How often do you wonder about your future? If you’re anything like me, probably a lot. Without using these exact words, when we think about the months and years ahead, the  question you (and me) are asking is “How do I become my future self?”

What is “Future Self”?

Future Self refers to the person you want to be in the future and includes the dreams and goals you have for yourself. The concept invites you to think about your present self and future self as separate, but connected. You imagine who you want to be/become and then, with intention, take steps and adopt behaviours that bring you closer to your future self.

The future self concept is used widely in coaching and I apply it in my own life. I don’t, however, naturally gravitate towards it because thinking concretely about the future–anything past 6 months–is challenging for me. I also worry about being disappointed (as in, “What if the vision I have doesn’t come to be?). Thinking about your future requires imagination and hope. It typically requires some change. And we know how that can go!

In one of her “You’ve Got This” podcast episodes, Dr. Katie Linder poses some questions that bring together current and future self. I liked these and decided to jot down a few responses here and to journal publicly. I didn’t overthink my responses and tried not to censor myself too much.

What do you want your life to look like that’s different than what it looks like right now?

Personal Life. More…

  • meaningful time with my children and spouse, and more time with the four of us (enjoying each other’s company, doing activities together, more conversation)
  • adventure
  • singing
  • non-working time and fun
  • courage

What is something about your future that you want to be working toward that could take a while to accomplish?

I found this one difficult to answer concretely because the question seems to require an end point and I am resisting that at present.

I have a long list of qualities I’d like to express more fully (e.g., using my voice, being more zany, etc). However, the term “working towards” feels in contradiction with those desires (i.e., I don’t want to “work” for them–I want to let them be).

Here are a few responses to the questions with my inner “speech bubbles” (thoughts).

  • Retiring from the University of British Columbia (does that even count as an accomplishment?)
  • Achieving my Professional Certified Coach Designation (I am close to this, and have been working on it for the past 3 years)
  • Living away from Vancouver for 6 + months, in a smaller town
  • Being more competent in the outdoors. That is, being a strong leader; knowing wilderness first aid, avalanche safety and compass navigation so that I have even more fun when I’m out hiking and camping.

What practices do you currently engage in that you think your future self will also do?

I love this question! Here are a few practices:

  • regular physical fitness
  • singing
  • reading
  • prioritizing family
  • hiking

If you didn’t have the job that you have now, what would you want to do?

  • I would be a librarian, with a focus on children and youth. But, truly, I love being a coach.

What is the best way for you to map out a plan for connecting your present with the dreams that you have for your future self?

  • This exercise, of responding to Katie Linder’s questions, has underscored that I shay away from imagining my distant future. My short term plan is to give myself permission to daydream about what I want to have be part of my future–without the pressure to come up with a plan.

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