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What is my future? Who hasn’t thought about this question during their studies, maybe during their early career? As a matter of fact, this question might be posed by some of you every day during your entire life. Honestly, the answer is not easy, and it needs some deep thought, and what’s more, it takes some imagination.
With the constant changes, adversities, fluctuations that are going on in our environment now (known as the VUCA world), many companies are confused and going into bankruptcy, governments are in crisis mode, and even your individual future is hanging by a thread. The question gains more relevance today than ever before, so it´s no wonder that at the present date many are confused about what they should feel regarding what the future holds for them. This is totally understandable. At the same time, it is bringing people to realize what is extremely important for them: their purpose, their direction, and figuring out how to re-prioritize and design their own future.
I mentioned the word ‘future’ several times – a very vague word, wide meaning, not easy to grasp or pin down. Nevertheless, let’s think about it as our bearings, our direction, and if you want, a type of arrow that gives direction to our life vector. You may ask, why do I need this direction? Simple, with no direction (whatever it may be) you will be running in constantly changing directions that are influenced by the VUCA circumstances we live in, wasting your potential, diminishing your reach, and ultimately not living a fulfilling life that uses all your potential while making a meaningful impact on your environment. Lack of clarity about the future means blurry directions.
Now that we have the ‘future’ element under control, let’s talk about designing your future. This we can break it down into some simple steps.
First – the ‘me’
This is a very inward journey; this is all about self-knowledge. It refers to knowing your skills, traits, core values, strengths, weaknesses, personality – a whole range of elements that describe you as a person.
Second – the ‘outside’
This is more about the environment surrounding us in which we live (local and global). What is happening around me? What signals and indicators I am receiving from my environment? What trends and influencing factors do I perceive? Basically, we start to be aware in a systematical way about the obvious and not so obvious elements in our surroundings.
Third – future possibilities
Start to develop ideas or future states of where your circumstances and environment could develop towards. Ever heard about future scenarios? Well, that is what you are doing, you are starting to create ideas of how the future could look like and deriving what these developments mean for you.
Fourth – your future vision
Based on who you are, your skills, your environmental situation, the future scenarios you have created and the options you have derived, you can start to define a vision of where you want to go and create your own personal future vision.
Keep in mind that you, your environment, and your future possibilities will shift and change throughout time, so this exercise needs to be repeated and adjusted ever so often. The idea is to keep adjusting your bearings for that ultimate future you would like to reach, little by little and making it sharper and more defined as you continue on your life’s journey.
I have done this exercise during my life and it has given me the opportunity of seeing new possibilities I wasn’t aware of, building a more fulfilling life purpose, having a broader impact on the mission I am out to achieve, making assertive decisions at the right moment and, most importantly, it has helped me to continue working for a future I want and not being shifted off track by circumstances.
This leads me to give you a final piece of advice:
Don’t leave your future to chance, take the initiative, leverage what you have and design your own future.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead October 2021 issue.