In today’s episode, Anna explores a conversation with your future self and proposes this powerful question, WWTFMD – What would the future me do? – to help you act in a way that will get you to where you want to be.
What would you be doing if you had already achieved the goal that you’re so intent on working towards? How would you be behaving? Where would you be spending your time? Asking these questions can help shift your mindset, and your behaviour, to align with your goal and help you get there much, much faster. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that you should go out and buy that supercar, or book those first-class tickets, or just generally start throwing money around as if you were rolling in it! Again, we’re talking about aligning your actions, your behaviour, so that you’re making decisions and focusing your time on the things that will really make all the difference in your business, and in your life.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
A conversation with your future self
Hello there and welcome back to another episode of the Reimagining Success Podcast. Now, if you’re watching on YouTube because yes, I am now broadcasting these podcast episodes on video as well, for your enjoyment if you prefer video over audio. If you’re watching this on YouTube, you’ll see my setup is a little bit different to what it usually is. I’ve got this wonderful microphone, which I’ve borrowed from my dad. We’re in the middle of a move and so I’m not where I’m meant to be. And I’ve had to create an ad hoc system, but it’s great. Hopefully you can hear me okay, it’s looking pretty professional to me, and I’m excited to be able to record some more episodes for you.
So what are we talking about today?
Well, the question I want to ask you is a really powerful one and it is, what would the future me do? I don’t know if you ever had that bracelet that was what would Madonna do or whatever, fill in the gap with your favourite artists or role model. But what would the future me do? And let me take a step back now and talk you through this. So something that I’ve been discussing with the members of my business accelerator the last few weeks is, how you’ll behave if you were already at the goal that you’re working towards. So acting as if you’re already that person that you’re trying to become, acting as if you already have those results.
Now, as an example, if you’re trying to create a really successful sustainable business, whatever that success means, presumably there’s an element of financial revenue there. I’m not saying, let me be clear first of all, go off and buy a Lamborghini, in my case maybe an Aston Martin would be top of the list, or try to get a mortgage on a massive house that you can’t afford or book first-class tickets, or a private jet, whatever. I’m not saying spend as if you are at that level already, I’m saying it’s a mindset shift.
Behave as if, work as if, hire, delegate as if, treat yourself, treat other people, as if.
So a few examples first of all. Let’s say I really want to meditate. Lots of benefits, I see the power of it. I want to be the kind of person who meditates regularly. Well, rather than putting that on myself every day, “Oh, I should be meditating, I should be meditating, when can I meditate? I need to meditate more.” And putting that as an extra to do on your to-do list, have a think about, “Okay, if I were the kind of person who meditated often, what would I be doing?
I’d be meditating.” Boom, easy.
So, okay, rather than waste, lots of energy. Thinking about the shoulds, when am I going to meditate? And so, and just go off and meditate. Five minutes, sit there, breathe, whatever it is you want to do, choose a guided meditation and do it. So if you’re a person who meditates, you’re going to be meditating.
Running another thing right, it’s not business-related but very much wellbeing related. If I wanted to be a runner, I need to run. Sounds pretty simple, but acting as if I’m already the kind of person I’m already, the person who is running regularly, rather than trying again, to think I should be running three times a week. No, I do run three times a week. There’s no negotiation. I put my clothes out the night before, if it’s in the morning, I pick that up, put my running gear on, out the door. I go. I’m running three times a week because I run three times a week.
If you’ve followed my community for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And it’s very easy for many of us to go around, dreaming about being a writer. And I want to write, I want to have books. Well, guess what? You know what I’m going to say, if you want it to be a writer, write. What would an author be doing? What would somebody who has a number of bestselling books or even just published books, be doing?
They’d be working on their book. So again, rather than put this huge burden on myself, “Oh my goodness. I should be writing more.” First thing every day, I’m just going to write. That’s what an author would do, that’s what a writer would do. I am a writer. I am an author. So, that’s how I should be behaving, that’s how I should be spending my time.
You can already see our hype, how that shift is so, so simple. Yet it’s so powerful because you’re basically already becoming the person that you need to be. And that’s, what’s going to get you the results. Of course, there’s lots of things we can do in terms of strategies and planning and so on. But this shift, this behaving as if you’re already that person, thinking of what future you would be doing is really, really powerful. So let’s get a bit more granular when it comes to your business results. Let’s say you want to increase your revenue. Then, let’s say you want to become a CEO of your business, whether you’re a freelancer, solopreneur, however you define yourself.
And let’s say you want to have the six figure revenue, the seven figure revenue, whatever.
Right. And it’s an arbitrary number, but revenue income is an important sign of success for most of us, it’s definitely necessary up to a certain point. It means we have a sustainable business, it needs to be profitable and so on. So let’s say that’s our goal.
Now have a think about, how am I spending my time?
I’ve just been sitting, scrolling on Facebook or Instagram for quite a long time, or actually I’ve just been tweaking a graphic in Canva, fantastic free tool, fantastic when you’re first starting out as a solopreneur, probably not the kind of thing that a very successful entrepreneur who has multiple income streams is going to be spending their time doing. So it’s not in any way to negate the importance of these things we’re doing, it’s not in any way to criticise if we have been doing those things, we just need to recognise those things aren’t good enough. Those aren’t the things we should be spending our time on if we want to get to that higher level.
So that’s six figure entrepreneur let’s say, six figures pretty reasonable to be honest. So it’s not a massive leap, but let’s say I’m earning those, and of course it depends how many six figures, is it a hundred thousand you’re talking, in which currency, et cetera. But would that person again be faffing about on Facebook and Instagram, playing around with graphics and copy pasting things, fixing broken code your website, unless you’re a super coder, in which case you could be doing that or a website developer or what else? Transcribing long interviews and so on. So really look at your week and think, “Okay, is this what the calendar, what the week of somebody who is that person, i.e., remember the question, the future me would be doing?”
And if not, let’s start shifting those. Let’s start changing those behaviours, delete tasks that shouldn’t need to be done to, delegate them to people who can do them faster, better, cheaper, and start prioritising their business development, content and creation and distribution, client service, creating your legacy, writing your book, launching your podcast, whatever it is. Prioritising the things that a person, i.e., future you would be doing if they were already at that level that you’re trying to get to.
You probably also be hobnobbing with people who are like you. So perhaps joining a mastermind of people who are already at the level you want to get to, or at least already working on that. So making sure not joining, and I’m sure I’ve said this before, not stretching yourself too far, taking out, remortgaging your house, let’s say just so you can afford some crazy expensive mastermind with people at the top of their game, when you’re only starting out.
I’d really advise you to find someone who’s maybe just a little bit ahead of you to guide you who can still remember where they were, where you are and who can guide you, but not having to sell your children in order to afford this, because that might be taking it too far. But again, think about, “Okay, which kind of conferences, events would they be going to? Who would they be spending their time with and so on.
” So really thinking about, “Okay, I’m already successful. What am I doing?”
Now another piece is, maybe you are already successful in fact, and I’m sure many of you are. I know many of you are, successful in the sense of you already have that steady income. You’re running your business, perhaps working in a successful career as well. However, you’re burning out. If you’ve started your own business, built your own business, maybe you’ve recreated the cage for yourself as it were. You’ve created the same stressful life that you had in your former corporate career. And you don’t have that work life balance, or as I’d call it work, life integration that you’d like.
Well again, what would the future me do? What would the me who has a beautifully sustainable business, passive or leveraged income streams, a team supporting me, I am able to only work three days a week to finish at 4:00, never work Fridays, take three months off during the year. How would that person behave? Again, they’d have lots of systems. They’d have a virtual assistant perhaps, they’d have a team, they’d be delegating, they be certainly again, focusing on the really important things. They be already turning that laptop off at 4:00 and stopping. Again, bear in mind. I’m not saying behave as if you already had that work-life balance in the sense of, “Oh, I’ll just sit back on the beach, waiting for money to come.”
That’s not what I’m saying.
However, there are some choices, there are some boundaries we can set in order to already adapt and adopt those behaviours that we want to have in the future. I’ve said this before, too and it’s very important, if we build a successful business based on hustle and stress, that is what we’re going to do. We’re going to have a very successful business that is based on, built on, hustle and stress. So really important to if you haven’t already done so, when you’re starting out, now sooner, rather than later, begin to adopt some of those behaviours, like setting boundaries, talking to your family, your partner, your children, turning off, shutting down, closing the door, taking certain days off and so on.
Believe me, your work is not going to, your business is not going to collapse if you take an afternoon off, or you finish an hour earlier.
As much as I have this long to-do list of things I want to do, I know that the business strictly speaking is not going to collapse. Even if I did one week without any content, I hope you guys wouldn’t forget about me. So as much as I hold myself to that standard, it’s not something that would really, when push comes to shove, really be detrimental to the business. And so if your children are ill, if your children, you just want to spend time with your children, or if you want to hopefully soon travel, take a break, spend some time with your partner, meet a partner, whatever you want to do with your time, go skiing, sailing, et cetera. Then that’s a choice that you want to make.
So again, the concept here is really behaving as if you are already where you want to be.
And the question I’m asking is what would the future me do? WWTFMD? Put it on a bracelet. I’ll send it out to you if you want one, so to remind you, get a tattoo, what would the future me do? So again, really thinking, of course you need to be clear on what that future me is like, what behaviours do they have, but what lifestyle, what is your ideal day? What is that person doing? What have they achieved? How do they feel?
I’ve talked before about Danielle LaPorte’s Core Desired Feelings. So how are you feeling? I’m feeling present in business and in play and i’m feeling radiant and energised because I’m able to really prioritise my health and I’m not burnt out by work. And i’m feeling fulfilled and stimulated and excited to work on my business because I’m doing an incredible job. I have a community that’s really following and engaged with what I’m doing.
I have the credibility and authority in my field. I’m getting these incredible speaking opportunities. And so on.
A few more specific goals again, let’s say, and I’ve mentioned this many times, I want to get more featured in the media. Well, guess what, what would a person, what would me in the future be doing? If they get regular media features? Well, they’d be liaising regularly with journalists. They’d be pitching themselves and so on. So something to think about. If you want to be getting on lots of podcasts, then you’d be pitching yourself to other people’s podcasts. Again, if you wanted to be a writer, you’d be writing. If you want to have a podcast, you’d be working on your podcast and so on. So it’s really not rocket science, but I hope you can see the power of this question. What would the future me do?
I mentioned a few different things. And of course the overall goal here is to work towards our definition of success, whatever that is. And specifically I’m talking really about building that sustainable business that’s going to allow you to escape from the 9-5 for good. So if that’s your goal, of course, there are certain behaviours you’ll need to adopt. There are certain strategies, there are certain mindset shifts you need to make.
If you’re not sure of what those are, then do get in touch. Of course, I’d love to help you do that.
In particular, I’d love to mention to you the Outsiders Business Accelerator. This is for you, who, those of you who are already outside of the 9-5, you’ve taken that step, you have your business, but perhaps you don’t yet have the functioning work-life integration. Maybe you’re not quite at that consistent revenue that you want, or maybe you are, but you’re trying to shift your business in a different direction, you want it to be more aligned to your definition of success. You want to be saying no to some types of clients and maybe yes to some others. Do get in touch.
You can read more about the accelerator at onestepoutside.com/accelerate. onestepoutside.com/accelerate, and that’s really the best place we can work together in a small group environment.
You’ll get coaching, training, and above all you’ll be hobnobbing as it were with those like-minded people who are working on a similar goals to you. And that’s really going to lift you up, elevate you, and help you behave as if you’re already at the goal you’re trying to reach.
Again, if you really are just starting out in your business, I’m not saying overstretch yourself financially.
I’m not saying behave as if you’re already multimillionaire, that’s just foolishness. What I’m saying is, “Okay, that person would be investing in their personal development. That future me would be prioritising their health and wellness. They would be joining communities and masterminds with other people who are at the same stage of business, if not a little further ahead.” So really think about, okay, where am I trying to get to? What does that look like? Get really visceral, get very granular and detailed, visual about what that looks like, and then work backwards and think, okay, how can I start already behaving that way?
So I leave you with this very powerful question, the final question, WWTFMD, what would the future me do? I hope that’s helpful. I’d love to hear how you get on. You can reach me as ever at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can tag me on any of your favourite social medias, maybe an Instagram story, and let me know what your answer to that question is. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate