7 Steps To The Future You

Fulfill your career and lifelong aspirations.

Become the you who is capable of accomplishing your dreams and desires. Become your future self that attains all that your present self requests out of life.

Grow into your future-self thoughtfully, methodically, and strategically.

Your present self is nothing but the composite of who you have become every day of your life through this moment. Your present self has strengths and weaknesses, personality quirks and saboteurs, intelligence and skills, hobbies and interests, dreams and desires. Your present self has likely obtained much from life, but your future self will bring you what you still want.

Your future self is the you who will build your own empire or be recruited by the top firm in your industry or climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Your future self is the you who will make your dreams come true, if you dedicate yourself today to influence and serve others more effectively, by developing the mastery that only your future self can embody.

Employ these seven steps to become the future you.

Step 1: Feel That You Deserve Achievement

Feeling entitled to be educated, successful, and worthy of your goals and aspirations is vital for you to become the future you you are seeking. You can fulfill your goals; you must believe that you are worthy of them. No matter where you are right now or what your past may look like, you deserve to forgive yourself for past failures and disappointments and to feel that you deserve future success. Don’t just know that you deserve achievement — feel it!

Step 2: Create a Personal Strategic Plan

Creating a personal strategic plan means to take a full inventory of the resources and capabilities that you have right now. Then add the capabilities and resources your future self has. Once you identify your gaps in knowledge and expertise, you will be able to shift your focus toward your personally identified high-value areas to catalyze the acquisition of these skill sets. Your future self will still have all of the talents, knowledge, and skills of your present self. But to fulfill your future goals will require new growth and acquisition of further talents, knowledge, and skills. Have a personal strategic plan to give yourself a guideline for the realization of your goals.

Step 3: Become Prominent in Your Industry

Whether you are on your first day considering your field of interest or you are already a seasoned expert, staying on the cutting edge of your industry and becoming competitively knowledgeable in corollary fields will give you the depth and breadth of knowledge that will attract people to you for advice. By gaining the knowledge or having the resources to access the knowledge, you will gain the influence that your future self needs to accomplish your goals. Reflect how others have established their prominence in your industry. Consider what you can learn from them, and do likewise.

Step 4: Get Expert Advice

No matter what industry you are in, others are already recognized as experts in it — likely scores of people. Seek their advice. The easiest way to find expert advice is to stop by the library or bookstore. By simply reading books and listening to audiobooks, I’ve had the privilege to receive advice from Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Welch, Tim Ferriss, and nearly countless others, without ever meeting them in person. Dedicating time to reading nonfiction books from your industry and corollary fields will make you attuned, flexible, and adept in your marketplace. If you know experts in your organization or industry, reach out to them. Let them know why you are interested in their advice and what your goal is. Then ask for advice on what to read or do, depending on the circumstance. The very act of asking and following through on advice from experts you know will honor them and make you memorable to them in the future. After you have taken their advice and followed through, report back to them and, gratefully, let them know what you learned, and ask to discuss it with them.

Step 5: Take Daily Disciplined Action

A small action toward your goals, completed every day, will build for you the life that you envision.

Not one singular action, but a series of daily disciplined actions will get you to where you want to be.

You act every day to get into the habit of progress. In life, you are either progressing or regressing. You are either becoming more or becoming less. You are either moving toward your goals or away from them. You are either moving forward or backward. By taking daily disciplined action toward becoming your future self, you are honoring yourself and ingraining within yourself a habit for progress.

Step 6: Prioritize Your Activities

More than a dozen times a day, ask yourself, “Am I serving my future self, right now?” Keep the vision of your future self at the forefront of your mind. See the world and modify your actions in the context of how it serves your future self.

When you prioritize your activities in service to your future self, you establish clear judgment focused on your personal purpose.

This judgment will make you fully aware of your actions, giving you the opportunity to carefully amend them.

Step 7: Take Full Responsibility for Your Decisions

Being accountable for serving your future self and becoming your future self is solely up to you. Who you are today is the combination of the choices that you made yesterday and every yesterday before that of your life. If you have chosen or not chosen to serve your future self today, recognize that that was your choice. You have the freedom and liberty to choose who you become.When you take full responsibility for your decisions and actions, you empower yourself to grow and to change. You empower yourself to personify self-control. You empower yourself to become the future you.

Follow these seven steps to get on your personal road to fruition. Set goals and achieve them. Maneuver through and around obstacles that deject others. Find strength, hope, clarity, and expertise. Have certainty of vision and tenacity to follow through on your engagements. Employ these seven steps and you will become the future you.

This post, by Andrew Christison, was originally published in 2013 in the best-selling book, “101 Ways to Compete in Today’s Job Market.”