Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

I am mostly offline, attending a business conference. I have asked several bloggers to post in my absence. This is a guest post by Mary DeMuth. She is an author, speaker and book mentor. You can read Mary’s blog or visit her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I love it when I get to spend time with my friend Randy Ingermanson who runs AdvancedFictionWriting.com. I always come away from our conversations challenged and changed.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/kryczka

Our recent conversation happened in a hotel lobby in Dallas where he shared about something he learned about goal setting.

“When we make decisions based on fear,” Randy said, “we eventually won’t progress.” He likened it to making a decision to follow Jesus based on fear of hell. The farther away we move from the fear, the less sway the threat holds in our decisions to grow.

The result? We stagnate because we’re farther away from what initially motivated us.

However, if we live in light of what we will gain in heaven by leading a faithful life, that looming goal woos us onward. It compels us to change in light of the future—a far more proactive way to live.

It made me think of my own life, how I’ve made so many business decisions based on fear. Because I was being reactionary, I didn’t grow.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “We mistake panic for inspiration.” But if I make goals based on who I want to become, those goals will entice me forward.

How can we apply this to our own entrepreneurial endeavors? Here are two ways:

  1. Evaluate those times is your life when you reacted out of fear. What happened? What was your response? How did you fare in the aftermath? Do you regret what you did? What did you learn from your response in the long run? In what ways did you stagnate?
  2. Envision what you want your professional (and personal) life to look like. Then work your way toward that goal.

    For instance, a looking-back goal based on fear would be something like, “I need to do anything I can to make money so I won’t be poor like I was as a child.” The farther away you move from that goal, the less you will grow, because you have nothing pulling you forward.

    But if your goal is, “I want to come to the place where I can donate as much money as I can to charity,” you will be moving in forward momentum toward that goal.

So what about you?

Picture your life five years in the future. See yourself as less harried, more intentional, and fully purposeful. You are living in the midst of your dream. What is that dream? Write it down.

Paint the picture of you joyfully pursuing what brings you deep satisfaction. Then place that dream in God’s hands, asking Him to woo you forward.

The past is gone. It cannot hold you. Present worries are poor motivators and eventually will fizzle in their ability to shape you for the long term.

But living your life in light of the future will change your perspective. It will move you from fear-based decision making to a joyfully proactive life where you anticipate the next step with joy.

Question: What decisions do you regret based on fear? What future goal would be powerful enough to move you forward? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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