Friday, October 26, 2007

Can you really create your own future?

Can you really create your own future?

I guess we should deal with this question first, since it's the premise of this blog. The short answer is yes. Emphatically. Yes

It worked for me. A little late in life, but I learned that I could make a plan for my life, then make it happen. I was in my last semester in graduate school in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston, and the class assignment was to create a personal strategic plan for the next ten years of my life.

At that point, I had been through two years of classes learning about futures methods and how they applied to business, government and other organizations. I'd talked to people in organizations about their successes. I was convinced, and confident that futures methods worked. But now I had to apply those methods to my own life. THAT was a little more complicated. Where should I start?

Futurists working with organizations usually focus on the driving forces that are steering the organization into the future. But all the forces we'd studied were MACRO. All the methods I had learned were based on big forces. Changes in the global economy. Changes in world and national populations. Changes in markets, supplies, economies.

Now I was looking at MICRO futures. Me. My family. My career. Things I wanted to do. What are the forces? What are the issues? Where do I start?

With help from George Morrisey's book Creating Your Future (1992), I got through the assignment. I made a personal strategic plan. And the truth is, I'm still living that plan. That plan changed my life. In lots of ways.

So, yes. You can create your future.

But I also learned that applying futures methods to your life can be a complex process. So I went back to school and spent a few years doing research to find a way to simplify that personal futuring process.

I came up with a three step approach, which I have tested with futurists and people interested in the future. I've written about this approach, made presentations at conventions of futurists and conducted workshops. Some people have contacted me months after a workshop to tell me that the workshop changed their lives.

But I'm not here to sell workshops. Or books. Or anything else. This blog is simply to help you learn how to think about and plan for the future.

Now, back to the three steps:
  1. Understand your life. Where you've been and where you are now.
  2. Explore your futures (plural). I suggest creating scenarios based on #1, your life.
  3. Create a personal strategic plan- decide what you WANT your future to be in ten years, then make strategies to take you to that future.

It works. You really can create your own future.

Future blogs in this space will take you through the process, step-by step. If you want to jump ahead a bit, there's an article in The Futurist, May-June issue of 2006 that explains this approach. You can also check my web site,