Our past and present is here to inform, not determine our future.
To help achieve this, I’ve created a process that calls forth your innermost leader and, in doing so, supports in you creating a future goal you’re coming from, not hustling obsessively to reach achievement.
Once we make a shift from describing to creating our reality, we are then also designing our future. Ultimately, stress levels go down as a sense of fulfillment and purpose settles in.
Formerly a hustler and achiever, I was known for having it all together, and nobody was surprised when I started my first full-time job during my senior year in college. “She’s doing all the right things, soon she’ll have the next promotion, next raise, next job title, alongside that perfect relationship, car, and apartment…before long, she’ll be a loving and generous philanthropist wowing the world with her compassion, empathy, and leadership.”
So they said. And so I did do and have all these things.
However, I was being someone I really didn’t like I wasn’t being loving, but frustrated and judgy. I wasn’t being generous, but caught in scarcity. I was following in order to please but wasn’t leading.
Like so many in Western cultures, I lived a life a la DO – HAVE – BE. I did, in order to acquire, in order to, one day, be someone I had always aspired to be. I got stuck in the doing, buried by the having, and overwhelmed trying to become someone that I wasn’t. I was simply chasing my own tail.
Can you relate yet? Maybe you’re screaming “Damn, that’s me!” on the inside (or out loud). Or maybe you feel a reminder of a past version of yourself.
But there is a different approach to life — one that’s led to transformation from the inside out for myself and many around me, that flips American hustle culture on its head, and doesn’t seek a goal but, rather comes from a goal and a vision.
In Steve Chandler’s book “Reinventing Yourself,” he says that “We ‘sentence’ ourselves to the lives we get…by who we say we are. And by having the courage to say who we are, you will simultaneously create who you are.”
What he is saying is if we choose our outlook on life and our words wisely, we can create the reality we live in by being who we say we want to become.
What if you could be the leader you aspire to be one day, today? What would happen if you led a life from a place of being, not doing?
Here are some limiting beliefs that illustrate what I mean: “Once I have achieved X, I will be someone that is Y,” “I can’t be generous yet, but once I have made $1 million, I will be,” “Once I am married, I can feel safe,” “I need external validation in order to know I am on the right track,” “I can’t charge more until I have my PhD.”
But what if you could? For most, it’s hard to imagine being anyone else than who we are now. At best, you might think “I wish I was.” I invite you now to own your greatness starting today. Call forth your inner leader right now and see what you are able to do and acquire if you lead from being, not from doing .
What you need for this exercise:
- A picture in front of you of someone you find inspiring, or a leader that stands out to you. This could be a parent, a mentor, a fictional character, or a celebrity. It doesn’t matter whether they are alive or dead.
- A notepad and pen to write with.
Step No. 1: Pull up that picture of this leader. Contemplate the list of everything you admire about that person.
Write down everything that stands out about them, what you see in them, what is special about them. Start each sentence with “she is, he is, they are.” If you run out of things to write down, ask yourself “what else?” Think of their history, life, interactions, lyrics, what they stand for. How do they react to failure?
Now, before you move on to the second step, allow me to make a rather radical but utterly true suggestion here: Everything you have just written down lives inside of you right now. Everything we see in other people we can only see because it is resonant with our inner truth.
It’s what one might call positive projection. If you see generosity in someone else, it’s because you’re being generous yourself. If you see love and kindness in someone’s leadership style, it’s because it’s something you are or aspire to be
Notice the feelings that rush through you right now. Take a moment. Pause. Take a deep breath in, soaking in everything that is written on the page before you and accepting that this can be and is, in fact, you. Accepting what you’ve written as a loving and honest description of yourself.
Step No. 2: Take 5 minutes now to rewrite everything that you’ve written with changed pronouns, namely first person singular.
If I’ve previously said “P!INK is a fierce, unapologetic and compassionate leader.” I would now say “I am a fierce, unapologetic and compassionate leader.”
Step No. 3:position yourself in front of a mirror and say what you wrote out loud to yourself.
I know this can be awkward, but please don’t skip over this step. Better yet, do this with a buddy and say what you’ve written to one another with all the confidence and belief you can summon. You can even add this to the comments below if you’re brave.
Step No. 3: As this new leader, I want you to take time to respond to the following question:
What is something my leader-self would like me to know every day I wake up?
See, I’m certain that you all have dreams. You might one day want to live in a mansion by the beach, own a company, be in this kind of romantic relationship or relationships, I want to make this much make a certain amount of money, or have a certain amount of children.
Oftentimes, when we approach life from this is what I wanna do and have, it can be rather restrictive. Leading life from a place of being can open up new possibilities.
Step No. 4 Take 3 minutes to answer the following prompt:
What dreams does your inner leader have?
As you write, also think about who you’re being in that dream – can you begin to be that person right now? How being with your team, spouse, as a parent, etc. feels? How does this leader react to upset?
Step No. 5: In your own time, explore your dreams in three categories:
And then consider this:
In order to become the person you aspire to be, you have to show up as this person starting today. That way, over not too long a time, the reality will begin to show up and manifest around you. As they say, dress for the job you want next. I say, be the person you are becoming, not the person you’re used to being.
Step No. 6: More prompts to write down, and commit to making time to respond to:
- What are you best at?
2. When you do and be what you’re best at, what’s that like?
3. How can you incorporate this into your business and life?
4. What intention does your inner leader set for 2022?
Whoever we aspire to become one day lives inside of ourselves always and right now. This tool of positive projection is a powerful way to call forth your future self, your inner leader.
Next time you do something for the first time or step up your game privately or professionally, have that future self take over the show as you DO and acquire.
Keep asking yourself, what would my future self want to do – how would this self react or handle the situation?
As you step into your inner leader, I bet you that the doing and having will fall into place easily and serendipitously. As you begin to lead from your dream, life becomes more fulfilling, more daring, and more impactful.
And just like that, you’ve created your unique YOUnique future and made a radical shift from doing to being who you’re meant to be. To quote Steve Chandler again, “we sentence ourselves to the lives we get by who we say we are. Don’t wait for something out there to start being the person you’re meant to be. Lead from that place of leadership, inner knowing, and ultimately, lead from your dream”.
If you’d like for someone to safeguard your reflections, intentions, and insights alongside yourself, feel free to email me and share or let’s set up a time to talk further, and design YOUR unique, joy-centric future.
Your future self and the communities you’ll impact are deeply grateful for you.