Acting from the future is compelling. Standing in the future you desire and creating the roadmap that made it possible gives you the perspective not visible from your current vantage point. It becomes a touchstone that creates shared meaning and purpose with others who are essential to your success.
Our model for this is children engaged in imaginary play. Children participate in elaborate thinking with little regard for relevancy to what they know or what is realistic. Their plotlines are epic and often center on otherwise impossible activities - having superhero powers, conquering dragons, you get the idea. Unencumbered by thoughts about limitations and acceptable norms, children express their most joyful ambitions during imaginary play.
What would be different for you as a business owner if you tapped into your most joyful ambitions? Would you feel differently? Would you think differently? Would you make different decisions, and would they be better?
The answer to all of these questions is YES! And, in business, we don't call this dreaming, we call it visioning because we focus our attention specifically.
Like imaginary play, visioning suspends what we know, and lets go of all our current constraints. We transport our thinking to a future state in which we have achieved our most joyful ambitions. We pay attention to who and what we are in this future state and create a sharp visual image of our future selves. From this future, we look backward to name and appreciate the essential milestones on our journey. [for a free template, go here]
Maybe you are like me, and when you read this, your head and heart recognize a compatriot. If not, let me share some real business examples of the power of stepping outside of your current reality and all its limitations. All of these household products required people to set aside traditional thinking, overcome technical constraints, or believe in consumers' willingness to adopt a product for which they didn't even know to ask. Do you or have you owned any of these?
The market-disrupters mentioned above were successful because their vision was unrestricted. And, unfortunately for many, as they grew their market, other companies suffered tremendous setbacks.
Likely, these companies had great business plans predicated on the world remaining static. Standing behind their boulder and focusing on gaining market share prevented them from seeing the importance of adapting their strategies to a changing consumer landscape.
If you want to build your business success engine or fine-tune the one you have, it is essential to have a robust vision of the success you want to create and a roadmap of the significant milestones that made your success possible. This vision and roadmap have the most power when they are committed to paper and placed where you and others in your company can use them to guide your plans and decisions. When you begin to act from your future success, you increase your ability to see new opportunities, short-cuts, and non-essential issues that you can ignore. As a bonus, you boost your happiness and energy.
To tie back to lesson 1 from last week, let me share a more personal example of this shift in perspective.
Many people focus on losing weight at some point in their lives. The traditional guidance is to burn more calories than we consume. Our internal conversation focuses on high calorie, nutritionally deficient foods that we should eliminate or significantly reduce from our diet. With our thoughts focused on what we can't have, we start an internal war with ourselves centered on deprivation. Statistics show us that most of us do not win this war and re-lose those same ten pounds over and over.
Acting from your future is aligning your current behaviors and choices as if you have already achieved your vision. It requires clarity and a vision that ignites your passion and joy. Acting from your future requires you to deconstruct your path to success so you can focus your effort on the critical actions that made achieving your vision possible. You can't do it alone, so those on the journey with you must share your vision and passion. Make it an essential reference tool by writing it down and keeping it visible. Most importantly, step away from your boulder and change your line of sight. The path forward may be easier than you can currently see.