Staying Present While Planning the Future

Are you living in the present while dreaming for the future? 

I had an interesting meeting with some friends the other day. We were talking about our dreams for the future.  I was sharing about my recent Podcast on “Dreaming Your Future into Reality.” (If you haven’t had a chance to hear it, you can go to iTunes and listen to Episode 4.)

We began to talk about how we stay in the present, while planning for our future. It sounds simple enough, but with everything going on in our lives, sometimes it’s hard just to be present with our family, with our friends, even at our jobs.

How do we live in the moment? I always tell my coaching clients to, ”Bloom where you’re planted, while continuing to keep working toward the future. By doing this, you are able to enjoy the now, and keep moving to where you want to be.”

I’ve been working on this myself and over the years, I have discovered Four Disciplineswhich have worked well. I have incorporated them into my life, and they keep me focused on the present, while I am moving toward the future.

I know if you implemented these disciplines into your life, you would have a measurable difference. These disciplines will help in the difference aspects of your life; career, personal development and relationships. They will help you in creating a greater enjoyment of the present, while preparing for your dreams to be realized.

Four Disciplines

The First is Being Excellent

You must be excellent in everything you do NOW — not holding back your best until you step into your dream.

Dreams are big, and they’re exciting, and there’s anticipation and almost an impatience to bring them forward. We have a tendency to focus on where we want to be, not where we are now. Our lives are filled with instant access — Smart Phones, Internet, ATM’s, which bring an expectation of immediacy in what we are dreaming. When our expectations don’t happen fast enough we tend to be bored and not interested in what we are doing. Our output becomes mediocre, which give mediocre results.

We all have had jobs where we did not want to be there. We just could not wait until we were out of there! And it may have been an awful job or a terrible boss.

But what we need to learn is it is not about the job or the person. It is about us!

Every opportunity we have in life, is an opportunity to learn.

They are our training grounds for the future!

Everywhere we work …

Every class we take …

Every seminar we attend …

Provides an opportunity to train us in excellence.

It takes discipline to keep excellence going even when you are not feeling it. It takes discipline to not just be good, but also to be the best at what you are doing.

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. After many years of having a good job, not her dream job, she has reached the point where she is able quit. She has planned enough and realized it was the right time to step into the next phase of her dream.

She made up her mind that until she gave her notice, until the day she walked out that door, she was going to do everything with excellence. She had made this decision, but had not given her notice yet, and they have asked her to apply for two promotions!

This is the ways of excellence — where every place you work, every place you go to school or go for training — they do not want you to leave.

You bring excellence and add value to the organization.  It takes discipline to be excellent where you are now!

You can decide today if you will choose the path of excellence.

The Second is Practicing the Skills you need for your future in your current environment. 

Of course, we must practice to get to where we need to go. You know, athletes you see, they practice all the time. That’s one of their testimonies that, “I practiced every chance I got.” Musicians, “I played for hours, and hours, and hours.” We have to learn how to integrate practice for the future into our everyday life.

Practice provides for the excellence in our dream to come.

Here is one of the ways I practiced my skills in writing.  I’ve always dreamed about writing. Then I made a New Year’s Resolution to start writing a weekly blog.  I’ve really never written before, so I started small with writing one per week.  It was published on my website and in our church bulletin. I didn’t have much time to write as I operated a family business, so writing was in my spare time. Would I have rather been home writing, and publishing, and doing all those great things? Yes, but that wasn’t the option I had, so I would practice at work in everything I did.

With grammar not being my strong suit, I had my friend, who was excellent grammatically, edit my blogs. And with each edit I would put into practice what I had learned with my customers and correspondence. A few years later I took a writing course, which included a section on grammar. It still is not my strong suit — but I continually practice in everything I do — from emails to letters.

As you practice your skills, wherever you are, you will see what you need to improve. There is so much free training available now — Go! Practice! Achieve Excellence!

The Third is Keep Moving Forward. 

Sometimes we feel paralyzed because we are not working in an environment we want to work in. We feel stuck, and are not sure how to get where we are dreaming.

At these times, the only way you will move forward is to take one step at a time. It may be taking a job, enrolling in a class or joining a focus group. You will find when you take the first step to move forward, other opportunities will present themselves.

Take a risk! By experimenting you can find just the right momentum to help move you forward. I read a book by John Maxwell called Failing Forward. It’s about when we fail it gives us an opportunity to move forward, because we learn. If we don’t let our failure defeat us, the failure can motivate us to go forward. It’s okay to make mistakes. As we go, we will improve!

The Fourth is to Celebrate as You Go!

It is important to celebrate as you go. So many times we forget to celebrate the little victories as we go. Don’t forget to celebrate the little things. Don’t forget to celebrate all the things going on in your life, from spending quality time with a good friend, going for a walk or spending the day with your kids. Celebrate the people you do life with – celebrate your tribe. Celebrate your job. Whether you love it or not, celebrate it. Celebrate the class you are trying to finish so you can take that next step.

Celebrate everything in your life! When you do this, you are able to see possibilities for the future because you’ve celebrated the present.

In closing, let’s get busy and apply today’s Four Disciplines. 

1) Ask yourself what area of your life could you move from mediocre to excellent

2) Practice the skills you need to be excellent in this area

3) Move forward by making a plan for adding excellence in this area

4) Celebrate as you go

To have success tomorrow, bloom where you are planted today.