Build a picture of Future You

We’ve all got an image of sorts in our heads about ourselves in the future. It might be hazy and the captions missing, but this image is at least something to aim for, but there is a foot-note to read. There should be warnings that go with the images and stories about Future You because the expectations you create now can both help and hinder you on your journey. You have to pay just the right amount of attention to the little details in the pictures and stories you write about Future You because they matter more than you think right now - today. And is there really only one picture you are moving towards? The way your life and work move into the future starts to get confusing.

When we set out on a career, we put a whole section of our future selves into play. For me it's like playing a movie in my head. For more verbal thinkers I imagine it would be quite different. Part of the script is imagined success, however there must be at least a little ‘content’ about what is actually done. Each frame in the movie has to be created at the point of capture and you have to think several frames ahead.

Note here that in the movie - or the book if that’s the way you want to represent the story - there is other content. there is a place setting, furniture, computers perhaps, other people, a named city or country. There is weather. There are failures and successes. The more detail you put in, the more you feel yourself liking or not liking the story you have set in motion. The more it feels like the gap is too big between you and them. You might jump fairly quickly to another job which feels like a better ‘fit’. It might not be so adventurous. And so as you think yourself forwards into future you, you change it to another imagined career, another future you.

Many original thinkers and successful careerists started out with a garage and an idea. They didn’t have the Alfa Romeo sports car. They didn’t have the fancy Googleplex. They did have a letter box (yes, snail mail!) and a space in their bedroom to work. If you asked them how they had felt about the things they lacked at the time, they may have talked about the practical benefits and limitations, but as long as they were making progress, I don’t think there would have been too much angst on the creature comforts. But if the roof leaks on your prototype computer, that can be a game changer. If you cannot store books because your Nascent Amazon garage is too small, then you have to fix that problem. Bad coffee might be a problem if your key developer lives off the stuff.

So take yourself back to the role of movie director and lead actor. You can picture the conversation where you as director have an image in your head of the scene, and you as the actor have a different set of realities and impulses about how the scene will roll.

  1. Be aware of the amount of detail you put in the picture. Too much and you limit the magic that the actor (you) will be able to deliver. Too little and the actor works without guidance.
  2. Remember that that picture of Future You creates expectations. The situations you face will not be the ones you imagined, nor the exactly the ones anyone else has experience, particularly your heroes. Expect that you can sort it out, you just can’t predict exactly how from this far out
  3. The success factors which play out in the future have their ‘antecedents’ or roots now. If Future You had ‘stuck it out’  then current you has to find things that will give you that quality now. If Future You has money, then if you don’t have money now, you have to learn how money is acquired. And the money might just come at the end, not in the next few decades.

So if you want to create a map of your career and life going forwards, there are some tricks to making one up that is not just fantasy. If you are curious about how to do this, you can book for the online webinar 10 August or join us at a face to face seminar 18 August in Melbourne for the Small Business Festival of Victoria.