If you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there? That is the idea behind many efforts at goal setting. Undoubtedly, we must know where we want to go. But we must also continue to see that future – intentionally seeing that vision far after the excitement of setting the goal has worn off. The question is how can we maintain that future focus?
Recently, I wrote an article where I described the power of maintaining a future focus. Upon finishing it, I realized that I may have sold readers on the idea, but I didn’t talk about how to do it. I want to remedy that oversight.
Know Your Purpose
When you know your purpose, what you stand for and are trying to achieve above and beyond specific goals, it is much easier to have a future focus. You don’t have to remind yourself – you know where you are headed! Ultimately, a clear purpose (your why) and vision of your desired future (your what) is the single easiest way to create and maintain a future focus.
Once you know your purpose or your vision for the future, set goals that align with, support, and propel you towards that vision or purpose. Once you have your goals that connect to your purpose clearly set, find ways to keep them in front of you regularly. Have visual reminders and organizationally discuss them in meetings regularly. Every time you look at, visualize, or review your goals, you are focusing on the future.
Flex to Support the Purpose
Some people disparage or reduce the value of goal setting because the world keeps changing. The thinking goes like this: Why keep setting goals if things change that force you to change the goals? I recognize the frustration. But when the goals are set in alignment with your purpose and vision, changing them is less frustrating. Rather than changing your goals, you are adjusting and tweaking them in support of moving towards your purpose.
The goals might change, and plans might need to be adjusted. But that effort is manageable, understandable, and valuable in a changing world. With your clear picture of the future, these are necessary adjustments, not major distractions.
When you make decisions considering and in support of your desired future, you not only maintain the future focus, but also make better decisions. Consider your desired future state and purpose in all decisions. You will make better decisions and keep your future in focus more effectively too.
Do something every day that supports your desired future. Many days you won’t be able to do something big. But when you intentionally take a step, you do it knowing it is all about your future. Your intentional actions, whether making a phone call, doing some research, connecting with someone, practicing something, or reading a book, will move you in the right direction and remind you of that future each day.
In this article, I have talked about the mindset of maintaining a future focus and why it is important, the skillsets that can support it, and the habits to make it happen. In the same way, each month, members of the Remarkable Way focus on one leadership skill and we provide them with the mindsets, skillsets, and habitsets to improve as a leader. One skill at a time, one month at a time, in about 75 minutes/month.
Interested in improving your leadership skills while you lead? Learn more here.