I've never been to a high school reunion. When you go to a different school every year, people tend to lose track of you. But I had the best reunion I could possibly imagine when I saw my old friend and former roommate, Cydney, in her hometown of Denver recently. Cydney and I had shared a Hollywood apartment during our mid-20s when both of us were struggling with careers, finances and relationships. Somehow, we had let our friendship slip during the years, but Cydney tracked me down through my Web site and contacted me to see if I was planning on being in Denver soon. I had two upcoming speaking engagements there.
Now, catching up, it was remarkable to see ourselves and how far we'd come through each other's eyes. Cydney, a Calista Flockhart lookalike with a model's figure, had hardly changed despite the addition of one terrific husband and two lively kids. It was a treat to see how she'd evolved into the loving wife and mother I thought she'd become one day. It was intriguing to hear her reaction to me and my book, since much of it was set during our years together.
As we strolled down memory lane, mindful of knee problems and early-onset osteoporosis, Cyd told me what a good friend I'd been back then. Cyd recalled how I'd helped her create a marketing plan when she landed her first big commercial real estate job managing an office building, and negotiated a film deal for her after reading the actor's union handbook. Even then, I was preparing to become the coach, and the person, I am today.
It was rewarding to hear Cydney's perspective and recognize that the best parts of my past have woven their way into my present. And it's comforting to think that, as we grow, we can consciously shape who we want to become if we have a clear concept of our future self. That is, the person you'd like to see yourself become someday, including the traits you want to develop or strengthen.
Allow me to introduce you to your future self. It's simpler than it sounds:
1. Make a list of five characteristics you want your future self to possess. They might include compassionate, joyful, energetic or productive.
2. Create a visual image of your ideal future self, embodying all the characteristics you identified. Consider your age, gender, dress and demeanor.
3. Now, imagine you – as you are today – having an in-depth conversation with your future self on a topic of your choice. You might be discussing business strategy in your corner office, or relationship and parenting dilemmas at the kitchen table.
4. Allow your future self to provide exactly the kind of guidance that your current self craves, whether it's comfort, confidence, sympathy, wisdom or a chuckle.
5. Finally, give your future self a name (if it's your name, that's OK) so that you can call upon him or her any time you want.
Like a grown-up version of an imaginary playmate, your future self will be there when you need a sympathetic ear or a celebratory smile. Most of all, getting to know your future self will reunite you with the best parts of you.
Until next time, Libby Gill, Executive Coach and Bestselling Author of “You Unstuck”
PS: You can still register for my You Unstuck Course (which began 2/16) athttp://libbygill.com/coaching-courses. I will be happy to send you the recording of last week and you can join us live for the next two weeks.