How Your Future Self Can Help Your Present Self

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I’ve never been to a high school or college reunion. When you go to a different school every year, people tend to lose track of you. But I had a great virtual reunion recently with an old friend from my uni days.

As we strolled down memory lane, mindful of knee problems and early-onset osteoporosis, my friend reminded me how I’d helped her land her first job out of college and even guided her through the negotiation. Even then, I was preparing to become the coach, and the person, I am today.

It was rewarding to hear my pal’s perspective and recognize that, perhaps, the best parts of my past have managed to weave 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 a-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.

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