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How to Brainstorm Your Future
Are you clear on what you want? The beginning of the year is a great opportunity for you to get your dreams on paper in all of the areas of your life. Although you are a business owner, it is important to recognize that your business is a part of your life--not separate from it. It is important that you determine how it fits into your life. When you do, it will excite you more because you will know how your business enhances your life.
Everything that you do in your life should stem from what you want. When you take the time to consider what you want and what is important to you and then make choices that are in alignment with those things, you will be a happy camper. And happy people have a lot more fun. Happy people enjoy their success and spread happiness to others. This may sound basic but people often skip considering what they want when making decisions about their life and their business. Then they wonder why they are in situations and relationships that don’t make them happy. So think of the relationships that you would not have been in or things that you would not have done had you taken a moment to consider whether it was something you really wanted or that supported your life, vision and goals. Of course, you cannot go backwards. Let’s not have any regrets. But you can start developing a respectful relationship with yourself now and start considering what you want before making more choices.
Knowing what you want creates your map so that you know where you are going. If you know what you want, you can create a plan to get there. You can’t map out your action steps if you don’t know where you are going. When you do not have a clear picture of what you want, you often end up with what you don’t want.
Knowing what you want invests you in your future. It gives you something to reach for and take action towards. If gives you something to get excited and motivated about. When we don’t know what we want, we struggle, we feel incomplete and purposeless.
Knowing what you want also reveals obstacles in your way. When you dream about what you want in your life, negative emotions will come up--an obstacle. For example, you might feel fear, anxiety or overwhelm. This is a good thing because then you know that you will need support with those obstacles as you move forward.
I want you to begin dreaming up your new future--the future that YOU want to have.
I have provided some questions below that you should find to be fun and motivating. Don't think drudgery...you are creating your future. Make sure you have no distractions and create an environment that stimulates you--whatever that means. It could mean lighting candles and playing inspiring music while sipping on a glass of sparkling cider or wine. Whatever makes you feel pumped up and inspired to get your dreams out.
Now, this is a brainstorm session, so don’t worry about structure. Don’t worry about whether you believe you can achieve this future… just dream it up! Let the creative juices flow. Use the following questions to assist you in brainstorming what you want in the different areas of your life. You can use the areas below or the spokes from Zig Ziglar's Wheel of Life. These questions are meant to assist/prompt you. Please do not be limited by them. They are just here to get the ball rolling. You can add to the questions, go deeper…whatever you want. Write whatever you are inspired to write. If any of the questions don’t apply or make sense, skip them.
REMEMBER: This is NOT where your life is today. It is WHERE YOU WANT YOUR LIFE TO BE IN THE FUTURE.
When you are dreaming of your future, there are some potential traps that you can fall into, so I want you to beware of them:
The people-pleasing trap. If you allow others to influence your dreams, you may find yourself disappointed in your partners, people, your career, etc. You may become unsatisfied because you did not carefully listen to your own voice. At the end of the day, it is your life and business and you get to live with all of the consequences of your choices. A happy YOU will make all of the people associated with you happier.
The this-is-as-good-as-it-gets trap. This trap makes you feel that your life and business is as good now as it will ever be so you do not want to reach for something better. You end up succumbing to your own limiting ideas about what is possible for your life and business and then you feel depressed, angry, sad and bitter because your life and business are not where you want them to be. I am asking you to dream and hope again and begin to envision that you having what you want.
The I-don’t-know-what-I-want trap. You do know what you want and you do know what you don’t know. What you don’t know is if you want the things that you don’t know about. If you have never driven a Maserati, you don’t really know if you want one. How could you? So, what do you do? You take one for a test drive. You gather all of the information you need to make an informed decision, and then you make a choice. So don’t confuse yourself. Rather than focusing on what you don’t know, focus on what you do know and then get more information for the rest. If you are not prepared to make certain decisions about your life or business, get more information so that you can make a choice. Don’t let not knowing stop you. If you get all the information you need and you still don’t know what you want, then you are dealing with attachment to results which is fear based. Be honest with yourself and let go of the worries about how you will get it.
The It-is-never-enough trap. Some people never feel that they have enough. If you fall into this category, it is probably a trend in your thought process. It just can’t be that you never have enough, instead what is happening is that you BELIEVE that you never have enough. The problem with this is that, even when you get what you want, you do not acknowledge it. Oftentimes, you don’t even notice it. Then you set new goals to get more and continue with the same cycle. There is no gratification in this way of thinking and being--you never feel fulfilled. It is upsetting for you if you suffer from this because you never experience satisfaction with your life. What you must understand about your business is that it is constantly growing. As soon as you accomplish something you are going to set another goal and be off chasing that goal. What makes your life and business better is when you celebrate along the way.. When you notice your accomplishments, have fun and appreciate them. Otherwise, why are you doing all of this? When we are not in touch with what we have, we often tell ourselves that we don’t know what we want anymore. We think we need more or we need better and this is how affairs begin, this is how greed happens, this is how addictions happen. etc. Being satisfied and fulfilled is usually not about getting more, but about realizing what you have and being bold enough to create what you want.
No matter what stage of life you are in, you always have the opportunity to decide what is important to you now. You always have the opportunity to evaluate what works for you and what does not. Some choices you’ve made you will chose to accept and make the best of. Some choices you will change. Take a bit of time out so that you can evaluate where you are at in your life and business and make sure that it is where you want to be. If it is, continue. If it is not, start making some new choices. That is what the following questions will help you to do. As I mentioned, this should be a fun, creative and motivating exercise--it’s your future after all.
Imagine your business, in its most idealistic form, in your future. As you imagine it, answer these questions:
What type of business will you create?
What problems will you solve with your products/services?
For whom will you be solving these problems?
What kinds of people will you provide opportunities to?
How will you infuse your business with passion?
What will be the best part of your business?
What will you do specifically in your business? What are you great at?
What will you have others doing for you because you either don’t like to do it or aren’t good at it?
What will your work environment be like? Quiet and professional? Energetic and lively?
Who will you work with? A team? If yes, what types of people?
What type of contribution will your business make? To you? Others?
What type of hours will you work?
How much money will you make?
How will you make it? Is there more than one way?
How will you spend, save or invest your money?
How will you make your business fun and inspiring for you and others?
What will you have to let go of in order to make time to create this incredible business?
What else should we know about your future business?
What does your future relationship look like? It doesn't matter if you’re in one now or not. Imagine the one you want or the one you’re in, in its most idealistic form, in your future. As you imagine it, answer the following questions:
What will your partner be like? Describe qualities.
How will you show each other love?
How much time will you spend together?
What will you do with the time you have together?
How much effort will you put into the time you spend together? Will you plan things?
What special things will you do for your partner every day?
What will your role be? What will you be committed to as a partner?
What will your love-life be like?
What two things would your partner do for you to make you feel loved?
What two things would you do for your partner to make them feel loved?
What goals will you and your partner have together?
What will you have to let go of in order to make time to create this wonderful relationship?
What else should we know about your future relationship?
What does your future health look like? As you imagine your health in the future, think about how you take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Then, answer these questions:
What type of consistent, enjoyable exercise will you do?
How often will you exercise?
What FUN activities/hobbies will you be involved in?
What will you do for yourself to feel good? Manicures? Massages? Trips?
How will you nourish your body?
What actions will you take to eat healthy and stay fit? Weekly shopping?
Which communication skills will you work on?
What conflict management skills will you utilize?
How will you relax? Rejuvenate?
What type of friendships will you have? Which will you eliminate?
What communities will you be involved in?
What will you do to nurture your spirit and sense of well-being? Religion? Meditation? Reading?
What will you do for others? Volunteer? Support?
What will you have to let go of in order to make time to create this incredible healthy YOU?
What else should we know about your future health?
Have fun with this self-examination!
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