Do you struggle to visualise your future?

I do. When I was in early employment, swotting up for interviews and preparing text-book answers to those classic questions (“my weakness is that I’m a perfectionist” or “if anything I would say that I perhaps care too much about doing a good job…”) the question that I dreaded the most was: “where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?”.

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Because I just couldn’t imagine it. My mind was like a car windscreen in a storm. I couldn’t begin to make sense of the shapes that lay beyond the trickles and splodges.

In desperation, I used to say “I just want to be a success. I want to be doing a good job and feeling proud of my accomplishments.” It was a bit lame, but it was the best I could come up with. And it felt that success was as good a goal as any.

It’s not that I didn’t have a clue; more that I wasn’t ready to commit to a single path. I knew some of the elements that might make up my future, but I was also keen to leave a window open to the winds of possibility. The idea that my life wasn’t set in stone was far more attractive to me than a life mapped out.

I kind of forgot to even try to visualise my future for a good decade or so. Caught up in the treadmill of striving and surviving. Pressing forwards up the chain of command, one step at a time. 

Until I found myself walking out on my career. With no idea what to do next.  No roadmap, at all. Just absolute certainty that it was the right thing to do. 

I took a few months to plan my next steps, logically. My background is in strategic planning; PR and campaign management. I can make one hell of a plan if I have a project. I researched my options. The changing tides of need. Up and coming industries. The jobs of the future. I thought about my values, my priorities, my transferable skills and my passions. I thought about my purpose, and what I was really good at. And I found myself on a journey to qualify as a coach and set up my own business, Aperture Coaching.

Not once did I ‘see’ my future laid bare before me. I can’t see it, even now (much as I’ve squeezed my eyes shut and willed it to be so). But does that mean I’m not ambitious? Does that mean I can’t create a future that I’m proud of? Does it mean that I’m not in control of my own life? I don’t believe so.

I think at the end of the day, I’m just a practical person who lives in the realms of reality; in the land of here and now. I like to weigh up my options based on what’s available to me in the moment, allowing for circumstance and adaptation as needed. I’m flexible, and resilient, and I say yes more than I say no – because I’ve left room for manoeuvre. And yes, I admit, there’s also a fatalistic element in me. I believe that positive action coupled with positive energy will invite opportunity and may well guide me on a path that I didn’t even know existed. I don’t want to blinker myself to a life that was meant, but is as yet unseen.

There are many ways to create your future, so don’t let anyone tell you how it should be done. If you’re a visual person and a long-term planner, then you may well be able to conjure up a technicolour picture of your future life and the steps it might take to get you there. But if you’re not, and you don’t, then know that it’s ok and that you’re in good company. We can take this walk together, and figure things out, logically, one step at a time.  

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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