3 Surprising Things You Can Learn About Goals from Facebook

During the company's third-quarter earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg let the world in on his three, five, and ten-year plans for Facebook. Yep, Mark fully anticipates Facebook being around and relevant in ten years. His plans for the social network are specific, calculated, and gutsy.

What You Can Learn About Setting Goals from facebook

Mark zuckerberg

Mark zuckerberg

Take a cue from Zuckerberg and make your own three, five, and ten-year plans. Here’s what I noticed about his plans.

3-Year Goals

Zuck said,

“Over the next three years, our main goals are around continuing to grow and serve our existing communities and businesses and help them reach their full potential.”

Zuckerberg’s discussion of Facebook’s three-year plan centered around what’s currently happening and proving their approach is working.

What are you currently invested in regarding your career, relationships, and finances? Do you want to have anything to do with where you currently are in three years? If you don’t see yourself in the same industry, in the same relationship, or spending money in a similar way in three years, now’s the time to make those changes.

What’s working well in your life? Invest more there. For Zuckerberg it’s Facebook Groups and Instagram. For you, perhaps it’s the company you work for or your newfound love of biking. Take note of the aspects of your life that you want to cultivate long-term and focus your efforts there.

5-Year Goals

For Zuckerberg’s five-year plan he said,

“Over the next five years, our goals are around taking our next generation of services–Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Search–and helping them connect billions of people and become important businesses in their own right.” Zuckerberg continually uses the language “our goals are around.”

That begs the question—do you know what ideas your goals are around? What do you value most? This may not be your primary focus right now, but it will be in five years. Maybe in five years your goals are around getting a book published or starting a family. What can you do now to make solid investments toward that future?

Zuckerberg also mentioned plans to continue building on what the company is currently doing. He mentioned that just last month they finally completed the acquisition of Whatsapp. Facebook’s five-year plan has a lot to do with what’s happening at Facebook right now. The same is true for your life.

10-Year Goals

It’s pretty impressive that Facebook even has a ten-year plan. Ten years ago when Zuckerberg was a 20-year-old, could he have possibly “planned” where Facebook would be now? No matter how much the technology landscape can and will change, he can’t simply throw up his hands and say “well, there’s no way to plan for or predict the future that far down the road!” That’s business suicide. The same goes for you. You need to start dreaming and envisioning who you want to be in ten years today. It’s OK to be somewhat general and to center your vision on certain ideas you value. That’s kind of what Facebook is doing.

This is what Zuckerberg said:

“For the next 10 years our focus is on driving the fundamental changes in the world that we need to achieve our mission, connecting the whole world, understanding a world with big leaps in AIs, and developing the next generation of platforms, especially in computing.”

Facebook’s ten-year plan is focused on values-based decisions and “fundamental changes.” Zuckerberg envisions putting a lot of focus on one of his projects that will have a lasting legacy: internet.org. According to Zuckerberg, the internet.org app “provides free data access to a set of basic internet services for health, education, employment, and communication.” What will your legacy be? Begin thinking about this now.

Your goals and priorities probably looks pretty different than Zuckerberg's.  But approaching your career, personal life, and life’s purpose in a similar way will help you make decisions today that put you closer to the life you want to be living in the future.

Can you envision where you want to be in five years? What could you do today to contribute to that future? 

A version of this article first appeared on Levo League