My Facebook time is pretty limited these days, but every now and then I like to look through the feed, primarily to find out what's going on in dear friends' lives (and let's face it, we are now more likely to hear about the big stuff- eg births, deaths, reinventions and engagements through this medium). One thing that gets me a wee bit nostalgic is the clever throwing in of 'on this day' posts from Facebook. For the three of you out there who aren't on Facebook, you are presented witheg 'on this day three years ago' and showed something you posted back then. It is very very clever, because you invariably think, 'oh wow, was that really three years ago?' and are often prompted to share with others. (As a side note, Facebook learned from the backlash with their 'year in review' a couple of years back, and now apply the same algorithm to their 'on this day' program - they don't remind you about posts where someone has since died, or you are no longer ' in a relationship with' - quite freaky stuff they do!).
It got me to thinking, imagine what your Facebook feed might look like three years into the future? Do you ever think about that? Actually, it is a pretty smart idea to look forward at times, rather than back, and is the basis of 'The Dan Sullivan question'. Dan is the brilliant founder of Strategic Coach, and here is the question that he simply refers to as "The Dan Sullivan question'.
"If we were having this discussion in three years what has to happen in order for you to make you feel you had progress both professionally and personally?"
To set the context, he is referring to this in a sales meeting; ie you are in front of someone who is considering attending your course, signing you up as a coach, or simply buying any product or service from you.
I think this is super powerful question to ask. Status Quo is our biggest enemy, and so often we don't get clear on the costs of tolerating it. Don't think about the next few months, think about the next few years!
2012 was a massive year for me. Not only did I become certified as an Evolved Leadership Coach, but I also attended my first Thought Leader's program. It was probably my most transformational year ever as far as shifting direction and upping my game is concerned. My dear Dad also died at the end of 2012, and I can't believe it has been nearly three years that we haven't had him in our lives. If I could have seen where I am now back then, I would be pinching myself. Both those decisions have made such a difference to my life (they were also pretty expensive ones :-)) and the cool thing is, the difference they have made in both my professional and personal development. It is a bit scary thinking about where I could be if I hadn't made those decisions back then (and yes, I get that no decision is the 'wrong' decision, but there are certainly costs and payoffs to them).
Dan Sullivan states that people don't want answers; they want questions which help them find the answers, although they might not necessarily know this. At Thought Leader's Business School immersion, we do a powerful exercise calleda 'pre-mortem'; ie fast forward three months’ time, and list all the reasons you might not have accomplished what you have set as goals/intentions. I find this SO powerful; and let's face it, we generally know ourselves well enough to answer something like that (eg I didn't do the activity, I got distracted, I was too scared to spend that amount of money and changed my mind, I got caught up in my own perfectionism).
Next time you are considering something that might scare you a bit, cost a bit of money, or involve a bit of pain (eg committing to a new exercise or eating philosophy!), have a think about your future Facebook feed alternatives; the one where you said 'yes' and the one where you said 'no. This Bupa advert sums it up powerfully, when people meet their healthier versions of themselves. Which version do you want on your feed in three years’ time?!