Whether we realize it or not, we all have a relationship with our future self. In this episode we are going to talk about what that is, how to become aware of it, and then how to use our future self to reach the goals we want to achieve.
This method also works in in whatever stage of grief you are in, to help you continue to heal by believing in your future self.
This is one of my favorite topics, you won’t want to miss this one!
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How are you guys? We are. Done with school, everything is all wrapped up. We are heading into summer and I’m really excited about it. I sat down with my kids the other night and we talked about setting goals for this summer and kind of setting a schedule, and not a ton came out of the meeting. It was more one-sided, but I’m hoping that we’re gonna be able to set a schedule, not too much of a schedule.
But just be able to enjoy our summer and do some things. I’ve heard that there’s an amusement park near us, and the social distancing might actually be a good thing because it’s, there’s a lot less people there and fewer crowds. So we’re just trying to see the bright side of all this craziness and looking towards the future and the fall and school and everything coming up, and that’s kinda what we’re talking about today.
Which is your relationship with your future self. Now, I want you to think about yourself in high school. It’s graduation time where I live, and there’s lots of talk about the class of 2020 and what they’ve experienced this year, especially what they’ve missed out on dances, ceremonies, time with their friends, college tours, class trips, and so many coming of age events.
A lot of people are telling this as a sad story, and it’s okay that they’re disappointed. It’s okay to grieve those things that we missed. But I wonder about these kids as they move forward in life. Do they know they have a choice about how to frame this moment or will they always think that they missed out, that something was taken from them, that they can never get back?
If I was given a commencement speech to these graduates over Zoom or maybe at a driving graduation, I would tell them that they get to choose to believe anything they want about March to May, 2020. But as they look forward to their bright futures, it will serve them better to believe in themselves and in their ability to handle whatever life throws at them.
I would remind them to keep believing in their dreams and working towards them, and that they can do anything they want to do and become anything they want to be. Just like graduation speakers, every year do we take these restless 18 year olds and we tell them they have the world in their hands and their whole lives ahead of them.
But then somewhere along the way we stop telling it to ourselves. We stop planning for the future and we stop making big goals. Instead of creating the life we want, we sort of let it happen to us. We forget that we can still go for our dreams, and we become really practical. Instead of believing in our power to create our future, we start looking to our past for evidence of what we are capable of.
Like, I’ve never gotten healthy before. I just can’t do it, or, college was so hard for me, I don’t think I can go back and finish now. Or I’ve never been able to keep my house tidy with all these kids. Why even try when it just gets messed up again, this is what we tell ourselves, but we’re just like those shiny new graduates.
We all have our futures in front of us. Those kids can see who they want to be, and so they do the work to become him or her. And today we’re gonna talk about our future selves in a similar way. This is one of my favorite concepts to talk about. I think I say that every time, but it really, really is ’cause learning to build our relationship with our future self is incredibly powerful.
Our relationship is just our thoughts about another person. In this case, it’s our thoughts about ourselves, and so we already have things we think about her. It could be you in the morning thinking about you at the end of the day and what you will or will not accomplish. Or it’s you when your kids are older or you, when you get a promotion at work or you, when you have a rainbow baby and you are or you are further along in your grief, all of these thoughts become a relationship with our future self.
How do you think your relationship with her is now? Are you confident in her? How do you talk to her? You might not know the answers to these questions right now, but you can change that. A great exercise to do is to write a letter from your future self to you. You can pick an age or a date or a milestone.
For example, if you were thinking about trying again or you were pregnant after loss, you could write a letter to you now from you on your baby’s first birthday. What would she say to you? What has she learned? What wisdom can she share? What experiences have gotten her to where she is? Really use your imagination to get in her head.
For a lot of people, it can be hard to get into this space and that’s okay. A good way to practice is to write a letter to your past self. Maybe you, on your graduation day, share your wisdom and everything you would want to say to an 18 year old. You, I bet you love her so much, and you tell her. That all the things she’s stressed about are going to be okay, like how her bangs look or if she has enough pairs of CK Jeans future you loves you too.
I think she’s a lot kinder to you than you may be to yourself right now, and I think she’s always cheering for you. Do you have a big goal you want to achieve in your family, your business, or personally tapping into future you is going to help you get there. Think about a specific goal you have, or maybe it’s just a dream, a thought you never really believed in, but I want you to believe in it now.
Write it down, and then it’s a goal. Think about yourself that day. When you have reached the goal, how do you feel? How do you act? What do you think? And what are your results? If you want to become a different version of yourself or you want to do something challenging, You’re going to have to change these things.
Let’s use an example of running a marathon. If that’s a goal you have, what do you have to do to get there? Well train, but more than the running. You have to keep mentally strong and committed to the process, and you have to know that it’s not going to be butterflies and rainbows. Lots of days, you aren’t gonna want to get out of bed early.
There will be distractions, blisters bad, runs, bad weather, and so many times you want to quit. But if you start today to envision yourself with that medal around your neck, you are going to be able to keep going. You can imagine yourself there and keep doing what you said you would. You’ll work today to give the.
Gift of achievement to future you, and along the way you are gonna learn so much and become so much stronger. It’s not that the day when the race is over and the people are cheering will be better than today. No, it will be half awesome and half grueling. It’s that pushing yourself is worth doing to become the next version of you.
It’s like those kids heading off to college. They know it will be challenging and expensive, but they’re willing to do it as a gift to themselves. They will show up to class and take all the tests and study so that they can receive a degree and be that much closer to the dream they have for their life.
What gifts has your past self given to you? What are some things you have done to get where you are? What are you reaping the benefit of right now that your past self did? A really simple example of this is going to the dentist. My daughter is getting braces this week, so we got her in for a cleaning and she had a few small cavities.
She hates the dentist and she’s nervous about the orthodontist, but she was brave and she took care of her teeth now so that she can enjoy pain-free, straight, healthy teeth in the future. I also have a friend who orders herself flowers and has them show up a few weeks later as a tangible gift from her past self to her future self.
I love that. For me, becoming a coach and starting my own business was a huge step, and I’m so grateful that I had mentors to remind me to really believe in my future self when it was hard. I had never thought this was something I would do. I do have a degree, but I chose to stay home with my kids and support my husband and his busy job.
I figured that I would do something when my last baby went off to school, but I didn’t know what. And then I found my coach and she told me I didn’t have to have any evidence that I could do something and that I didn’t have to wait until a more convenient time. I could start now and figure it out along the way.
And that was a huge gift to me and it has changed my life. I am now in a place I decided I would be two years ago. I am a coach. I have my own business, and I want to give you the same gift. You do not need to know the how yet. You just need to believe in yourself. Imagine yourself doing the thing you most want to do and then get to work.
I’m gonna say that one more time. You do not need to know the how. So often we get caught up in the details and the unknowns and we stay stuck. So many people I know who want to start an online business get stopped because they don’t know how to get a good website. A website is not going to get you to your goals.
Your thoughts are, and if they can imagine themselves in the future and create the emotions they want to drive them in their business, the rest of it falls into place because they believe in themselves three years from now, and they definitely have a website. So they either figure it out or they hire someone, but they don’t stop working towards their dream because of the how.
And I know some of you might not think your goal is in your control. You always create your own results with your thinking. Like if you want another child and you’re not sure you can make that happen because of biology or money or any number of reasons. But when you imagine your future self as a mother with a certain number of kids and you believe in her, you are going to allow your brain to find ways to get there.
Your brain loves a problem to solve. These may not be the ways you thought they would be, but you have a much better chance of reaching your goal when you can see her and be her. Now, when you think like her and feel like she does and you advocate for that future child like her, you will do amazing things.
Another way to help yourself embody the future you, if you’re having trouble believing in her, is to think of someone you admire, who has what you want, who is where you hope to be? Ask yourself the same questions. How would Oprah deal with this problem? What does Oprah think about? How does Oprah treat herself?
What does Oprah do with her time? Use your brain on purpose to help you move towards the person you want to be. So many of us just operate on autopilot. We let life happen to us and we let go of some of the dreams we had, and we blame it on our circumstances. Now, it’s okay to have a life that looks different than you planned.
There’s no upside to fighting or judging your reality, but I’m talking about moving forward and doing things that push you to a better version of yourself. You are the c e o of your life. But sometimes we act like the unpaid intern just running around getting coffee and filing papers, and putting out the fires.
Our lives become very reactive to everything around us, but you are in charge. You have all the tools you need to create the life you want. What would be different for you if you believed you were the c E O? How would you show up? How would you manage your time? What would you spend time thinking about?
Because great CEOs don’t spend a lot of time on drama or excuses or indecision. They make the call. They are confident, they lead their company. They may fail, but they keep going. They accentuate the good in their team and they take responsibility. They have vision. They want to grow, they want to innovate.
They want to hit goals. Of course being the c e O can also be scary and stressful at times. It’s going to be hard 50% of the time, but a good c e O knows that this is just part of the job and you can know that too. When we accept that life is 50 50 where we are, that reaching for better is gonna suck sometimes, like those 5:00 AM runs for the marathoner and we know that our future self will not be happy all the time either.
We can relate to ourselves in an authentic way, and we won’t quit when it gets uncomfortable because we know that’s just part of the deal. Jens and Zero said, nobody else can want you to grow into your gloriousness for you. You have to be serious as a heart attack about creating an awesome life in order to crowbar yourself out of your comfort zone and make it happen.
I love the word she chose there. Sometimes it’s like using a crowbar to move forward, but if you are here listening to me right now, then you’re already thinking about your future self and who she can become. If she uses these tools and invests in herself, you are giving some of your time today for her, and you must believe even on the smallest level that you can become the woman you envision.
It won’t just happen because time passes though. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and put in the work. You have to be willing for people to not understand what you were doing. You have to be willing to stop listening to people who will tell you all the reasons. Your goal is impossible, especially if that person is you.
You have to be willing to start wiggling loose beliefs you have held for a long time and start believing that the universe has your back, so you and the universe are going to be unstoppable. I wanna finish up by talking about how this all relates to grief. When you’re in that first intense part of grief, you really can’t imagine the future, or if you do, it just seems so bleak and painful.
You don’t really even know how you’ll keep living like this for the rest of your days. If you’re in this space, be kind to you. I remember being there, but I did have a glimmer of hope. I saw other people who had done hard things and I wanted to be like them someday, especially people I was acquainted with or admired who I never knew had lost a child until I started reading about them or talking to them.
I started noticing how many incredible people had been through the same heartbreak I was experiencing. I thought about how I wanted to show up for my living kids and my husband, and that kept me going. I believed in a future where it was possible. It wouldn’t hurt so terribly, and sometimes I just had to believe I could get through the next minute, the next hour or the next day, and then it does get a bit better.
You feel like you can breathe again. You’re functioning okay, but on the inside it’s still very raw. At this stage, you can use your future self to start doing the grief work. A lot of people read books, join support groups, and start reentering their lives. I. This is where you often begin believing that you can get through this and you can imagine yourself getting to that first birthday or through that year of firsts without your baby.
You are still counting the months and knowing exactly how old your baby would be and what they would be doing. Rolling, crawling, saying, mama, it hurts, but you are figuring out how to live and move forward with the pain. I remember really vividly a moment during this period for me. Lauren passed away in March and we were at a little summer event in our town.
A few months later, there was a pie eating contest station and I watched a woman I knew who had lost a baby at about seven months along a few years before she was just laughing and challenging her friends to race her and eating a piece of pie. She had chocolate cream all over her face and she was belly laughing and I stood there and I thought about her.
I wondered how she did it, and I wondered if I would ever get there to a place where the tears didn’t hang right below the surface all the time, but I started thinking that maybe just maybe I would get there someday. Do you have an experience like that? If you haven’t ever written it down, you should.
And do you have a grief goal? You can have one, you know. Envisioning yourself in the future can really help you take the steps necessary to get there. Maybe you stop buffering and numbing your emotions. Maybe you get help to finally let go of some of the thoughts you’ve been hanging onto, or you simply decide that you will heal no matter how long it takes.
Set a grief goal if you want to. Time is gonna move on, and you do too. I think for many moms, you begin to want to live for your baby. Maybe you start something in his honor, like a charity project or you plant a tree. That’s a gift you give your future self. You can see yourself under the tree As it grows, you can see the good you can do for other people or the impact you can make on saving another family’s baby.
I’ve thought a lot about our culture now and how so many people criticize how safe we try to make life for our children. The old, we never had car seats and we bounced around in the back of the station wagon and we stayed out till dark. Life is put up on a pedestal as a good old days. And yet I know that so many of the changes that have happened have come from mothers fighting to prevent what happened to their child from happening to any other mother.
There’s really no one more determined than a mother on a mission like that. So yes, I might miss some of the playground sets I loved as a kid or be surprised. There are four pages of warnings and instructions on anchoring a dresser from IKEA to the wall, but I also see those mothers advocating for their kids and believing in a future where no one loses a child the way they did.
I think it’s a perfect example of using your future self to create a result you want, especially when it’s not easy. And then we get to a point in our grief where we’ve integrated a lot of it. We know we are not the same as before, but we come into ourselves. This is the point where you’re ready to really do whatever you want to do, and using your future self to get there is going to be an amazing tool for you.
It’s almost like you graduated from grief, high school and college, and you’re sitting at commencement with all the knowledge and experience your classes have given you, and the future is totally open to you. Whether your goal is to become a mom who doesn’t yell or to make a million dollars, or to just get good at sourdough bread, imagine what you would feel like when you have accomplished your goal.
Imagine what you will think, feel, and do, and then start embodying her. Now write it down. Get really specific. Put it in a model, circumstance, thought, feeling, action result. Describe her in detail. Then keep her in your mind as you work towards your goal. If you’re not sure how to do this, I can help Sign up for a free 30 minute session and I’ll walk you through it.
I’ll put a link in the show notes. Give your future self the gift of subscribing to this podcast too. And if you love this episode, will you share it with a friend who needs it? One of my big goals is to help as many angel moms as I can. And I envision my future self creating a space here on this podcast that is so amazing that when anyone loses a baby and joins a support group or talks to another friend, they will tell her she absolutely has to listen to Smooth Stones because what we are doing here has helped them so much.
And not because it’s about me or having tons of followers or anything like that. In fact, I work really hard to continue to put myself out there when it’s really scary and against my normal nature. But because I know that coaching and using these tools changes lives, it really does. Oh, and my Future Self also has an awesome book, and she has a stream in her backyard.
You guys are the reason I am here. I believe so much in your future. I think I talked about this in episode one, but I’ll say it again. When I volunteer and support angel families in the hospital, or when I read your stories online, my heart breaks with you and I understand how hard baby loss can be. But I also know how strong you are and I know that healing is totally possible when we stop being afraid of the grief, and we allow this human experience to be what it is.
So take some time this week and really think about what you want, and then let’s start believing a hundred percent that we’re gonna get there. Don’t worry about the details. It’s as good as done. I love you all and I’ll see you next time.