Mental Model

People are often thrust down a path based on the family they were born into or circumstances outside their control. They point to those as easy reasons why they are not living their potential. Over time, people accept the life they have been dealt with due to a lack of self-belief and clarity about the life they want. A growing self-awareness reveals that the life they accepted is a major source of their unhappiness. Envisioning and pursuing the life we want is one of the most important exercises we can do. Write a short story that describes your life in the next 6-12 months. Read the story over and over to build self-belief. Take control of your destiny, or others will do it for you. Our days are numbered – do it now.


Summary

  • What you will learn – a technique to envision the life you want in 6-12 months and how to deepen your self-belief that translates into actions that accrue value towards this new life.
  • Why it’s important – when you do not have clarity about the life you want, it’s unlikely that you will ever realize it.
  • The outcome – deeper self-awareness and clarity of what your life looks like in the near future that inspires you into action.

Overview

The intent of this law is to create space and an open mind to envision the life you want. It’s an exercise you will do many times as your life unfolds through different phases. Envisioning what it looks like can be a very powerful motivator to set goals that align with reaching that destination.

Here’s the good news. Each of us has the power and agency to create a different life if the one we are living is not working for us. The key is deepening your self-awareness in a creative space outside your normal routine. Your answers to the questions in this section will challenge you to choose the life you wish for.

The core idea of the “Know the Life You Wish For” strategy is to open up your creativity and set a vision for the life you want. So often is the case, that external forces dictate the path we go down in our daily life. I believe we can be anything we want to be, but to make it a reality we need to envision the story in our minds and translate it into a readable format. Only then are we able to take the small steps that are needed to bring the story to life.

I don’t know about you, but I never got the homework assignment to create a vision and write a story to describe my future life. The expectation that was set for me was to go to college, study hard, and then get a job. A lot has changed since then, but it’s easy to put off writing the story or think you cannot change your situation. You may have doubts and lack the self-confidence to think it is possible. I encourage you to embrace a mindset that anything is possible when we are committed to taking action. You get one shot to live a life on your terms.

Throughout our life, there will be a need to write a new chapter as we learn more about ourselves. Chapters will close and new chapters will be written as events unfold that change our situation or direction. Our minds can become molded into the same way of thinking after years of living a certain way. We need to convince ourselves about the life we want. After we have a unique and specific story, we are in a position to develop action plans to make the story reality. You are the author – only you can do this.

It’s quite common that life forces us down a specific path for many reasons. Sometimes there are forces outside our control that influence where we end up. Poor decisions or failing to envision the life we would love is likely the case. People influence us instead of having a vision for what our life looks like at a future place in time. Many of us hold that vision as an idea in our unconsciousness but not fully fleshed out in detail. It’s a movie playing in our minds. Decisions we make daily may or may not align with the fuzzy vision. 

Imagine what your life could be without any fear of failing and reaching your full potential. Stories are a creative way of vividly describing and visually internalizing what your life could be. The more specifically you can describe it, the higher the chance of realizing it one day. We only get one shot at this life so make that story aspirational and memorable.

Fast forward to describing what one day looks like in the future. Be very specific about where you are living and with who. What are you doing? What excites you? Go deep inside writing without fear and declare what you want. 

It’s essential that you articulate what career success looks like. What is the business domain you are working in? Envision you have been working hard for months. What rewards are realized after you achieve that level of success? Are you an entrepreneur or are you working for an organization? What does ultimate career freedom look like? 

Envision the story of your life.

An Example in Practice

After 20+ years of marriage and living with a family of seven, I found myself alone and in a completely new situation after a divorce in 2017. After I struggled for some time, I then embraced a mindset of peace and the opportunity to write a completely new chapter of what my life could be. It required me to leave the past behind, and not be constrained by what was possible moving forward. My mind had been conditioned over so many years to what I thought my life would be but that all changed. During the first year of this new life, I would write new versions of my life story. It was a way to make it vivid, exciting, and real. The act of writing the story closed a chapter and opened a new one.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic also changed my life. I lost my day job as a product leader. This was the first break I had in 34 years to re-examine my life and think about what I wanted to do next. Again, I found it helpful to write a story that describes what life looked like 6 months and a year later.

Occasionally writing new versions of my life story has now become a part of how I shape my future. This course exists partly because of the story to help others wake up and own their career. The dream of encapsulating my knowledge and seeing people benefit from time saved in their precious life. My dream will be realized when I can travel the world sharing my message and helping people take the next step toward reaching their full potential.

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

Directives

1. Write the story of your life.

You are the star of your life story.

Each of us is given one shot to author the story that defines us.

There is a beginning and an end – neither do you control.

What happens in between is your precious life – never to be replicated again.

Open up your journal – write the story without any filters or constraints.

Envision life 6-12 months from now – you are living the life of your dreams.

The vivid detail is energizing – let that fuel what your life becomes.

2. Untether the stories that do not serve you.

You are born with a non-stop voice inside your head.

You are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it (Michael A. Singer).

Do not listen to the stories that hold you back – the fake news.

Untether the voice – you are in control of your destiny.

3. Rewrite the story to activate change.

The future will bring the change you do not control – expect that.

There is a gift waiting to be discovered from every setback and loss.

Open your eyes and widen your perspective to find it.

Embrace the empowerment to write a new chapter or whole new book.

Be courageous to venture into the unknown depths of your curiosity.

You are not a prisoner of your past – free yourself.

Edit often – you own the plot.

4. Be a storyteller.

Without a story, nobody will know how to help you.

Tell it to colleagues in the workplace to accelerate your path.

Tell your partner to become co-stars in the screenplay.

Most people will be eager to help you when they hear the passion in your story.

Read the story again and again to yourself – change your habits to make it a reality.

Embrace the freedom of speech – you own and author the story of your life.

Experiment With This

  • Write a story that describes a typical day or week six months from now. The intent here is to drive change in the short term. Be holistic to describe work and your personal life. Include vivid details of where you are living and who you may be living with. What are the work activities during the day? What are you doing when you are at your peak emotional and productive state? If I could experience any life, what would a typical day or week look like?
  • Do the same exercise with time in the future (1-5+ years). The value is describing the story with details. That way it becomes unique, exciting, and specific. You can then make action plans to make the story reality.
  • Ask a few people you trust to do this exercise of writing a personal story of what life looks like in the near future. Then get together for each person to read their story out loud. Reading it to yourself and others is a way of convincing yourself about this new direction. Listen closely and offer supportive feedback to your friends that could help make the story more specific or cover topics that may have been missed. How did your story change? What did you learn from others?
  • Occasionally go back and read your story. You may need to make a new version that refines the story with the latest developments in your life. Ask yourself if you are on track and what you need to do each day to take small steps. When you read the story a few months later, how do you feel?
  • Identify and touch the friction that is preventing you from living this life. What actions do I need to take to transition to the life I wish for? What do I need to stop doing to transition to the life I wish for? What is holding me back from taking the first few steps toward this life?

Resources

Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It by Bob Goff

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – by Gay Hendricks

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (Law 25: Re-create Yourself)

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer