Welcome to Day 2 of the 5-day Focus Challenge. If you haven’t yet, make sure to complete Day 1 before attempting today’s challenge. Today’s challenge is all about identifying your ideal future so you can start making progress towards creating it.
Let’s get started.
“I hate my job.”
No, I didn’t say that. I actually LOVE my job (it’s incredibly rewarding helping people take massive action on their goals and achieve the future they’ve always dreamed of). But based on a 2014 Gallup poll, it is true for the majority of Americans. According to Gallup, 70% of Americans think their job sucks.
And chances are it’s not just their job that sucks. Chances are, they are also unhappy about their relationships, their living environment, or the fact that they don’t work out as often as they should.
Many of them are stuck in a vicious cycle of negativity and they feel like they can’t escape it. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there right now. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but I do know one thing:
You have the power and the potential to change.
And all you need to do is change where you’re going.
I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers encouraged the attendees (all business people looking to take their companies to the next level) to “escape the cycle of suck” and dare to dream of a different future.
Today, I give you the same advice – choose today to “escape the cycle of suck.” Fortunately, it’s not that difficult – all you need to do to change your path. If you don’t like where you are, stop doing what you’ve always done! And the way that you do this is by choosing not to look at your past. Instead, look to your ideal future.
Identifying your ideal future is extremely important. You will never achieve success by accident. You must identify where you are going before you figure out how you’re going to get there. The picture of your ideal future is the signpost you use to make sure that you are moving in the right direction.
Much like a tree in a corn maze.
Navigating the corn maze of life
Every fall, I take my family to a nearby farm. It’s become a tradition for us. My kids love to visit the farm, climb on the hay bails, feed the animals, ride the tractor, and my wife and I love the apple pies. But our favorite things to do there is the corn maze (I know, it’s a total midwest thing).
Last fall when we made our annual visit, I went through the corn maze with my 8 year old son. Because we went during the week, the farm was pretty much empty and we were the only ones going through the maze at that time. So as we were navigating the maze, it struck me how quiet it was and how scary this same experience might be to an 8-year old if they didn’t have their father right there with them. Think about it – to an 8 year old, the corn maze is enormous. Not only does it span several acres, but because the corn goes over your head you literally can’t see the end of it – nothing but corn as far as your little eyes can see.
As we navigated the corn maze together, we came to an elevated platform in the middle of the maze. When you walk up the stairs to the platform, you’re able to see the entire corn maze at once. This helps you get your bearings and decide where you should go. From up here, you can see several details you miss while in the maze: where you started, how far you’ve come, the overall size of the maze, and most importantly, the location of the exit.
Once you find the exit, you can then find a marker – like a big tree near the exit – that you can use while navigating from within the corn maze. This tree can serve as a focal point to make sure you are going the right way. Even though you can’t see the exit, as long as you’re moving towards your focal point (the tree) you can be sure you are moving in the right direction.
The picture of your ideal future will provide the motivation to stick with it when things don’t go exactly like you want.
That’s exactly what the picture of your ideal future does.
We all have reasons to be unsatisfied with where we are right now. But if all you do is complain about your current situation, you’ll never be able to get out of the corn maze. You have to find a marker and start moving towards it. You must choose to escape the cycle of suck and start moving towards the future that you’ve always dreamed of before you can ever achieve it.
Those who do not think about the future cannot have one. – Michael Kami
So today, choose to focus on where you’re going, not where you’ve been. Abraham Lincoln once said that the best part about the future is that it arrives one day at a time. Your future begins today, but first you must choose to be intentional about where you are going and crate a mental image of your ideal future.
Spend at least 10 minutes today thinking about your ideal future. Picture yourself in 5 years, 10 years, even 20 years – what does a day in the life of future you look like? What would it look like if you were wildly successful? Here are some important details to consider:
- What time do you get up in the morning?
- What do you during the day?
- What kind of job do you have?
- What do you do for fun?
- What do you do for exercise?
- Where do you live?
- Who are the important people in your life that are there with you?
- What kind of car do you drive?
- What is your relationship with your significant other like?
- What is your relationship with your kids (if you have any) like?
Once you know what kind of future you want, WRITE IT DOWN! You could either use words or pictures if you prefer, but be as specific as possible. The more specific you are about your ideal future, the stronger the image gets imprinted in your mind and the stronger your “why” becomes. This will become very important in helping you follow through and take action to achieve your ideal future, even when you don’t feel like it.
Once you’re done, let us know in the comments. If you are using a picture, feel free to share it (you can use a Dropbox link or Pasteboard)!
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