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Bring Your Vision to Life

September 24, 2015

Hello, Trailblazer!

With the start of the school year and the beginning of fall – at least officially, if not in actual weather – my schedule has changed a bit. One of the more enjoyable changes is the sports schedule.

My son is not playing football this year after dislocating his shoulder last season, but we are together following high school, college, and pro football. He is playing rec soccer this fall so I am getting outdoors and exercising my lungs.

Things got busy
This past weekend was pretty busy with sports. We traveled an hour on Friday night to watch a nearby high school team that won the state championship last year. We went to a sports bar and restaurant to watch a college game at lunch Saturday and then the family went to his soccer game that evening. Sunday we watched our hometown heroes the Dallas Cowboys for a while then drove to watch his friend’s soccer game.

Responsibilities piled up
Over the weekend, I prompted him a couple of times to make sure he was taking care of his responsibilities among all the sports events. So imagine my surprise – or chuckle at my naievete – when he was stressed on Monday because he had three tests coming up to study for.

I want to promote empowerment
I didn’t lecture him. I just asked about his awareness over the weekend. Turns out he knew one of the tests was coming “some time” that week. One was a surprise and the other was easy to figure out; he just hadn’t figured it out. On top of that, the teachers of all the classes have online calendars, calendars on the whiteboard, or both.

Prompted by a concept I first learned from Marianne Cantwell of Free Range Humans, I asked him what his present self wished his weekend self had done about the tests. This was a way of introducing – again – the idea that he creates his future every day and can set up easier days or creater tougher days in the future by his choices today.

The birth of YesterYou
Marianne presented the idea in a way that allowed a separation between the you of tomorrow and the you of yesterday. This allowed her to present a relationship between the two as somewhat separate people. This was eye-opening to me because she could talk about the you of today being very grateful to the you of yesterday for doing extra and finishing the tough tasks instead of leaving them for today-you to finish.

Think about it. The cluttered desk you face today was created by the you of the past. If you tackle it and clean it up, the you of the future won’t have that problem to face. If you leave it, you’re passing it on to a future version of yourself.

Simple and elegant. And applicable to so many areas of life.

The Saga of YesterYou

The concept of YesterYou shows up in big decisions and little decisions. It shows up whenever you dig in and finsih the tough stuff now or decide to put it off, assigning it to your future self.

Do you have a degree or certification or specialized training in a kind of work you enjoy that opens the door for you to have a career? YesterYou gave TodayYou that gift. If it was really difficult and YesterYou wanted to give up but didn’t, it’s an even more special gift.

Or did you leave school because it was challenging or boring, or because it was tough living on a student’s budget, and you wanted to have more free time and money to enjoy it? If so you know that YesterYou got to have more fun and freedom than most of the young adults who finished college. But YesterYou created a life for TodayYou where you might be limited in career choices without your degree, or where your struggles to finish school now while maintaining a full time job are a lot tougher than the struggles YesterYou was getting away from.

Did YesterYou prioritize a budget and save money so you could own a car that was fully paid for? Or did YesterYou sign a loan or lease and bequeath you expensive payments that are a monthly struggle?

Pleasing other people or pleasing yourself?
Did YesterYou say “yes” to the person asking you to volunteer becasue it was easier in the moment to avoid the discomfort of saying “no,” leaving TodayYou on the hook? Or did YesterYou swallow the bitter pill by saying, “no,” leaving TodayYou with time for things that matter to you and open options for where you volunteer your time?

Instant gratification
TodayYou had a groggy, dull day because YesterYou wanted to stay up watching one more episode, seeing a few more YouTube videos, or engaging in a Facebook debate.

Chores and errands
TodayYou had to stop at a fast food place to grab lunch on your way to an appointment because YesterYou was tired when she or he remembered you were out of things to take for lunch. YesterYou figured it would be easy to grab something. TodayYou couldn’t imagine why YesterYou thought that.

This touches everything
Every decision you make has the potential to create your future. To some degree, you design your finances, workload, chore-load, business, relationships, available energy, available free time, health, and so on by the choices you make about them today. You can pile up tomorrow’s rewards or consequences, benefits or hassles, through your decisions and actions today.

YesterYou was once TodayYou
TodayYou creates the world of TomorrowYou through today’s choices. Will TomorrowYou be prepared and at ease for the presentation because everything is done in advance, or will TomorrowYou be rushing around at the last minute because TodayYou decided to postpone the unpleasant part?

Will TomorrowYou be comfortable financially because there is an emergency fund in savings and spending is always less than earnings? Or will TomorrowYou be juggling bills and paying loans because TodayYou wants something right now and isn’t willing to wait?

Science Fiction? or Philosophical Truth?
Here is the elegant beauty of linear time. When TodayYou looks back at what YesterYou did, if you’re resentful, it doesn’t matter to YesterYou. YesterYou is gone. You can’t have any impact on her, or him. If you get mad at yourself, you’re getting mad at TodayYou, who is suffering the consequences, not causing them. If you forget that, you’ll stay stuck being angry at your past self for something you can no longer change.

On the other hand, if YesterYou created a great day and TodayYou is grateful, that gratitude circles back to you. Being upset with yourself about the past doesn’t change the past or the present. But being grateful amplifies the present, and it reinforces your understanding that YesterYou created TodayYou’s world.

Time is Linear, so your Power only works in one direction
If TodayYou really wants to do something in response to YesterYou’s choices, the only effective thing TodayYou can do is make beneficial choices on behalf of TomorrowYou. Regret, and even revenge, can’t touch YesterYou. You have no power over YesterYou. Your only path to power is to clean up the mess today so you can bless TomorrowYou.

Let that sink in. There is no action you can take in regret, frustration, or even anger that will affect YesterYou. The only option TodayYou has to express your frustration effectively is to act today to create the future that TomorrowYou will appreciate.

Application: Start with one thing; something easy, not a tough habit. Make regular choices to take care of that Today instead of passing off the consequences to TomorrowYou. Journal or chart the outcome and reflect on how this new action is improving your life every week. Stick with it even though you slip up once in a while. Remind yourself there is nothing that regret can do to YesterYou, there is only action you can take to benefit TomorrowYou.

Question: What is something that TodayYou is regularly frustrated about because of YesterYou’s choices? Turning that frustration into action, what choice can TodayYou make to bless TomorrowYou?

Turned out my son got some good news. One of his tests was postponed because of school pictures, and the other was planned for a later date all along. He only had one test and now has more time to study for the other two.

But don’t expect it to turn out like that for you most of the time! (That’s what I told him, too.)

May you be agile – and kind to FutureYou – on your trail.

Take Care,

Stephen Coxsey, MA, PCC
Professional Certified Coach (ICF)
Self Empowerment and Leadership

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About Steve Coxsey

Steve collaborates with his clients to design and implement a customized plan for success, well-being, and fulfillment for themselves and the people they lead. They thrive on a personally meaningful path and instill a culture of thriving wherever they lead.

Steve is a supportive ally to his clients. They are typically people in charge who have to juggle competing responsibilities in a variety of roles. They have a compelling vision of what they would like to create or accomplish and are committed to turning it into reality. To make that happen, they develop the agilities of leadership to be able to empower and direct themselves, craft meaningful work, and inspire others.

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