107: Defining Who You Want to Be | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
January 29, 2019   |   Episode #:

107: Defining Who You Want to Be

In This Episode:

On today’s episode, we’re talking about defining who you want to be and how envisioning your future self can help you to define who you are and where you want to go in life. I’ll also share how your virtues play a big role in determining your future self.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Keep your future self in mind.

Questions I Answer

  • How do I figure out my purpose?
  • What is your future self?
  • How can I start with the end if I’m not sure what I want?
  • How do I set the right goals for me?

Actions to Take

  • Please Note: Unfortunately, the download mentioned in this episode is no longer available.
  • Keep in mind the decisions you make today & how they ultimately shape the life of your future self. Think about your virtues and those values and how they impact who you want to be. Remember, anytime you want to reverse engineer a plan to reach a goal or a dream you have, start with the end in mind to help you map out a plan and a possible path to get you from here to that end result. Envision your future self and pursue your goals and dreams.

Key Topics in the Show

  • Thinking about your future self to help identify your path

  • Setting yourself up for success in the future with the decisions you’re making today

  • Keeping your virtues & values in mind when imagining your future self

  • 2 types of virtues and how they can help you determine who you want to be

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Welcome to season nine of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast  focused on using productivity, not just to do more, but to achieve what’s most  important to you. Join Tanya has she kicks off the New Year with a special season  titled, New Year True You.  To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to  inkWELLpress.com/podcast.  And now here’s your host Tanya Dalton.  

Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host Tanya  Dalton and this is episode 107. Today’s podcast episode has been brought to you by  FreshBooks. If you want to take the stress out of running your own business or you  need a way to streamline your finances, check out FreshBooks. Right now they’re  offering a free 30 day unrestricted trial for all of my listeners, so stay tuned because  I’ll be sharing all the details a little bit later in the episode.  

Let’s go ahead and dive into today’s episode because last week in our last  episode we talked about how you can uncover what you’re truly passionate about,  why you should pursue those passions and how to make time for them. So I really  hope you’ve been working on figuring out how to carve out some time for those  things that really matter to you. Now as you know, all season we’re talking about New  Year, True You, really working towards becoming that best version of yourself, but  what if you don’t know what that looks like?  

Well, today I’ve got you covered. We’re talking about defining who you want to  be. We’re going to talk about future thinking and how you can envision your future  self to help you define who you want to be and where you want to go in life. We’ll  also be talking about some virtues and values and I have a great download to help  you figure out who it is you want to be. Now, I know, this could really be a wide open  topic. Who do you want to be?  

It’s a big question. I mean, many of us are not sure how to answer that. In fact,  you might be thinking okay, let’s slow down just a little bit, Tanya. Last week we’re  exploring how to find our passions and now you want me to tell you who I want to  be? Don’t worry, it’s kind of like that first job interview that you had where the person  on the other side of the desk said, “So, where do you see yourself in 10 years?” You  thought, ah, how do I answer this? I haven’t even figured out what I’m eating for lunch  today let alone what’s going on 10 years from now.  

I get it. Some days it’s really hard to think past today. I know what that’s like,  but I also know from personal experience that when you take some time to sit down  and actually think about your future, it really will help you set a path for yourself. Let’s  remember that this season is designed to help you uncover the true you. So today’s  discussion is just another strategy that you can implement to help you take inventory  of your life as it is today and start to think about where it is you want to go, what do  

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you want to do and maybe what improvements you want to make in your life right  now and in the future in order to be happier and more fulfilled?  

So I’m going to challenge you a little bit. You know that already. If you’ve been  listening to this podcast for any length of time I’m always challenging you a little bit.  Maybe even a lot, let’s be honest here, but trust me, it will be worth it. So when I ask  you about your future and who you want to be, the first place I want you to start is  with your future self. Unfortunately they haven’t invented crystal balls yet to make  this exercise easier, so for now I’m going to ask you to use your imagination to create  your future self.  

Think about yourself sometime in the future. Now the fun part of this is you get  to be the designer and the architect of your future self. You get to decide what you  want that future self to be. Now, okay, I said use your imagination, but I do want you  to keep in mind I don’t want you to be so creative that you envision your future self  as married to Brad Pitt living in a mansion in California and a beach house, why not, in  the Bahamas. Maybe even with a perfume line named after you.  

That’s maybe a touch too creative. Let’s just be realistic here, I want you to be  wishful and I want you to be hopeful, but we also need to have one foot on the  ground. We need to be as realistic as we possibly can. I want you to really think about  the different aspects of your life and where you wish or hope they will be. What will  things be like if you keep doing things the same way as you are today? Are there  things that you need to change?  

I find that a great exercise when designing or defining your future self is to  start with the three buckets that I always talk about and what you would hope for in  each of those categories. You know, the personal, home and work. Just to remind you  really quickly, personal relates to the internal and external relationships that you have,  and that includes your health, your hobbies, your family, your friends and so on.  Home is anything that helps us feel safe and secure. Things that revolve around  making our lives runs smoother like finances, household chores, organization, running  kids around and so on. Then work is anything that is considered your job, whether it’s  a full-time or part-time work or if your job is CEO of your house. Maybe you’re a full time student. That’s your job. So I want you to think about those three areas of life as  it relates to your future self.  

I have a great download that will help you with this as you sit down to think  through these things. It’s called Define Your Future Self and you can download it by  going to inkWELLpress.com/podcast and look under the show notes for this episode,  episode 107. In the worksheet you’ll see it’s broken down into those categories, those  buckets of personal, home and work. There are various questions for you to consider.  

It’s simply an organized tool to help you assess where things are today and  where you’d like them to be in the future. There’s also opportunities for you to write  down anything that’s holding you back and choices that you can make to start you  know, implementing some of this change we’re talking about. I think you’ll find that  workshop to be really valuable as you work towards defining your future self.  

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So when you think about it, when you envision your future self you’re basically  starting with the end in mind. Many of you may recognize this concept as one of the  seven principles from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I really  think this is such a great principle because when you start with the end and then look  at where you are today, it can really help you map out that path to get from Point A,  which is today, to Point B, which is your goal or your endgame in the future.  

You’re basically starting at the end of the treasure map where the buried  treasure is and then locating your pushing off point and mapping out a course of  action to get you from here and now to the reward, to that treasure that we want.  Now, the path to get you from Point A to Point B may not be easy or even a clearcut  path. In fact, it will probably be laced with some obstacles and some choices that  you’ll have to make along the way. That’s what’s going to help you determine if and  how you can get to that Point B that we want to get to.  

But ultimately these choices are yours to make. So keep in mind that the  decisions you make today, well, it ultimately shapes the life of your future self. Those  choices will affect whether you have a straight and easy course or whether you’ll be  faced with adversity or moments in your journey where you have to pivot and change  directions in order to get to the next milestone. No path is going to be a straight line,  that I can promise you, but when you know where it is you want to go it makes it so  much easier to get there.  

So let me give you some examples of how your future self can be affected by  choices you make today. Let’s talk about relationships. When you spend time on  relationships that are important to you like with your significant other or your kids,  the time you invest now will cultivate and strengthen those bonds in the future. But if  you’re always choosing work over relationships, that will have the adverse effect.  

What about finances? Well, when it comes to things like nonessentials,  spending money responsibly now means you’re more apt to have financial security  for the future. On the flip side, spending your finances frivolously now, although it  feels fun and impulsive in the moment, doesn’t set you up for some financial stability.  What about in health? Setting good exercise and healthy eating habits now, that  benefits you for years to come, whereas neglecting your health now because you’re  too busy to take time to be healthy, that can lead to future health problems, which  ends up taking up more of your time in the long run.  

The same thing with professional life. Building up your skills and working hard  now will have a positive influence on your career path. Doing the minimum and  staying with the status quo, that will have a stagnant effect on your personal life. So  you can see how the choices we make today really do have an impact on who we are  and what we’re doing in the future. These choices and habits that you make today  have a really profound effect on your future self.  

I want to talk more about past, present and future thinking, but first let’s take  just a minute to talk about our podcast sponsor for today, FreshBooks. FreshBooks is  an invoicing and accounting software that’s designed specifically for small business  owners. It’s simple, intuitive and it keeps you organized so you can say goodbye to  

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that dusty old shoebox that’s filled with crumpled receipts and say hello to the  simplest way to keep track of your receipts.  

Taking a picture of your receipt using your phone you can instantly add them  to invoices or assign them to clients through FreshBooks. It’s a great way to digitally  store and organize your expense receipts. So join the 24 million people who’ve used  FreshBooks and you can try it free for 30 days by going to FreshBooks.com/paradox  and then simply enter Productivity Paradox in the how did you hear about us section.  They’ll set you up and you’ll be able to get started.  

Okay, let’s talk about the past, present and future thinking. There’s been some  really interesting concepts around different kinds of thinking, so let me share a few of  these with you that I think are worthwhile for today’s discussion to really get you  thinking about it. In the late 1990s, psychologist Phillip Zimbardo and John Boyd  were both at Stanford University and they were studying how different people focus  on their past, their present or their future.  

People who live in the present, instead of contemplating about their future,  tend to enjoy the spontaneity and the freedom that in the moment lifestyles allow.  Now the downside of that though is that those people who are focused only on the  here and now are also more likely than others to engage in riskier choices or  behaviors that aren’t really necessarily forward thinking and they don’t realize the  consequences that tomorrow might bring.  

Now, on the flip side, people who concentrate more on their future and what  lies ahead, they often make more conservative decisions that tend to make good  sense and have positive outcomes in the future. So once again it goes back to that  idea of choices and how making good or bad choices now really can shape the life of  your future self. Remember in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol where the ghost of  Christmas past, present and future come to visit old Scrooge and he’s given a second  chance to make the right decisions in order to really positively influence his future.  

Well, Dickens really has it right when he illustrated how negative choices today  have negative impacts on the future, but you and I, we’re not as lucky as old Scrooge.  We don’t get second chances to make the right choice, so we have to do our best to  make the right choices the first time. Sometimes that can be really hard. It can be  difficult to think about consequences when the positive reward or the outcome for  restraint isn’t really immediate. Especially when that choice in front of us is so  tempting.  

You might have heard about the marshmallow experiments that psychologist  Walter Michelle held back in the ’60s. I’m sure you have because it’s a pretty famous  experiment where kids were tempted with marshmallows and they could choose  either to eat the marshmallow now or if they waited several minutes they could have  two marshmallows. Delayed gratification had a bigger reward, but then again, there’s  a marshmallow right in front of you that you could eat right now. Instant satisfaction.  

It was a test of willpower, of self-control and the ability to see that delaying  gratification sometimes can have a bigger payoff and oftentimes it does have that  bigger payoff. A lot of times it’s so much easier to just have that cookie instead of  

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grabbing an apple or going for a 20 minute walk because the walk doesn’t have  immediate results or outcomes. There’s no instant gratification when it comes to  reaching some goals.  

It requires some faith to know that your good choice and your perseverance  will pay off in the end and you’ll lose a few pounds or improve your blood pressure or,  you know, feel healthier or whatever it is you’re looking for. We have to believe that’s  going to happen and part of that comes from having this idea of a future self and  what you’re working towards. That helps build that belief system in yourself that the  choices you’re making today really will impact you moving forward.  

So I’d like to challenge you to consider this when you’re faced with making  choices. If it’s not a choice that’s going to serve you or benefit you in the future, don’t  do it. Skip the cookie. It’s a small win when you know you’ve made the right choice  and there’s no immediate payoff, but those small wins lead to more small wins which  leads to bigger wins and bigger wins and bigger wins and then great big wins there  at the end.  

So choose not to spend a half an hour on social media and instead choose to  invest in yourself, like working on those passions that we just talked about last week.  Really think about the choices that we’re making, whether it is choosing a cookie or  social media or how you’re spending your days. Your choices today are truly affecting  who you are in the future, and your future self will thank you for that.  

So I want to talk really quickly too about one more thing to consider when  you’re designing your future self before we wrap things up. When you’re starting with  the end in mind and thinking about your future self, don’t forget to think about all  aspects of your life, even those beyond the tangible ones like, you know, losing  weight or the passion project. I want you to remember your moral compass. I want  you to not forget about the intangible attributes that describe and shape your life.  

Those are your virtues and your values. David Brooks, author of the Road to  Character, he says there are two types of virtues, resume virtues and eulogy virtues.  Brooks says that resume virtues are the ones you list on your resume, the skills that  bring you to the job market or that contribute to external success. The eulogy virtues,  those are deeper. These are the virtues that get talked about at your funeral, the ones  that exist at the core of your being, whether you’re kind, brave, honest, faithful, what  kind of relationships you’ve formed.  

So as you’re thinking about who you want to be and picturing yourself in the  future, don’t forget to put the values in those things that can’t necessarily be listed on  a resume. Do you want to be remembered for how much money you make or how  many cars you drive? What about how many Instagram followers you have? Or do  you want to be thought of and admired for how hard you worked to make a great life  for your family or your integrity and your kindness or the effect you have on others’  lives or how honest and persevering you are?  

I want to challenge you, think about those virtues and those values when  you’re designing your future self. It’s not just about the concrete gains. It really is  about the internal benefits of thinking of your future self. It truly is sometimes the  

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abstract that we need to be thinking about as well as the concrete. So this season I  want you to uncover your true you. I want you to find your passions. Envision your  future self and pursue your goals and dreams.  

That is the reason for every episode of this entire season. Remember, anytime  you want to reverse engineer a plan to reach a goal or a dream you have, starting  with the end, with your future self, can help you map out a plan and a possible path  to get you from here to that end result. I know it’s sometimes easier said than done. I  totally get that because just like you, I have these same goals and dreams, but we  have to remember that our good choices today have a positive effect on tomorrow.  

So aim for those good choices, those good, healthy habits we’ve been talking  about, but don’t beat yourself up if you decide to eat the marshmallow every now  and then. We all do. We all have moments where we make choices and we think oh,  why did I choose that? We will stumble. We will fall. We cannot polish our halo all the  time. No one does, even if it seems like they do. We all stumble from time to time and  make bad choices, but what we can do is we can get back out there and begin  making good choices.  

Just because we have a bad choice we made 10 minutes ago doesn’t mean we  can’t put ourselves back on track with some good healthy habits and some good  choices that really will benefit us in the future. One of the things I want to encourage  you to do is work through that download that I offered. You can get that at  inkWELLpress.com/podcast and just look under episode 107. I’ll make sure you’re  taken care of to really think through what your future self looks like.  

And I also have a new Tanya TV episode to help you get started on planning  your future self. It’s a short video called How To Plan Your Month For Success. It’s  about sitting down and doing a little bit of future planning each month. You can  watch that video at inkWELLpress.com/YouTube. Next week we’re going to continue  talking about New Year, True You with an episode called Why You Need To Stop  Asking For Permission. It’s a good one, so I’d love to see you here next week. All  right, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.  

Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. To get free access to Tanya’s  valuable checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to  inkWELLpress.com/podcast.