In times of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s important to remember what you’re in control of and how to take care of yourself, your business and your mindset. Based on Dan Sullivan’s “The ‘Scary Times’ Success Manual,” The Positive+ Mindset series is designed to offer you 10 tangible ways you can maintain a positive outlook, express gratitude, lead with compassion and empathy, and turn negative thoughts into positive ones that will improve your thinking, actions and outcomes. 

Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be. 

We all carry in our minds a picture of ourselves and who we perceive ourselves to be. And every day we measure our actions and routines against this picture which includes our past-based self and our future-based self. 

Past-Based Self: For most of us, the dominant image of ourselves is constructed from our past and our previous attempts, failures, struggles and insecurities. The times we didn’t follow through with something, or the habits we allowed to creep in. We view ourselves through this lens, so when we repeat these past habits we are simply being who we have always been.

Future-Based Self: Some people develop a future-based picture of themselves that acts as a driver for forward momentum. They don’t do this by setting goals, but rather by creating a competing and better picture of who they are for their brain to measure their actions and decisions against. With a clear future-based self, our mind holds us to account when we don’t live up to this improved picture of who we are. Cognitive dissonance kicks in and tells us, “This is not who we are.” This drives us to act in accordance with our future-based self.

future-based self

What Can Your Future-Based Self Accomplish?

Too often we define ourselves by external factors, such as our profession, personal connections or accomplishments. If those things suddenly change, your sense of identity changes with it. To avoid this stress and confusion, take your cues from internal motivators. This includes your dreams, ideals, values and operating principles. 

Think about where you’ll be in the next three years. What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to be known for? How do you want to treat others? This is your future based-self: the person you want to be whose internal motivators give them the momentum to live up to their own standards. 

Focus on Who You Can Be: Action Steps

Write your future-based self statement using present tense statements about your improved future self. For example: “I show up on time, do what I say, finish what I start, and say please and thank you.”

Tip for writing your statements: Developing a future-based self isn’t achieved by setting goals, but by training our brain to view ourselves differently. You can accomplish this through daily reading of your ‘future based self statement.’ This is a description of yourself stated in the present tense, the way you want to be. Your statements should begin with:

“I am ….”

“I do …”

“I don’t…”

You can also download our free ‘Future-Based Self’ worksheet. This exercise will help you start separating your past self from your future based self. Use this to write your future-based self statements so you can start training your brain to view yourself differently and live up to the ideals of your future-based self. 

future-based self

Stay tuned for more weekly blog posts in our C21® Positive+ Mindset series!