Do you suffer from a failure to launch?
Not rockets or big, grand openings of some special event, but a simple and consistent launch into the next chapter of your own life.
You see, most of us have the whole dreaming thing figured out. We know exactly what we want to be in the future, how we want to live, who we want to know, what we’d like to do with our time, but for some reason, we can not even begin to fathom how to make it all happen.
We rely on serendipity and “someday.” We hope that the pieces will all fall into place for us, somehow. We wait on that big break, or that promotion, or whatever final piece of the puzzle we seem to be convinced is coming, if only we can hang in there and wait it out.
Or maybe you have a goal and a plan, but you can’t figure out how to balance your current responsibilities with your future aspirations. There’s not enough time or enough money, or enough… something.
Not that guy? What about the one that’s overly opportunistic? You know what you need to do, you know how to do it, and you even have the time and resources set aside for it but, distractions!
You pursue all the opportunities that come your way because, you know, you’re not one to turn down a good thing. You’ll get back on track after this one thing, this shiny new thing that you didn’t see coming but now that it’s here, surely you must take advantage and go after it, right? Problem is, there’s almost always another shiny new thing that you end up diverting your resources to, another opportunity to carpe diem and if you’re unlucky, you may even be successful at it and then discover that you’re unhappy and unfulfilled when it’s already too late.
So, how do you find your one true North and stay the course? How do you figure out what you want and how to get there, and then go ahead to achieve your goals without giving in to distractions or excuses?
According to Peter Bregman, a CEO, bestselling author, and leadership coach, the answer is to practice being your future self.
“If you want to be productive, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Who do I want to be? Another question is: Where do I want to go? Chances are that the answers to these questions represent growth in some direction. And while you can’t spend all your time pursuing those objectives, you definitely won’t get there if you don’t spend any of your time pursuing them.
If you want to be a writer, you have to spend time writing. If you want to be a sales manager, you can’t just sell — you have to develop your management skill. If you want to start a new company, or launch a new product, or lead a new group, you have to spend time planning and building your skills and experience.
Here’s the key: You need to spend time on the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts. In other words — and this is the hard part — if you want to be productive, you need to spend time doing things that feel ridiculously unproductive.”
When you create your to-do list, you need to dedicate some time to the future. To learn that skill, meet with that person, or solidify that plan.
It probably won’t feel like much. You’ll probably spend a lot of the time failing and having to relearn and retry. You probably won’t get the same feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a task you’re already proficient at, but in the end it all adds up and slowly but surely, you’ll inch closer to your dreams and ultimately make it there.
“It’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running to a destination.”