What Future Are You Creating Today?

You’re creating your future by what you do today, whether you realize it or not.  

That’s because your future is created both by what you do or by what you don’t do.  Declining to deliberately create your future is a decision to create your future by default.   It’s an invitation for more of the same or to let outside circumstances create your results. And most of the time, those results are not what you really want.

It’s Going To Be Hard Either Way 

Why is it so hard to make choices about our future?  The word “decide” comes from the Latin word decidere, which literally means “to cut off.”  When we decide, we cut ourselves off from other options.  That feels scary to our brains.  We fear missing out on the path not taken.   

But what our brains don’t tell us is that not deciding is actually far worse in the long run.  When we don’t decide we are also cutting ourselves off from what we really want.  It’s nearly impossible to create the results we really want without intentionally choosing them.  Those of us who spin our wheels in indecision can find that years go by and we’re not any closer to the results we want.  

So either way, it’s going to be hard.  It’s hard to decide that you want certain things and cut off the rest.  And it’s hard to not decide and then not get what you want.  The difference is that when you decide what you want and deliberately create your future, you end up with results that you love.  Results like a career that you adore, learning how to play an instrument, publishing a book, traveling the world.

If it’s going to be hard either way, which results would you rather have?  

The Time Is Now

Regardless of what your brain may tell you, it’s not too late to decide to create a future that you love. In fact, decision happens in an instant, so you can decide what you want right now.

The results you get in the future will come from the commitment you make today, the plan that you create now, and how you implement that plan.  But the first step is deciding and committing, which you can do now.

The present moment is the only time that we can currently control.  If you realize that, it’s easy to see that the next year, five years, or decade of your life depends on the decisions that you make TODAY.  

Now is the perfect time to ask yourself:  What future do I want to create for myself?  What life and career do I want?  And what do I need to do to get there?  

Plant that seed today, water it, and give it lots of sunshine, and you’ll be delighted with the results you create in the future.

Have a beautiful week.

XO,

Charise

P.S.  If you need help deciding what’s next or creating a future that you love, let’s talk in a free strategy session.  You’ll walk away with clarity and motivation to begin creating a deliberate future.  Your future self will thank you later.    

Remove These Three Words From Your Vocabulary

When we’re uncertain of what do next, we have two options.  

The first (and by far the most common) is to say, either to yourself or somebody else, “I don’t know what to do.”  

The second is to say “I can figure this out.”  

Which do you think produces better results?  

When we tell ourselves “I don’t know” it creates the emotions of confusion and uncertainty.  This is an indulgent state of mind.  It’s indulgent because it puts us into emotional childhood.  We no longer feel responsible to decide what to do or find a solution.  Instead, we get to wallow in our own confusion and do nothing.  

I can say this because I spent years doing this.  I knew I wanted to do something different in my career, but I told myself that I didn’t know what it was.  I was convinced I had to find the one, perfect path and I didn’t really take action to change anything.  I spent a lot of time exploring possibilities in my head, but I didn’t pound the pavement and get out there and do anything different.  

It wasn’t until I saw that staying stuck was not serving me or the world that I finally decided to take action and make a real change. I wanted to do more with my life and I had the painful realization that I was wasting precious time. That pain was greater than any uncertainty I had, so I finally took action and moved forward.

As Anaïs Nin put it, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” There is some risk in dropping the words “I don’t know.” When you commit to figuring it out, you may have to fail along the way. But failure is actually not a problem unless you make it a problem.

Based on my experience, I recommend that you remove the words “I don’t know” from your vocabulary when it comes designing your life or figuring out what to do next in your life and career.  They aren’t useful and they aren’t even true.    

What To Say Instead

My coach doesn’t allow me to respond with “I don’t know.”  She always says “but if you did know, what would the answer be?”  When she asks this, I’m always able to come up with an answer.  Try it for yourself.  The next time you find yourself tempted to say “I don’t know,” challenge yourself to go beyond that thought and find an answer.

Telling yourself “I can figure this out” is also a great alternative to “I don’t’ know.” This thought actually presupposes the “I don’t know” but it doesn’t stop there.  It focuses on moving forward to figure out what’s next and it’s motivating, which drives action.  

It’s also usually easy enough to believe.  If you’ve figured out things in the past, which of course you have, then it’s not a stretch to believe that you can figure out your current challenge.  

Your brain may protest and say “but I don’t know how to do this.”  The “how” is not actually that important.  You can just decide to figure it out and then start trying different things until you figure it out.  Decision happens in an instant, so once you decide you’re going to figure it out, you can start moving towards that result.  

Telling yourself “I don’t know” is the number one cause of wasting time for almost everyone.  Deciding and getting busy taking action and trying different things is the best remedy for that.  

If someone stops and asks you for directions and you truly don’t know or don’t have time to look it up on your phone, politely say “I’m sorry, I don’t know.” 

In every other decision point, cross-roads, or challenge in your life that feels new, difficult, or uncertain, there is only one option going forward: “I can figure this out.”  

And you know what? You can and you will. 

Have a beautiful week.

XO,

Charise 

P.S. If you’d like to learn more tools for making powerful decisions for yourself, let’s talk in a free strategy call.  We’ll look at what’s holding you back and keeping you stuck in confusion and you’ll leave the call with the insight and strategy you need to confidently decide what’s next for you.  

The Secret To Having More Time

We all want more time in our lives.  Most of know that planning is a great tool to help us be more productive and efficient, so that we can have more time for what we want.  But most of us don’t plan as much as we could.  That’s because there’s an important rule to planning that most of us never learned.  That rule is: Be nice to your future self when you plan!  

Too many of us make overly-ambitious plans that we would never actually enjoy implementing.  If you make a plan like that, you’ll likely give up on the plan.  

And when you give up on one plan, you’re much more likely to give up on planning altogether, which is a wasted opportunity to make your life more manageable and to create more time for what you enjoy.  Here are some ways to be nice to yourself when you plan, so that you can ultimately end up with more time.   

Post-It Note Plans

When you want to create a life of your dreams, you have to be intentional about creating that life. The smallest unit of your life that’s important right now is your day.  To make the most of your days, plan each day the night before to create what you want ahead of time.  This will help your mind gear up and prepare for the next day, even as you sleep.  

I like to make my plans on square post-it notes because the small amount of space forces you to constrain to what is really important, manageable, and doable.  This is a great way to remember to be nice to yourself when planning.  If it can’t fit on a post-it note, it shouldn’t be on the plan for the day.    

At night, I make a plan for the following day by writing down what I want to do from when I get up to when I go to bed.  I put in a big chunk of “family time” for when I’m with my kids after school and in the evenings.  Planning that time reminds me that I’m not checking work emails or doing anything except being with the kids and taking care of dinner.  

I also have post-it notes on my refrigerator for the daily morning and evening routines, which do not change. 

I do my meal planning on post-it notes, too.  Wednesday is leftovers night and Friday is pizza night, so those are already decided. Planning a whole week of meals just requires five decisions, which are made easier by assigning themes for each day of the week:  Monday is soup, Tuesday is fish, Thursday is Italian, Saturday is something fast and easy like grilled cheese sandwiches or crepes, and Sunday is chicken with roasted veggies.  I write it all down on a post-it note in about 2 minutes and I’m done.  I recommend saving any new recipes for the weekends when there’s more time for the unknown or unexpected.  That’s to be nice to your future self who isn’t going to want to make an elaborate new meal on a Thursday evening.

Give Yourself A Margin

I’ve already written about Greg McKeown’s excellent book Essentialism, but it contains so much wisdom that I have plenty more to say about it. One of the most useful concepts I’ve learned from that book is the concept of building in margins when planning. In other words, give yourself extra time for everything, so that you don’t feel like you’re always late or on the verge of being behind.  

There are many ways to implement this, but I found that just building in 15 minutes to my morning routine makes for a much better, smoother morning.  We get up earlier and aim to leave the house 15 minutes earlier than we need to leave.  This margin gives us a cushion for last-minute requests from my pre-schoolers and unexpected traffic.  It also allows me to let my dominant morning thought be “there’s plenty of time,” which creates the feeling of being calm and relaxed, instead of the stressful thought “there’s no time for this!” 

I’ve also started planning more margin into work deadlines.  If I want to finish a project by Friday, I’ll make an artificial deadline for Wednesday. This is a concept called “proactivation,” which is kind of like procrastinating ahead of time.  Proactivation means that you act as if you have an immediate deadline (even though you still have plenty of time) and so you rush to finish the project. Then, you finish the project early and can build in a little extra time to go back and make any necessary corrections and edits.  You’ll be amazed by how much you can increase your efficiency and productivity this way. 

The Smallest Possible Unit

Most of the time, just getting started on a task is half the battle.  An excellent way to combat this is just get started by spending the smallest possible unit of time on a project.  

In his book Time Warrior, Steve Chandler recommends starting projects by just spending three minutes of uninterrupted, focused attention on a task.  Sometimes you may want to spend 10 or 15 minutes jotting down ideas for a big presentation or project.  The important thing is not how much time you spend on it, but that you spend some time on it.  Just getting started will allow you to push through the feeling of overwhelm that sometimes stops us, and is usually enough to give us the momentum to keep going or return to it soon.  

If you’ve got unfinished tasks that are building up and stressing you out, be nice to yourself by planning to start them with the smallest possible unit of time and notice how much easier it is to begin. 

Have a beautiful, productive week. 

XO,

Charise

P.S.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed and could use some help getting more time in your life, schedule a free strategy call here.  We’ll explore what’s really holding you back and you’ll leave the call refreshed with the enthusiasm and energy you need to create the results you want.