to go to your practice, treat your clients, and then return home and spend your time reading a new novel while sipping a cup of tea in your backyard, running a multi-location practice is probably not for you.  If getting out of work by 5 PM every day is an important goal, then working extra hours during the week and on weekends is most likely something you won’t do – even if it increases your income.  If you want to make a profound impact in the massage therapy world, perhaps you’ll write books, create educational videos, and teach massage therapy students.

Identify the top three things you value.

Is it your time, financial freedom, and industry accolades?  Again, while you certainly can value many things in life, to be an effective and successful massage therapist and run a successful practice, it will be helpful to narrow down your top values so that you best formulate a plan to ensure you are able to experience, actualize, and reflect those values throughout your life and professional career.

Visualize retirement.

Whether you want to retire at 50 and write books about massage therapy from your beachfront home, or work until your 90, it’s important to make plans for that time in your life. If you don’t, you’ll end up spending too many Saturdays shopping for things you don’t really want (or need) instead of saving your money for your beach house.

See where your starting point is.

Now that you’ve contemplated where you want to be in many years, come back around to where you are today. What are the different things you can put into place today to help you achieve your goals? Even if it is just 15 minutes a day of doing cardio exercise, or saving just $50 a week, or attending just one massage therapy conference per quarter, what is it you can actually do today to start bringing your dreams to fruition?

Ensure your values and your goals are in sync.

If you value learning, your goals will incorporate classes, workshops, and education. If you value your time with your family, you’ll operate your business during normal hours. You can’t set goals for one lifestyle and then make choices contradictory to that and expect the desired outcomes.