In my former life, I was a journalist—a job I loved because it gave me an intimate look into people’s lives.
Over several years, I had the honor to hear and share many incredible stories. I wrote about a man who transitioned from a life of poverty to CEO of a multi-million dollar social enterprise, a woman who researched neurology at Harvard after a childhood in the Middle East where she could not study science, and many others.
The takeaway from these tales was this: Whatever you can imagine can happen—even if you have no idea how.
As I started my dance and coaching business from scratch, I thought a lot about these amazing people and wondered about how my own life would unfold. I also realized I wanted to have a more active role in designing the outcome.
Through a practice I’ll share with you today, I gave myself the opportunity to do just that.
This practice of writing a Future Story was so effective that I continue to use it to this day. Whenever I work with clients on setting goals (or begin working on a new goal of my own), this Future Story is a critical first step.
The Path Becomes Clear: Sometimes we want something so badly that our minds become cloudy or we become overwhelmed when we try to imagine it. By creating a clear vision, we prepare ourselves to move in the right direction (and often reach our goals sooner than we thought!). We can also more easily recognize our successes when we reach them.
It keeps you going when the goin’ gets tough: Anytime you build something new, there are setbacks. When you feel discouraged, reading your beautiful Future Story and feeling fully present to the new life you are creating can raise your morale and restore your motivation.
Your vision allows people to rally behind you: When you have a big, beautiful goal for your life that aligns with who you are, people can sense your enthusiasm and your clarity. In fact, it’s contagious. By knowing where you’re headed, you can also be clear on the kind of support you want. How would you like your parents to support your vision? Your best friend? Your roommates? Your Future Story allows these people to be informed allies.
You have a guide for decision-making: By getting in touch with the new reality, you can identify the choices that will take you closer to your goals: Does accepting that new job offer in Michigan align with your goal to be a globe-trotting entrepreneur? As motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
Are you ready to write your own Future Story? It’s simple!
Step 1: Choose a measurable goal and a hard deadline (preferably a year or more from now). Do you want to land a big promotion? Teach your first class in Paris? Book your first solo vacation to the Bahamas?
Step 2: Write about the day that your goal is complete. Are you sitting in your new office? Unwinding with a glass of pinot noir after your workshop in France? Sitting on a gorgeous Bahama beach drinking a pina colada? Write about everything you are experiencing in the moment—what you see, what you feel, who is with you, what you are present to. Challenge yourself to write a whole page and make this vision feel as real as possible.
Step 3: Hang it up somewhere you can see it (and share it with me if you’re inspired to)!
As I mentioned, this is one of the most important steps I use in a goal-setting process. To quote the famous feminist journalist Gloria Steinem:
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”
Have questions or want to know more about Future Stories or the goal-setting process? Just let me know!
With lots of love and happy feet,