Where do I want to be in 5 years?

One of the projects in my visionary leadership class is to create a 5 year Personal Development Plan. I’m really stumped here. I tried to see whether it would be possible to wriggle out of committing to a destination by framing the question as to “who I wanted to be” rather than “what”. But alas, the professor decreed that I needed to commit to a specific professional destination so that I could chart the path to get there. Three years ago, this task would have been simple. I only ever had a single professional destination in mind: run a successful biomedical research laboratory. It is only since starting the MBA program in January 2004 that I have even allowed for the possibility that there could perhaps be another path, another destination. Biotech? Academic Administration? Start a business outside of science? Blog professionally? Invest in real estate after the bubble markets collapse? Stay in academic research? Something else that I haven’t considered?

Some of these are certainly less feasible than others. It is a very strange feeling for me. Since the age of 6, I had a specific destination in mind. Now, I just don’t know. But sometime soon, I will need to pick and develop one into an actionable plan. I could take the easy route and simply chart out the path I’m currently on. Yet, I feel the exercise will be much more valuable if I choose something outside of my comfort zone, something less familiar. What is possible? How would I get there?