“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
When I was twelve years old I wrote my life aspirations in the back of a journal. I wanted to play Division I college basketball. I also dreamed of going to Harvard Business School and envisioned owning a company. Believe it or not, I wanted to invent a "gun" that destroyed nuclear bombs without hurting anyone.

I was both realistic and idealistic in those dreams. Nevertheless, I am amazed at how my life, thus far, has mirrored those dreams. To set goals and achieve them is fulfilling, especially given that the path I have taken is not the one I had imagined.

I encountered unexpected obstacles including losing loved ones and moving from Chicago to Connecticut in the middle of my high school years. As a result, sometimes I lost sight of my goals, but these challenges also opened my eyes to new interests and dreams.

Today, the dreams I write of in my journal are to: own and run a company or professional sports league, write a book, publish my poetry, positively impact and give back to society by mentoring younger people and improving the educational system, sit on four company boards, allow myself to fall in love, raise a family in an outdoorsy area, be respected by my peers, pursue lifelong learning, climb five more 14,000 ft. mountains, teach others whenever possible and be open to new dreams and ideas. These are my goals. In realizing these goals, I plan to live my life the only way I know how: full of energy, ambition and the desire to experience every moment.

April 2006: Reflections on my essay from 2002

I remember writing this in the fall of my second year at HBS. I was hesitant to be specific on my desire to pursue a career in the sports industry, but I was pursuing this goal with all my heart and passion. Given the difficulty of entering the sports industry, making my personal goal so public felt like a big statement. However, over my life, I have learned that the only way to have an impact and fulfill dreams is to be fearless and go big. Writing this essay helped solidify my goals for the next phase of my life because as a child, I do not think I looked past age 30. Today I am the Director of New Business Development for the New England Patriots, and a key strategic and operational advisor to the franchise's Executive Management team. I am thrilled to be tasked with responsibilities that include strategic analyses, business operations optimization and detailed "game plans" which leverage the Patriots' assets, extend the brand and reach the Patriots' loyal fans.

Over the last 5 years, when I have doubts or life throws me some curve balls, I have looked back at this essay and been reminded how I felt when writing this essay. I am reminded how fortunate I am to be in the situation I am in. And, I am reminded to be patient because there is a lot more life to live and as noted in my essay then, there is a lot more to be done.

— Jessica Gelman