The Big Idea
Start thinking like a Futurist.
Questions I Answer
- Why have I struggled with goal setting in the past?
- Do I need more motivation?
- Why do I struggle with follow through?
Key Moments in the Show
What is futurist thinking
How to think like a futurist
How to embrace change
How affirmations work
Why affirmations are important
Resources and Links
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention
- Related Episode: 199: Break the Cycle & Use Negative Feedback as Fuel for Success
This is The Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton,
entrepreneur, best-selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert and keynote speaker. In Season 16 Tanya is taking real to another level, sharing more of her
story and opinions, and engaging in conscious conversations to start bringing more
women together. Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello, Hello, Everyone. Welcome to The Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host,
Tanya Dalton, and, wait for it: this is Episode 200. Ah, feels so good to say it. 200
episodes. It’s such a big milestone. And right now I’m sitting here feeling amazing,
incredible, thrilled; just every positive adjective that you can come up with.
And I’ve been thinking a lot lately, really reflecting back and thinking about how I felt
200 weeks ago. 200 weeks ago, when this podcast was just this little tiny dream of,
What is this going to look like? Is anyone going to listen? What if I run out of things
to talk about, which I think you and I both know is never going to happen, but there
were all these pivotal moments and these, these events that happened.
Between, you know, getting amazing guests on the show, changing the name of the
podcast–that’s another really big one, hitting our first million downloads, hitting our
second million downloads, which just happened recently; all of those have gotten
me to where I am now. But really what I’ve been thinking about is, what if I had
never done this? What if I had never done this podcast?
What would my life look like? How different would it be? Because first of all, I know
the podcast was how publishers first started finding me. That’s when I got publishers
reaching out to me to write my book, which is something I never dreamed of
coming from this podcast, or getting to meet these amazing guests and developing
personal relationships with them or getting to know so many of you.
There’s so much that’s gotten me from where I was 200 weeks ago to where I am
now. And there are so many shifts, so many changes I didn’t even anticipate. You
know, there are these dots there. And when I look back at them, I can see how
they’re connected and how they’re allowing me to go, where I want to go. And I can
actually start to even see where it is they’re leading me to, by looking backward.
You know, Steve Jobs, in his commencement speech at Stanford, he’s the first one
who really talked about these dots. And he said, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking
forward. You can only connect them looking backward.’ So you have to trust that the
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dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut,
destiny, life, Karma, whatever. So he was this big advocate of looking at the dots.
Sir Richard Branson’s mantra is A-B-C-D, which stands for Always Be Connecting the
Dots. And right now I’m actually reading Reed Hastings, who’s the CEO of Netflix. I’ve
been reading his book and throughout the book, he’s connecting the dots of what
brings innovation. And this has really gotten me thinking and connecting my own
dots and doing some of this reading and the researching I’ve been doing lately. It’s
got me thinking a lot about futurist thinking, thinking, and deciding what we want
our future to look like.
And futurist thinking is a conscious conversation with yourself. It’s really sitting down
and having sometimes the tough, sometimes the gritty, sometimes the fun and
funny conversation with yourself about what life has looked like and what it can look
like. In moving forward right now, everything feels so uncertain and unknown, but
the future is always unknown. So why not decide to think of the best version of it?
Why not choose optimism when designing your future path? That’s what I did 200
weeks ago when thinking about where I’d be 200 weeks later, where we are today.
It’s a mistake to think that you only need to think about your future on December
31st. Any day is a good day to go all-in on your future. And to be honest with you,
right now is an ideal time, long before new year’s Eve. Right now we’re entering
autumn, which is a period of reflection.
I mean, even nature pulls inward right now and prepares for the winter ahead. So
why don’t we do the same? This is a good time to light a fire, sit on the couch, and
think about where you’ve been, and dream of where you want to go in the future.
Let’s allow some time and reflect and actually design a future that we want.
We don’t want to do that too quickly. Let’s allow time for it to unfold. Let’s allow
space for this conscious conversation with ourselves to really happen. That’s what I
want to explore today on this 200th episode, because I think it’s really important to
think about our future. And as Richard Branson says, ‘A, B, C, D: Always Be
Connecting the Dots.’
Now, for those of you in the United States, if you’re listening to this the week it goes
live, this is actually our Thanksgiving week. It’s a time for gratitude. So I think that’s a
really good place for us to start. Gratitude helps us see the dots. You see, gratitude
gives us pause. It’s an in-breath to look at the view and simply enjoy the vistas. And
it’s been quite a climb, hasn’t it? It really has.
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I mean, right now, gratitude might feel like a scarce commodity, especially in the
year 2020, where nothing feels like it’s gone as planned. And that’s, that’s an
understatement right there. It’s like we took the plans we wrote out, crumpled them
up, and threw them out the window.
Nothing’s gone as planned. But you know, there’s this saying in business, where we
say, ‘What got you here, won’t get you there.’ What got you to the point where you
are now isn’t what’s going to get you to the next level. And I can, without a doubt,
attest to the truth behind that. In order to get from here to there, we’ve got be
willing to go a slightly different route. We have to be willing to brace ourselves and
take the twists and turns along the way because you know what? We cannot plan
I know it’s so disappointing to hear a productivity expert say, you can’t plan
everything out, but you can’t. We have to let some of it unfold and reveal itself to us.
That’s actually the fun part of all this living: it’s the element of the unknown, and
wildly embracing what the future can bring. You know, if we’re honest, we all want a
crystal ball that’s going to tell us exactly what our future holds. Yet how many of us
would actually believe what the ball says if we found one in the first place?
I mean, I know I wouldn’t have. It’s kind of like skipping to the last page of a book; it’s
very disorienting because none of it makes sense. And there might be even some
characters you didn’t even know. We can’t flip to the back page. Not saying that we
haven’t tried. I mean, I know that I can’t, I can’t even count the number of times that
I have prayed to God asking him, ‘You know, could you just leave me a little Post-it
note telling me what’s going to happen? How is this going to turn out? I just need to
know.’ But even if he had, I wouldn’t have believed it. I wouldn’t have believed that I
would become a business owner, or a podcaster, or even an author.
Even though I always dreamed of writing a book, I don’t think I would have believed
it. Even if someone had handed me a crystal ball all those years ago . . . I mean, I truly
thought I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, which is crazy considering how
much I love business . . . but I never would have even known that if it weren’t for the
crazy twists and turns that my life has taken. We need the in-between; we need that
messy middle, these wild periods of change and transformation to go where we are
truly meant to be.
And here’s a crazy thought. What if, what if 2020 is the in-between for all of us
helping us get to where we want to go? What if it’s been the kick in the pants that
we really needed? That’s how magic works: there’s a distraction, the magician waves
his hand, and makes a big to-do of showing that he’s got nothing up his sleeves.
Meanwhile, the magic is happening right underneath your nose. You don’t even
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notice it. You don’t even notice it because we’re so distracted by the noise. And
maybe that’s what’s happening for us right now.
You can’t plan everything out. You have to allow it to unfold and reveal itself to you.
Just like magic, exactly like magic. The transformation that’s been happening to you
is not a coincidence. There is no coincidence. It’s happening by divine planning, and
divine planning looks nothing like our own planning, which is why we get impatient
and why we get uncomfortable.
But here’s the truth. If we want the world to change for the better, we’ve got to
welcome change in ourselves. First, we’ve got to work from the inside out every day.
Every single day that we’re alive, we are presented with new choices to make new
opportunities to take hold of, both big and small. And that’s what allows us to move
All those twists, all those turns that we didn’t expect, they’re all parts of that journey
for us. You know, and I realized that myself years ago, I stopped praying for specific
events or specific milestones, and I started praying for guidance and for clarity. I pray
to see my path and connect the dots. I pray every single day to stay true to the life I
have been designed for by Him.
Now I talk about it in terms of God, but you might call it source or the Universe or
Yaywah or Divine. To me, the word you use doesn’t matter; it’s knowing that you’re
living to a higher purpose and a louder calling than maybe you even know. That
right there, that is the magic. But you’ll remember, we talked last week on Episode
199, we talked about that inner monologue that we all have in common, which loves
to keep us from thinking about the future. It loves to make us feel shy and nervous
about thinking about it. That inner voice in our head loves to play it safe, and it’s
begun to confuse comfort with happiness. And this is why our subconscious mind
can sabotage our efforts.
It does it, it thinks for our own good. It wants you to be safe. And so it wants you to
stay small and it wants you to choose to stay right where you are: safe and bored and
unfulfilled and frustrated. But when we start to recognize that we can play a more
active role in our thinking and in our subconscious mind, when we understand that
we can radically shift our mindset, then we can reprogram our brain to embrace this
idea of personal transformation in a very big way.
And I want to dig into how we can do that: exactly how to take the reins, how to
reprogram our brain for growth and future-thinking. And I want to do that in just a
minute, but before we do, I want to take a quick mid-episode break.
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So this is our mid-episode break, which is usually where I’m talking to you about
something that’s coming up or something that I’m offering. And I want to do
something different today. After all, this is Episode 200, and just now we talked
about this idea of the inner monologue. And last week on our episode, we talked
about how we can disrupt that thinking, especially that incessant voice in our heads.
So I shared a technique of stopping and changing to one of the other thought
patterns; usually, it’s one of being present, paying attention to what’s happening,
paying attention to your breathing, and so forth. And we talked about this idea that
that’s essentially meditation. And we think of meditation as being this very formal
practice, but it doesn’t have to be.
So I thought, what if we do today during this mid-episode break is a short little
meditation, just a chance for us to disrupt those patterns in our head to prepare us
for that futurist thinking that we’re going to talk about in the next part of the show?
So I want to share with you a very simple, very quick meditation that I learned about
when I was lucky enough to meet Ellen Latham. So Ellen Latham is the founder of
Orange Theory, the billion-dollar fitness industry. And she shared a meditation that
she does on a regular basis. She shared it with us and I want to share it with you
because I find that, when I start to control my breathing and I focus in on my
breathing, everything else feels so much better.
So here’s what I want you to do: You can do this, even if you’re driving in your car,
even if you’re working out, or if you’re sitting on your couch; it doesn’t matter where
you’re doing this because we’re just focusing on the breathing. And what we’re
going to do is we’re going to breathe in and we’re going to inhale for a count of five.
Then we’re going to hold it for a count of five. Then we’re going to exhale to a count
of five. And we’re going to hold that for a count of five. And then we’ll circle back for
another inhale for a count of five. And we’ll do a little repetition of that. Just to
focus-in on our breathing. This is how easy and simple meditation can be.
All right. So if you want, and if you’re in a space where you can, feel free to close your
eyes; sit nice and still. And if your eyes are open or you’re walking or you’re working
out, that’s all okay. You can still do this breathing meditation.
Here we go: Inhale, two, three, four, five. Hold, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three,
four, five. Hold, two, three, four, five. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Hold, two, three, four,
five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Hold, two, three, four, five. Inhale, two, three, four,
five. Hold, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Hold, two, three, four, five.
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That was just three rounds of breathing and that five-count. How do you feel? I want
you to take just one second. I’m going to give you, like, 5-10 seconds of silence to
really assess how you feel. Do you feel a little bit better, a little more centered, a little
bit more aware of how you’re thinking?
It’s that simple, it’s that small. And you can see that just took a minute, maybe two,
to get through. And as you do it, and as you practice it, it becomes easier and easier
to do. So, I hope you enjoyed this short little meditation with me. This is something
that has been absolutely life-changing in my own life. And I want you to think about
what you want to be life-changing In your future. Okay?
So let’s get back to our topic of really reprogramming our brain to embrace the
change and the future that’s coming our way, to build momentum for the positive
transformation that we’re faced with right now.
You know, as always, I have momentum builders for you, and I’m going to get into
those in just a few seconds because I want you to start engaging in this futurist
thinking. I say, let’s get started on the vision board and let’s get going on the
manifesting success and the things that we really want. Let’s start doing that now.
And one of the things you can really start doing is affirmations.
Affirmations, or adopting a really great positive or inspiring mantra, is a fabulous
place to start. What helps cultivate more and more gratitude for every moment? I
remember we talked about how important gratitude really is, so when we stop and
we have gratitude for every moment, each second that we’re given, and for the
things that we’ve had in our lives that we’ve maybe taken for granted, it can be so
Reverend Michael Beckwith talks about this, that gratitude and affirmations
ultimately help us welcome the changes and the transformations, the ones we’re
talking about here on the show today. And Beckwith says, ‘Affirmations don’t make
something happen, they make something welcome.’ I love that. It’s opening yourself
up to the possibilities.
So let’s use affirmations to help us welcome change, to embrace all of the wonderful,
truly wonderful things that life can bring to us, especially in the future. I know that
for me, affirmations have been incredibly helpful, especially over the last few months,
as I’ve been putting in more and more effort to explore how my mind works, how I’m
thinking, and really working on my personal growth. And I get it: Affirmation sounds
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And maybe they remind you of that Saturday Night Live skit from, like, years and
years ago, with Stuart Smalley, who would stare at himself in the mirror, and he
would say, ‘I like me and gosh, darn it, people like me too.’ So if it feels a little hokey, I
get it. But I can tell you, I did the research. You know how I am; I always do my
And what I found was astonishing. Affirmations can make an immense difference. So
I started saying once a day, “I love you, Tanya Dalton.” Whew! Yeah, it feels stupid and
I do feel a little bit like Stuart Smalley, but I also feel a little warm glow of self-love in
my belly when I do it. And it makes me smile. So it is important.
And this was the thing that I was reading: If you’re not willing to tell you that you love
you, then why do you think anybody else is going to say it? We have to love ourselves
first. So I started doing it. “I love you, Tanya Dalton.” There, I said it out loud with my
boom box above my head. “I love you Tonya Dalton.” And it does feel hokey. It feels
weird at times, but it has made a difference in how I look at myself.
But don’t worry. I’m not giving you that woo-momentum builder. I want you to think
of it in terms of a different way. I want you to think of affirmations using a focus
word. Having a focus word of the year is simply a form of affirmation. You may not
have thought of it that way in the past, but that’s essentially what it is: You’re
creating a focus for the year.
What is it you want to think about? What is it you want to focus on? So this is my
first momentum builder for you. If you had a word of the year for 2020, write down
what that was, and then I want you to think about your word for 2021. Or, hey, maybe
it’s not a single word. Let’s go ahead and throw out the rules here. I want you to take
that rule book, tear it up, and throw it out the window because it doesn’t have to be
a single word. Maybe it could be an entire phrase. That works, too!
The point of it is not whether you’re doing it right or doing it wrong. There is no right
or wrong. It’s choosing something that really resonates with you and represents the
transformation that you’re really wanting to step into. You know, this past year we
talked several times here on the podcast about my word of the year, discomfort. And
boy did I step into that happily, readily. And I did it because I knew that’s what I was
looking for because I knew discomfort meant transformation for me.
But you could use a phrase, that’s okay! Maybe your phrase is, ‘Take no shit.’ I mean, I
kind of like that, to be honest with you. It totally works. Choose a word, choose a
phrase, pick something that has meaning to you. And I’ll tell you what I’m going to
do. I’ll go ahead, I’ll shoot a video, and I’ll email that video out this week.
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I’ll break down some simple steps to help you find your focus word. That way you can
feel even better about finding one for yourself because I really think that is going to
help you. And this strategy that I’ll share in my video is something I’ve used for
several years now and has really clarified what it is I want to focus-in on.
So you can look for that to come into your email inbox this week. I’ll shoot that for
you this week and send it out to you to make that even easier. If you don’t get my
emails, just go to Tanyadalton.com/email to sign up, so you can get these videos. I’m
thinking I might start shooting videos a little more regularly and emailing those out
to go along with these podcasts. Okay?
So that’s Momentum Builder Number one: thinking about and choosing a word or
phrase of the year; that is your focus word for 2021.
All right, Momentum Builder Number Two: I want you to share that word or that
phrase with me in my Facebook group because I want to hear what it is and I want
to give you my thoughts and I want you to feel confident in moving forward with it.
I want us to truly dig into this whole idea of welcoming the future, accepting
changes in ourselves as a mechanism for good things to come, rather than things
that need to be feared. And I’ll tell you what, I’ve already chosen my own focus word
for next year. So I’ll post it there in the group. That’ll be the first place that I talk about
As I mentioned earlier, this past year, [my word] was discomfort. I have a really good
one picked out for next year already that really resonates with me. I’ve been thinking
about it for several weeks now, and I really like it. So you can go to my group,
Tanyadalton.com/group if you’re not already a member. Share your word of 2021 with
And if you’re feeling uncertain or if you’re like, I’m not sure if this is a good phrase or a
word, that’s what the group is for. That is honestly why I created that community, is
to get feedback or get ideas. Everybody there is happy to support you. So I really
wanna encourage you: post your word or phrase there.
And then, not technically a momentum builder, but I’m counting this as number
three, I want you to lean in. I want you to give yourself an opportunity to not shy
away, but to thrive in the progress, to thrive in what your future can really look like,
and to get excited about it. I want to challenge you to keep an open mind
throughout the transformation that you’re going through right now.
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Branch out, try new things, test things out, seek out new ideas and opinions, test out
different approaches. I want you to keep in mind that change represents growth and
new possibilities, and that can take you to places you didn’t even know you wanted
to go, but places you are meant to be.
You have to remember you have the power to shift your mindset and to view what
you once thought of as scary or hard or impossible in a whole new, better light. It just
takes a little bit of practice to be more aware, a little more mindful, and intentional
with your thoughts; really allowing yourself to lean into this idea of transformation
and futurist thinking that we’ve been talking about today.
And as we close out this 200th episode of the intentional advantage podcast here is
the one truth I really want you to walk away knowing: There are plans in place for
you right now, but you do have free will. You have to choose to step into them. That
feeling that you have in your gut or in your heart, that’s your intuition. What’s your
body saying? Let’s go let go of the fear. Choose how you think. Choose how you feel
about your own future. Because truly, that’s the Intentional Advantage.