What kind of expectations do you have for your life? Put aside the goals and results and achievements for a moment…What do you want your life to look and feel like in 10, 20, 50 years? While we can’t control exactly what will happen, we can control the general direction we’re going and what type of person we want to be in that eventuality.
“If you leave your growth to randomness, you’ll always live in the land of mediocrity.” — Brendon Burchard
This quote highlights the danger of an unmanned ship. Left to its own devices and natural forces, a vessel like that could end up aimlessly circling the same section of the sea for eternity (or shipwrecked on some random island).
Those who follow me on Twitter know I recently read Brendon Burchard’s book, High Performance Habits. In one part he asks the reader to identify three words that describe their ideal self. More precisely, if you could imagine the best version of you—who you’d like to be in the future—what would she/he look like and feel like? What would you exude?
I had a head start on this exercise because I did this same activity with our Team Canada mental performance coach, Bryce Tully. I had my 3 words locked and loaded. When I’m operating at my best—just crushing it and loving life—I’m:
Do any of those resound with you? Maybe a word just adjacent hits the spot—or the complete opposite. Imagine your best self killing it in all the ways you wish you could. What do you see? What words come to mind?
Still having difficulty? Flip it around and recall the past. Imagine a time when you felt unstoppable, high-performing, satisfied…what words would describe you in those moments?
When we imagine that person, we start to see what what we should be emulating every day. We take those coveted qualities and bring them into the here and now.
The best part in all this is that our ideal self is already part of our current self. We’ve seen flashes of her or him. We just need to coax ‘em out on a more regular basis. We’re not shooting for an impossible image; we’re taking the best of us and cultivating it. From there we can watch it grow and flourish.
If, then, my goal is to be more courageous, I should be on the look out for moments that scare me. Instead of hiding in my comfort zone, I should cultivate a habit of saying yes and stepping forward—despite my fear or hesitation. That means I need to be aware of opportunities that arise throughout the day by being intentional with my attention.
When we have a clear image of who we want to be, we have a clearer path of how to get there.
Coincidence? I think not.
Have you ever had a discussion with someone only to hear a podcast about the exact. same. topic the next day? Perhaps the following day you see an ad in a magazine for a solution to the same issue. What’s going on—is the universe trying to send you a message? (And no, we’re not talking about our phones creepily listening to our conversations and spitting out a compatible advertisement)
Coincidence is just events lining up in a random way that seems meaningful but usually is not. Our human brain likes to assign order to seemingly random events. There’s science being a bummer again. It’s much more interesting to believe in fate.
However, there’s another reality to this situation as well. Our attention dictates what we ultimately see. We are primed to search for confirming data for our mental state. Our brain is subconsciously looking for additional info to support those thoughts. (Self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone?)
That’s why the things we say to ourselves have power over the way we perceive reality. If we’re constantly saying to ourselves, “I’m at my best when I’m generous” or “I’m at my best when I’m calm,” we’re going to look for ways to reinforce that state of being.
I don’t know about you, but I can be quite forgetful. When something isn’t in the forefront of my mind—even if it’s proven quite helpful—I can forget all about it. That’s why we need something simple (like three words) to remind ourselves to be intentional on a daily basis. By doing this, we can start to see that “ideal” person become a reality.
What are your three words?