Are you hiding your dreams from the world?
I’m about halfway through Dr. Benjamin Hardy’s 30-day Future Self Program and I just reviewed the lesson on “Going Public.” Hardy’s program is all about up-leveling your current behaviors to match your future self — the person who has achieved what you want in life.
My current self is not a self-help author. I’m not an author at all; I haven’t written any books. But my Future Self is a self-help author and a bestselling one at that. To make progress towards becoming that person, I’m sharing this vision with you today. My hope is that you will be inspired to share your own Future Self with the world and that you’ll reap the amazing benefits.
Benefits of Going Public with Your Future Self
These are the benefits that I’m enjoying as I share my vision of my Future Self with others. You can enjoy the same benefits if you share your dream with the people in your life.
In order to share my vision with anyone (let alone everyone reading this right now), I need to get very clear about what that vision is. I need to be able to express it in just one sentence:
I am a bestselling self-help author.
How’s that for clarity? But being clear does more than simplify the process of communicating my goal with other people. It brings my goal into focus for myself, which makes my goal achievable.
How is my shared goal made suddenly achievable?
- My goal is specific and measurable. I can tell whether or not I’ve achieved it in my current reality. (I haven’t yet.)
- My goal is understandable. Being clear means my goal is easy to understand. If it weren’t, there’d be no chance of making progress on it because confusion leads to inaction.
- My goal is actionable, or at least on its way to being actionable. Becoming a best-selling self-help author isn’t the next action step; it’s the end goal. But from there, I can reverse engineer my way to it by working backward until I reach the beginning of the process (where I am now).
By sharing your goal with someone else, you’re held accountable in two ways:
- That person will hold you accountable, at least informally. By that, I mean that even if they aren’t actually following up with you to ask about your progress, in your mind, they know about your goal. So you’ll likely be afraid of disappointing them if you don’t reach it. (This may seem like a negative motivator, and it is, but it’s sometimes effective.)
- By stating your goal out loud (or in writing) to another person, you’ll hold yourself accountable to what you say. At least, that’s my experience. When I go through the process of verbalizing my goal to someone, it solidifies the goal in my own mind, which makes it easier to take action on it.
Here’s an example to illustrate these points. A few years ago, I had the goal of losing weight. (I was overweight and my goal was to reach a healthy weight for my age, height, and activity level.)
At first, I journaled about my goal but I didn’t share it with anyone. I decided that I’d achieve my ideal weight with three practices: (1) daily exercise, (2) eliminating calorie-heavy beverages, and (3) portion control. As you can see, I had clarity about how I’d achieve my goal after I journaled about it. But I lacked accountability.
A few weeks into my new routine, I shared my goal with my parents. I told them my motivation (to get healthy, live longer, and prevent disease) and my methods for achieving my ideal weight.
My parents didn’t ask about my weight after that. They didn’t demand progress reports. But I shared my progress anyway because it was fun to brag about my progress.
Not only was I losing weight, but I was also proving to myself the old adage that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. Being able to share my progress with my parents only sweetened the deal for me and buoyed my motivation.
This point is so important. As humans living in the modern world, we do a lot. Even if you think you’re “lazy” (I hate that word), in reality, you’re very actively taking in a lot of stimuli from your environment.
All of that input can drain our energy. So can output — if we’re very active, we need to replenish our energy throughout the day. Otherwise, we’ll crash.
So how can sharing your Future Self create energy? Simple.
If you’re excited about your goal, sharing it will give you a spark of creative energy. For example, I’m excited to tell you that my Future Self is an author because I’m curious to hear what you’ll think about my goal (and about me).
By sharing our goals, we’re sharing ourselves. This is deeply personal, terrifying, and fun. It’s also risky. But as Hellen Keller said:
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
If I’m not willing to risk the potential embarrassment of sharing my Future Self with someone (or in this case, the internet), I can avoid the risk of potential failure in your eyes. But here’s the thing — I’ll still be risking being a failure in my own eyes if I have a vision for the future but I don’t live into it.
High-risk situations tend to be high-reward situations. It’s worth it to me to face the crowd and share my goal because the rewards are so huge.
Just imagine with me for a moment that I do actually become a best-selling self-help author. Honestly, the thought of it makes me emotional and so happy. That’s how I know it’s what I really want. So the payoff is astronomical compared to the risk. (What’s the worst that could happen from writing this story and sharing my Future Self with you?)
That potential payoff creates loads of energy within me. I can literally feel the swirl of energy in my body as I write these words. And that’s my biggest reason for sharing my Future Self with you. It’s a pretty selfish reason, actually, but what’s wrong with that? Aren’t we always motivated by how a situation will benefit us?
Even so, I hope you got something by reading this story. Your dreams are worth sharing and worth going after. If you find the idea of sharing your vision with someone terrifying, see if you can reframe that fear as excitement. And start small. Tell your journal, your Higher Power or Higher Self, or your family.
And then, when you’re ready, tell the whole world. I’ll be rooting for you.