Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eight questions to get to the future you want

"You've got to think about big things while you're doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction." Alvin Toffler, Futurist
Create your vision. Follow your vision.
Alvin Toffler is one of the world's best known futurists and writers, recognized for his decades of work discussing revolutions in technology, business, and society. His ideas have influenced presidents, enterprise executives, and educators alike -- and they have a powerful message to send to students budding into the next generation of business leaders.

Are you creating a future you desire? Or not? Knowing what direction you are heading is key. We all need to have a clear vision for leading ourselves in order to get to the future we desire, or we will end up somewhere else.

Below I have listed some questions to help you think through what is important to you for creating the future you deserve. Answer these questions honestly to start formulating your vision.

1. What do you really care about? What are you passionate about doing? What are your hopes and dreams?

2. What do you value?

3. What do you enjoy doing?

4. What makes you to feel fulfilled, enriched, and satisfied in life?

5. Close your eyes and relax. Think out three to five years from now. Picture in your mind what you want your future to look like. What do you see? For example,

  • Where do you see yourself located?
  • What does the organization or environment look like? How are things organized?
  • Are you spending time primarily indoors or outdoors?
  • What is it you see yourself doing? What are others doing?
  • Are you primarily working with others and/or alone?
  • In what ways are you interacting with others? Are they positive interactions?
  • Do you like what you see? Are you and others happy, fulfilled?
  • What else do you see in this picture? (Get as specific as you can.)

6. Are your answers rooted in reality or lacking reality?

7. Will your vision of the future enable you to explore possibilities, to stretch and grow your skills and experiences, beyond where you are today?

8. Does your vision inspire you? Is it energizing?

Write down your reflections in response to each question noted above. After you are done, look across your answers. What responses resonate more with you? Any surprises? Look for a common direction in your answers. This should help to clarify and reinforce your vision.

You might want to have a conversation with someone you trust to share and discuss your reflections. Talking out loud can be a clarifier as well. Lastly, refine your vision by organizing it into a set of bullet points or outline. This simplified format can serve as a daily reminder for you, and can help make it easier to work toward your vision.

Create your vision. Follow your vision. These are stepping stones to the future you desire!