To make something happen, you need to want something to happen. Do you know what your “something” is? A new job? Learning a language? Changing a life? Finally starting the longest pay-it-forward line at a Starbucks?
Every day, you make decisions that will impact your future. But to have a bigger future, one where you are more seriously relevant and irresistibly compelling, you may need to make decisions a little differently. To align yourself for success, you need to take the time to carefully reflect and assess, and then determine what it is that you want your future to look like and how you can make it happen.
“It can be easy to get swept away by the current of your life,” said Rob Siegfried, CEO and Founder of The Siegfried Group, a leadership advisory and CPA firm with offices across the country. “That’s why you need to take time to carefully and seriously consider what you want for your future. Or maybe you know where you want to be and you need to acknowledge that you’re not there yet. This is such an important part of a successful future, because if you don’t know what’s important to you and where you stand, how do you know when your dreams have come true?”
A bigger future is in the cards for everyone, as long as you know where to start. Here are three things to keep in mind as you start to think about how you can create your bigger future.
Don’t wait for a dark moment to consider a light one.
Every day, every minute, every second bad things happen. But every day, every minute, every second good things happen too. “You choose to be happy or you choose to be unhappy,” says Sebastian Terry, inspirationalist and creator of the 100 Things list. “Just as you choose to be successful or unsuccessful.”
Terry, who created his 100 Things list after the sudden death of a close friend, realized that there are reflective questions you should ask yourself all the time, not just when something bad happens. “Are you living a life that reflects your values? If you had another chance, would you live your life the same way? Can you look back and say that you lived a life you were truly happy with?”
Ask yourself these questions now, don’t wait. Find what makes you happy and work that into your plans for the future.
Take thoughtful time for yourself.
You hold the keys to your future. Only you know what’s best for you and what can make you the hero of your own life. But the only way to know what’s best for you is to spend time thinking about you. It may sound selfish, but it’s essential for everyone to take a few hours a week to think about yourself and your happiness and your future. “The first step to achieving important goals is permission to acknowledge and think about what your values are, your principles, the things you stand for, the things that light you up inside,” says Terry.
Don’t be afraid or hesitant to sit and write down what you want. No one else is going to do it for you.
“We use a tool at our Firm that encourages people to identify the three most important things in their life that they want to focus on right now,” says Siegfried. “It’s a great exercise that gets you thinking about not only what’s most important to you at this moment, but how you can make those things a reality, who can help you achieve them, and why it’s important to you.”
Find your grit.
In her famous TED talk, Angela Lee Duckworth discussed the importance of a person’s ability to persevere. “One characteristic emerged [from our research] as a significant predictor of success,” she said. “It was grit. Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out, and working very hard to make that future a reality.”
Being honest with yourself can be a tough task. Some of us shy away from asking ourselves the hard questions about our future. Do I know what I want? Is this enough for me? Am I doing everything I can to be happy? How badly do I really want this?
But, once you ask yourself the right questions, take the time to discover what you truly want, and find the grit and passion to make it a reality, your future will start to take shape and your life will begin to exponentially improve.
Siegfried and Terry recently spoke at an event called MY Journey®, which was hosted by Siegfried to help its employees focus on their personal and professional development.