Six Ways to Find Your Future
The past is the future for most. Persistence and endurance assure continuity. But, more of the same won’t birth new futures. Looking back and holding on stagnates, solidifies, and congeals life like cold bacon grease.
99% of the conversations I have about the future are actually about the past. Creating the future is recreating “glory days,” for most. It’s foolish and futile.
Modifying the old past never creates new futures.
Memories without dreams are anchors.
The future is made by those who face forward, not backward. Stand on your glory days. Forget reruns.
Blame destroys your future. Your future begins when you own your past.
6 ways to find your future:
- Embrace ignorance. The unknown has more potential than the known. Everyone who pretends they know when they don’t, repeats the past.
- Reject past methods and strategies. In a turbulent world, methods that become moral imperatives destroy new futures.
- Build new relationships. Your future is about people not projects or accomplishments. Current relationships maintain stability; new relationships disrupt and extend. Treasure both.
- Embrace social media. Meet people succeeding where you wish to succeed.
- Overcome timidity. 70% to 80% certainty is enough.
- Systematically build the future alongside the old present. Once your future is strong enough, release the old and embrace the new.
Failure to let go is the reason you haven’t moved forward.
Point of stability:
Focus on values. New futures disrupt. Values stabilize.
Values guide as you go without determining destinations.
Without clear values, you’re adrift.
With 2013 peeking at us, how can leaders take steps to create the future?
Happy Holidays to you Dan. Thank you for these six great points, they are very encouraging. Number one hits my core as the unknown many times stops me from pursuing ideas that I have. I am going to post this on my mirror. Thank you!
You have my best for the new year, Tina. Thanks for being an encourager.
Originally, I had #1 at the bottom of the list. But after some thought, like you, I felt it was one of the top reasons we don’t reach forward.
We learn from what we don’t know, not from what we know.
Happy New year Dan
Thanks Jim. Happy New Year to you too.
Everytime I see someone pretending everythings OK when it isn’t or knowing when they don’t, I know they are doomed to repeat the past.
Dan you are an inspiration. Your statements about relationships being the future and values being the point of stability are powerful. Thank you!!
Hi ML, thanks for the good word and pointing out two powerful ideas that help us find our future. Cheers!
Happy New Year Dan!!
Great article, I especially related to the values pieces. I believe values to be of great importance as we “find our future.” If we use our values to help us adapt to the future challenges and opportunities in front of us, it should keep us motivated and moving forward. After all, aren’t values, drive and excitement what helped us achieve the “glory days” to begin with??
I’m with you on values. Values express who we are and aligning with who we are guides and stabilizes. An added benefit is less stress.
Constantly cast the future for the team. If they can see the future you see, they will find their own vision in yours.
Nicely said, Todd. Thanks and Happy New Year
Being able to recognize what to embrace and what to let go of is perhaps the most difficult part. The old expression “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” comes to mind. Perhaps that is where the value piece comes in? Staying true to core values while exploring new paths opens doors and opportunities.
The second piece that jumped out at me was “meet people who are succeeding where I wish to succeed”. I recently took my career in a whole new direction and actively went out looking for successful people in the training / speaking business. Their willingness to share best practices has been invaluable. Someday I hope to give back the same way they have.
Thank you Laurie.
So true…there is always something good in something we are ready to let go. I agree values guide and perhaps priorities as well…
I’m with you. The list of people who shared their wisdom and experience with me is long and growing! It is encouraging to meet so many generous people.
Number two definitely resonates .. We have all seen leaders at all levels employing new and different for these changing and challenging times. We all must be open to creativity and I hate using this word … iNNOVATION .. Challenge ourselves to think and behave differently. Nice reminder of those things that only we can control.
Thank you Andrea.
As I read your contribution, the importance of bringing the outside in. I guess your use of the term “open.” Nothing like new eyes, young attitudes, and outsiders to shake things up. 🙂 Cheers
Dan – thanks for sharing, it’s always encouraging to read the words “future” and “engage” as noted in item 6 utilized together.
Well timed post nonetheless – as we all continue this journey!
Thanks Mike. A word of encouragement is a thing of beauty. Cheers
Hi Dan, great post for the end of the year and great lessons in your words of wisdom. First off I wish you and yours a very joyous, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
Tackling the future is always a challenge and you certainly provide plenty of wisdom as to how to go about it. Thinking about healthcare with all of the recent and upcoming changes and the woes of fear I hear from the sidelines makes me wonder just how exactly did we ever get this far.
I see three different approaches to the future. First live in the past and for sure a relic you will be; second dwell only in the present and stagnate and “crumble” as all around you leave or third you can choose not to be expectant, not to be waiting, not to be wanting and instead don’t walk but lunge forward and create what you meet and greet and decide along the way what you keep or discard and never stop to look back.
Waiting for the future to come to you is an exercise in futility since you have no say. Creating what you don’t see is totally yours and regardless of outcome without doubt you own it. Ownership is the only true, consistent, and reliable link between past, present and future. So “steady as she goes” may work for some but not for me.
Happy New Year to the LF Community and may surprises meet and welcome you as you journey. 🙂 Best, Al
Hi Al, and thanks for another powerful contribution.
I’m often encouraged and challenged by your compassion but this time it’s your passion that challenges me. I enjoy seeing this side of you.
“Lunge” gives me a feeling of abandon…coupled with a commitment to keep or discard along the way, makes sense to me. I love the “along the way” part.
Happy New Year to you as well my friend.
Very inspiring post, i also find that in this new disruptive world unlearning is as important as learning.
I strongly believe in this quote from Eric Hoffer “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists”
KaPOw! I thought I was direct. Holy Cow… I love “The learned usually find themselves equiped to live in a world that no longer exists.
Great reminders Dan. 1&3 resonate very clearly with me as I plan the next few years after a strong past four. New relationships are VIP to our future and love the fact that you place emphasis on values. Values v old methods: values give you the direction and comfort knowing they influence decision making.
Thank you Chris. A few years back during turbulent times I focused more on vision and didn’t emphasize values. This gave the organization I led an unstable feeling. I’ve learned that values are like anchors in rough seas.
Best wishes as you “lunge” into the future.
Dan, another great post. In working with my own coach we use a tool called “clearing” to ensure I remain focused on the future, especially during or immediately after a disruption has interrupted my future! In those moments we can easily resort to a “woe is me” attitude that prevents us from moving forward so I use “clearing” to help me move past old and tired issues so that I can focus on new and energizing ones. I liken it to how farmers prepare fields for new crops – they must first clear the fields of the old crop bearing in mind that part of the old crop does remain. Just little bits and pieces of course and only to fertilize to help the new crop grow, but never enough to interfere with the new crop.
Thank you Alf. Love your illustration from farming. I’m a farm boy from Maine, originally. Thanks for sharing a helpful exercise to help us all see through the weeds. Cheers!
All the six points to find future are excellent. I like specially the first one. Embrace ignorance- It has tremendous power. Accepting what you do not know is the sign of power. And pretending to know everything is fatal. Today, most of the workplace leaders(Managers), that I have come across fall into this category- they pretend to know everything. Even without listening full, they speak in between, I know it. It is such a harmful symptom, that it spread like virus. Lower level people try to follow this practice and keep on prevailing. These work place managers do not realize the repercussion of this habits. In fact they believe that they show intelligence and it will create impression among people. But this create space between follower and manager. And this turn into a fictitious cycle of values.
I appreciate your suggestion- leaders should create values. In 2013, I believe and think and leaders should make values at a benchmark. Performance should be more based on values. But there is a dark side of values. There has been lot of discussion on values. And this values differ from person to person, leader to leader. Hence, there is a real need to define values that has universal application. There should be clear components of values that have significance and meaning in all kind of performance.
Hi Ajay. I appreciate your underscoring the need to make “values” a crucial imperative benchmark. I totally agree that sustainable performance execution will hinge on how well we subscribe and implement the “intangibles” which ultimately predict continued success. I also agree with your premise of our need to listen more and speak less. I have not surprisingly found that observing “silence” has a greater impact then continual “chatter.” Say less, speak less often, understand more and a world of wisdom becomes the recompense. It is a difficult endeavor for us to believe and accept that “quiet” signals knowledge and not incompetence or apathy.
Often times as leaders our most important contribution to our team is merely our presence and attention and not what we do or say. This also creates “safe space” and invites or better said welcomes creativity and innovation to spurt forward from the hidden, undiscovered talents our team harbors frequently unbeknownst and undervalued.
One need only glance back through history to see the many “fringe” ideas that have withstood the test of time albeit coming from the most unexpected places, and the least known “suspects.”
I would be interested in hearing what you feel qualifies as “universal” values when viewed with the global perspective we now all must share.
Thank you for kind words and appreciations.
I am strong believer in values that respect human mankind. And all those values that addresses are universal values. It could be respect, integrity, honesty, humanity, trust, morality. I also believe that morality is something which is more important than ethics because ethics can have adverse impact on people depending upon how it is created. However , morality always have positive impact on people and society.
Spirituality is also essential parameter of universal values depending upon what is believed and practiced by the people in the particular context.
Being sensitive towards context is also an important component of universal values.
Thanks and Regards
Great post and timely for me. I particularly appreciate #6. The wording conveys a steadiness and gradualness rather than an abrupt exchange of one for the other. I’ve tried that with only temporary impact.
With 2013 peeking at us, how can leaders take steps to create the future? Great question. At first my answer would have been: “Ask yourself what you care most about and then ask youfself if you can leave an impact.” On second thoughts my answer is: “Leaders create the future by starting a conversation.” All the best for 2013!
It it time for me to re-engage some reading on Values. What have been your best reads in the past two years that focus on values definition and development.
Dan, #5 reminds me of a conversation I had with a long-time friend recently. In regard to building relationships, he shared that he never gets ‘to close’, or ‘to personal’ with those he works with, espesially, those whom he leads. I DO NOT subsribe to his way of thinking. I feel as a Leader, if you want to enjoy sucsess, sucsess that comes from employees who do there best, (even when the Boss is NOT around), your people have to trust you. “People don’t trust people they don’t know”. We don’t have to share every nuance of our lives. Simply put, “don’t be afraid let people in, it show’s em ‘your human’… Thanks Dan