3 Questions to Help Create the Future You Want
In a time of constant change and disruption, it’s important to not only disconnect, but to self-reflect. When you do these two together, the results may surprise you.
My most profound realizations and new ideas have come from quiet moments. As I write this, I’m on a balcony overlooking the beach in San Sebastián, Spain, where the food is incredible, the vibe is chill, and the smiles abound. After a whirlwind year already, this trip is a much-needed break that is giving me an opportunity to relax, recharge, and reflect.
To be our best selves, we all need to rest. But in my role as an executive coach, I have seen that learning to reflect as you unwind can be a struggle for many people. You don’t have to take a big vacation to make this happen. You can start by carving out a few moments in the morning while you’re drinking coffee, away from email, or in the evening on a walk.
Whatever time you find, use it to ask yourself these three questions to help jumpstart your reflection.
Question #1: Are you happy with how you spend your time?
This seems basic, but I am surprised by how many people don’t know their answer to this question.
Time has become the most valuable commodity in our world. Especially in the United States, we seem to be in a constant race to get more done in a short amount of time. We are constantly looking for more hours in our day.
Does it make us happier? Based on most recent surveys, as well as reporting on why people are resigning at unprecedented numbers, it’s obvious the answer is ‘”no.”
Question #2: In 10 years, what would you like your life to look like?
This is one of my favorite questions. When answering it, think in terms of what your day, week, or month would look like. Not just in goals or accomplishments, but literally how would it feel and what would you be doing. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, how would you spend your time?
This exercise helps visualize the lifestyle you want to have. Regardless of where you are today—whether it’s shuttling kids between activities or working unbelievable hours to try and get a promotion—step back from the current world you are in and picture what your life would be. This enables you to become more intentional in how you start making decisions to achieve that future vision.
Question #3: What activities or work drain your energy and motivation?
If you think about question one, it’s focusing on your happiness today. Question two helps you visualize where you want to be. Sometimes it can seem far away, and there could be so many obstacles preventing you from achieving it. This third question drives you to take action now for the activities in your current life that prevent you from addressing questions one and two.
Your physical, mental, and emotional state directly influence your ability to make decisions. And if you feel so worn out at the end of the day that you don’t have time to work on the things you love, or your future plans, then you must address it first.
So many people are caught in a constant hamster wheel where they think they must keep running instead of stopping to say “no” to some things.
The pandemic hit the pause button for some who realize they’ve been heading in the wrong direction. While you don’t have control over everything you can or cannot do, start with identifying two to three things that you strongly dislike doing—the things that wear you down during the day— that you can say no to, or delegate to someone else.
Remember that today you are on a path— is it the one you want to take? It’s up to you to create your future. So, whether it’s on a beach, in your backyard, or watching the sunrise from atop a mountain, find your place to ponder and reflect. Don’t just let life “happen” to you. Seize your moment. You deserve it.
Good luck and happy trails!
– Bill Fournet