Even before the pandemic, answering the question “where do you see yourself in the future?’ is a difficult one to answer for many people. And now, it can be even harder. Many people know they want something different – but they don’t know what. Women in particular are moving away from burnout and the burden Covid has brought, yet the future they want is not clear.
To do so we need to clarify where we are headed, and think beyond the limitations we’ve given ourselves.
This can be hard because:
- When we try to create our future, we do so from our current reality and mindset. This means we look to the future and what might be possible, with our current capabilities and situations. So the future, at best, looks like more of what we have, only a bit different. And this is not very inspiring.
- We might think it’s not practical or possible. (But who is making this judgement?)
- The dreams and longings swirling within that we do have, we push down. We minimise what the future might offer us because we are looking at it from the perspective of our current self.
- We don’t know where to start. Thinking about what we want takes space for reflection and imagining. There are internal barriers to believing we can have what we want. And then there is the literal time we need to devote to truly tease out our possible future.
What can we do about this?
We forget that in the future we won’t be the same person we are now. We will have grown and learned things. The ‘me’ of my future that achieves these goals knows what she is about.
It’s helpful to realise that that me as I currently am may not be capable of fulfilling this future – yet. But my ‘future self’ – future Cathy, is.
So don’t limit your dreams and the life you want to live because it seems impossible now. I encourage you to create some ideas around the life you want to be living, and the work you are doing three or five or twenty years from now.
This is what happened for me nearly 30 years ago. In that village in Ethiopia I vowed to play a role in ending huger on the planet. Who I was then didn’t know how – but I didn’t let that stop me. My commitment became the beacon, and from there I grew into the leader I became. I let my ‘future self’ guide me.
Get to the heart of what you really yearn for. The longing in your own soul. That ambition you have to make an impact in whatever way is important to you. That might be in the work you do, or in your health, or relationships. It’s ok if for now you don’t see the pathway. That’s fine. Your vision will act like a lighthouse, and your future self will show you the way.
Till next week