The busy daily life often leads us to the point, where we don’t remember to lead ourselves. In living we should be fully present in this very moment. In leadership, we should share out time between past (15 %), present (25 %) and future (75 %). The reason, future doesn’t come, it is made and either by us or someone else.
Of course we can let someone else to make the future. It is just, that they will focus on the future which is good for them. They don’t even know what we want, so how could they even build a future for us? There is a conflict between living our life and leadership of our life. Therefore I propose a week for future. At least I do need one once in a while. A week for future is giving more focus on evaluating where we want to go and where we are now. There are 3 main areas to look at, 2 perspectives and 3 questions. Take this week to cover them all.
“If you don’t have a goal, you might not get there” is a good sentence. So very often you hear people talk about “I should have….”. Lack of goal is the biggest barrier between regrets and success. Start your week for future with drawing a 3*6 matrix on a piece of paper. On the first row the left box write “my family”, the second row “my work” and the third row “myself”. On Monday write on the second column your answers to the question “what do I want my legacy to be?”. On Tuesday write on the third column “where am I know in relation to my legacy”. You can be totally and brutally honest with yourself, as this is for you. You don’t have to share it with anyone, if you don’t want to.
Wednesday will be the day of challenge. On the fourth column you write the main steps you have taken towards your legacy. Not plans you have had, but actual steps you have taken. Just the 3 most important ones on each of them. If you don’t know, then you can leave the box empty. Just make sure, that your are not just filling the box with words. Fill the box with content you have. Empty box is better than box filled with nonsense. It may hurt you to accept, that you have not taken the action you should have. It hurts you a lot more, if you lie to yourself today, because that will prevent you from starting to take the proper actions tomorrow.
Thursday is the day when you define your goals for the next 6 to 12 months. Write those on the fifth column. Choose your target time frame in relation to your life today. Where do you want to be then? Write clear goals which you can reach when you really work on them. No daydreaming here, as that will only lead to not taking action. Too much at one go is something our brain doesn’t like. The change requires a lot of energy and can be somewhat frightening (subconsciously) and hence the resistance. This is the first leg of a journey, hence make it something you can cover.
Friday is the day for action plan. In the sixth column you should write what are you going to do, in order to deliver you legacy in your life. Your actions are the things you are truly doing within your personal time frame. For most writing the actions is surprisingly easy. The tough part is dedicating the resources needed. Things don’t happen, unless you put in time (write the timeslots in your calendar), learn something (where and when you are going to study) and do something. Doing something means actions list or no-action list. Only 20 % of our actions truly matter. This means that there is a lot of things, we are doing, which we can let go. Your week for future is about letting go some of the clutter you have in life. Then, and only then, you reach the life where you can deliver your legacy.
If you are in doubt, then you can also look just for the next 2 or 3 months. Downgrade everything to smaller elements. You can even downgrade your legacy to your goal for the year. It is important, that you work on something, which is takes you from your comfort zone to your learning zone. Not any further (as that is the fastest way to failure). With this approach you learn to do things which deliver the best results. You will actually have more time and less stress. You accomplish more, as the clutter is not causing friction to you. After all, don’t we all want to live a meaningful and valuable life?
Our biggest enemy is our own beliefs and habits. We have created them by ourselves. And that is the good news because it means that we can create new beliefs and habits. Your week for future is about creating more beneficial ways to live. Not just financially, but also emotionally. The one, and the truly only one, thing that puts the successful people apart from the rest, is their ability to choose what not spend their time with. They have learnt to say “no” to things which don’t take them to their goals. You can do it too. It is a habit, which yuu can nurture through working with your week for future.
I need to warn you though. I started this approach when I was 27. I had a legacy in mind, something I wanted to deliver in my life. With this approach, I reached my goals much faster that I had even planned. And that happened with joy and pleasure! I did drop this week for future habit after I had reached some goals. And I started to stumble. I did not even see my stumbling but decade later.
Your week for future is not difficult to do. It is a simple task, something everyone can do. As a habit, it will make your choices better and your life more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Your partner in making success happen, Kari I. Mattila, emotional intelligence advisor