Ep #281: Gifts to My Future Self
Your relationship with your future self is the most important relationship in your life.
The stronger this relationship is, the better future you will have.
This week, we revisit the concept of the future self and dive deeper into how you can use it as a powerful tool to change your life completely.
Join me as I share an exercise for building a stronger relationship with your future self and show you the power of offering gifts to that person you will become.
After listening to this episode, I want you to ask yourself what gifts do YOU want to offer to your future self?
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What You will discover
- The importance of building a relationship with your future self.
- The process you can use to build a relationship with your future self.
- An exercise to help with this process.
- What it means to offer gifts to your future self.
- How to determine what gifts you want to give to your future self.
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Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well hello there summertime friends, or whenever you're listening to this. It might be winter. I don't know. But here in Texas, it is hot today, my friends. It is hot and humid. My friend Tonya Leigh tells me to stop talking about the weather and so I continue to talk about the weather, and every time I do and she listens to the podcast, she sends me a text. So this one's for you Tonya Leigh.
By the way, French Kiss Life, amazing. That is her business. She's fantastic. She completely changed my life working with her for about a year. What she taught me by the way she lives her life. So check out her stuff. It's a nod to my friend and also a nod to the weather.
Okay, so today we are talking about gifts to my future self. And I'm going to talk about this in a very personal way as well as teaching it to you. One of the things that I have been doing a lot lately is really trying to study my own success and to study the tools that I use regularly and how much they impact my life.
I was having a conversation with some of my students and friends and we were talking about how we think that there are quite a few teachers, quite a few gurus out there teaching and proclaiming things that they're not actually doing. And I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I know people are like, shocked by that, but I don't think you have to do what you teach.
There's a lot of people that teach things, that educate people that don't necessarily do the things. But for me, as it applies to life coaching, as it applies to working on my mind, I teach this stuff that I use. And I use it on the regular. And it's funny because even with my friends, we're always quoting my work to each other. It's hilarious. We're like hey, remember what we say about this and remember what we say about this because my students have studied my stuff, and so we have this same vernacular.
So this podcast is about the idea of the future self and utilizing that concept as a tool to change your life completely. So let's define what it is. Your future self is yourself five minutes from now, tomorrow, five years from now, 10 years from now, 25 years from now, 30 years from now. When you think about your future self, you develop and establish a relationship with yourself in your future.
Now, we're not weird life coaches because we do this. Everybody does this. When you think about your future, you're automatically thinking about you in it. So people are like, well, I'm very practical, I think about my future and saving money for the future and what I'm going to do in the future and paying off my house in the future and whatever. You're still thinking about your future self.
I don't care how practical you're being. If you're imagining your future, the future doesn't exist but in your mind so even if you're being super practical, you're still thinking about an arbitrary, imaginative thing. So when I'm talking about the future self, I'm not talking about some woo-woo weird thing. This is a very practical concept that everybody utilizes as a human because we plan for our future.
Some of us do it more than others. Let me tell you that. But we all do it. We all think about our future. When we think about our future, we're thinking about ourselves. So one of the things that I want you to consider is that you have this relationship with yourself based on the thoughts that you think about yourself.
So I've talked a lot on this podcast that how you think about yourself determines how you feel about yourself and how you feel in general and how you feel determines what you do. That is the whole concept of the Model. So I feel like a lot of the work that I do is to help you change the way that you think about yourself because once you become aware of how you think about yourself, a lot of you don't think about yourselves in a very positive way and so I feel like a lot of my work is to help you change that.
Change the way you think about yourself that you're worthy, that you're capable, that you want unconditional love, that you don't need to change anybody else, that all you need to do is change your thoughts, and that you're beautiful just the way you are, and it's not better there than here. All the concepts that I've taught you, all the ideas.
So what I want to do is help you kind of expand that relationship that you have and that you've been working on with yourself in the present and I want you to think about the relationship that you have with your future self. And I want you to imagine her or I want you to imagine him as a someone. Now, it is you, but we're going to use you as kind of an analogy and kind of separate you from you so we can talk about that relationship.
One of the suggestions that I teach and I've taught for years is that you write letters to yourself. You write a letter from your future self to yourself now. You write a letter from your present self to your future self. And a lot of times people will say that's weird, that's challenging, I don't know if I can do that.
So I have them start with writing a letter to their past selves. Now, most everybody can do this one. Most everybody feels comfortable and confident in writing a letter to their 17-year-old self and telling them what to do. Like don't date that guy, don't go to that party, don't marry that guy, don't do that thing, don't get arrested, whatever it is that happened in your past. We're pretty good at giving advice to our past selves.
And telling ourselves listen, it doesn't matter, high school doesn't matter, that person doesn't matter, you're never going to think about this again, stop worrying so much about that test, it doesn't matter. All of those things. So that's a really good warm up exercise. Write a letter to your past self.
Then I want you to imagine yourself when you're 17, imagine your past self writing a letter to you now. So what's fascinating is if you think about yourself at 17 receiving that letter that you would send to yourself now and imagine your 17-year-old self reading it, it will get you kind of it into the mindset of this. And then you'll be able to practice it going forward.
So you'll be able to think about your future self in the same context. So I always am imagining my future self as someone that knows more, that's more experienced, that has more wisdom and has practiced more, has worked on her brain more, and learned more. And so I get so much wisdom from my future self.
Now, here's what's kind of a trip. I was at my Double Diamond retreat talking about this and it kind of choked me up to think about it because I spent a lot of time 10 years ago having a relationship with my future self and that's who I am now. I am my future self to myself 10 years ago.
So I want you guys to think about what a trip this is. So 10 years ago, I was 36. So I was 36 10 years ago and I had a relationship with me now. I used to talk to myself all the time and give myself advice and write letters and ask myself what it's like to make millions of dollars and what it's like to have this big school and all the things that I have now. And I used to talk to myself - isn't that crazy? Talk to myself from here, but now I'm that person.
But I feel like I already know me because I already have a relationship with me. It's amazing. So that's what I want you guys to be willing to play with. Some of you who listen to this podcast are all in, you're like, you are amazing, that's the best idea ever, I love imagination, I love the woo, I know that there is no time, I know that reality doesn't exist but in my brain, I'm in. And then there's others of you that are like, this is weird and I don't know.
So if you're one of those people that thinks this is weird, I want you to just trust me. This is one of the most practical things that you can do. Get to know your future self from this present place by writing yourself a letter from the future. Now, you're going to have to get yourself into that state.
So you have to say okay, so right now I'm 46 years old. So I'd be like, I'm 56, look around, where do I live? Where are the kids? Where's my husband? What do I look like? What's changed? How much money do I have? What's different in my business? All the things.
And then from that place, write a letter to yourself now. What would you say to yourself now? Take your time. Then on a different day, I want you to write a letter from now to your future self. See what you can learn. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. How you treat yourself, how you talk to yourself, how you think about yourself, the most important relationship in your life.
People will tell you that paying attention to yourself and working on yourself is self-indulgent. They are wrong. Period. When I hear people talking about life coaching like it's a self-indulgent thing to do, I want to laugh really loud in their face like, are you kidding me? It is the most important thing we can do in order to contribute to the world. It is the least indulgent thing we can do because if we're focused externally, we have nothing to offer.
We have to start with ourselves. Your imagination, which is the tool that you will be using to practice this exercise is the most important tool for you to hone, the most important skill for you to hone in on because it determines your vision. It determines what you create and it determines what you do for yourself and for other people.
You cannot give more of yourself if there's nothing of you to give because you're not paying attention to yourself. So the way that I titled this podcast was gifts for my future self, and the reason that I titled it this way is because I saw a quote from Anne Lamott's son Sam Lamott, I saw a quote from him and it said something like - I'm paraphrasing it - said something like hey, future self, you better appreciate this because I don't feel like doing this at all.
And it made me think about how grateful I am and how gracious I am to my past self for creating this life for me that I'm currently living. Like, I want to high-five myself for listening to my own advice, for doing what I told her to do. I'm like, so thankful and that relationship is so good.
Now, some of us have terrible relationships with our past selves and our future selves. We're beating ourselves up for the things we did in the past and we're beating ourselves up for who we are now, and we're beating ourselves up for our future because we don't believe in any kind of possibility.
But if you have an amazing relationship with yourself in all the time zones, so to speak, you can create an amazing life for yourself. My past self hooked me up. She lost the weight, she quit drinking, so now I don't have to. I don't have to deal with weight anymore, I don't have deal with drinking anymore. She set up a business that makes sense and produces money. It's not just based on instant gratification. She built a team, an amazing team for me and my business. Saved money, married Chris, took care of her beautiful children, all of those things, I'm so thankful for myself for.
I'm so glad, and I want to feel that same way 10 years from now. I want to be thankful for my past self 10 years from now. So my focus right now is how can I pass that forward? How can I make that even better for my future self than my past self made for me?
So what are the gifts that I can give to my future self? The me of tomorrow, the me of a week from now, the me a year from now, the me 10 years from now. And what if I think about her as more of a priority than me in this moment?
Now I want you guys to think about that idea. I want you to think about the whole concept of the urge jar that I've taught you guys, about being able to manage and allow and accumulate urges without giving into them. A full urge jar - and if you don't know what I'm talking about, join Scholars and get the urge jar in Scholars.
But a full urge jar means that you have delayed your gratification for your future self. You have established enough discipline and emotional maturity to take care of yourself in the future. So I want you to think about what are the gifts that you are receiving right now from your past self? Like, what do you want to thank yourself for?
Thank you for losing the weight, thank you for not drinking last night, Jägermeister, thank you for exercising all those years, thank you for becoming a life coach, thank you for studying so hard and meeting and being kind to all your friends and nourishing those relationships and raising such beautiful children, and paying attention to their needs. All of those things.
What do you want to thank yourself for and be gracious to yourself for? And the next question is what do you want to give as a gift to your future self now? What do you want your future self to receive and experience in the future? And do you love her or him enough to give them now?
So for example, let's say you win a million dollars in the lottery. Now, some of us, especially if we're 18 years or younger, will spend that million dollars within a week. We'll buy Porsches off the show room floors, we'll buy houses, we'll buy boats with no consideration of our future self. We have to develop the emotional maturity to think about our future self.
Think about drinking. Those of you who drink and do drugs when you were younger, if you're anything like me, you would drink with no thought about tomorrow, with no concern about anything in the future. You would trash your future self. You'd wake up in the morning, you'd be like, yo, past self, what the hell? This isn't good. Or go into debt and be like yeah, future self, you deal with the debt, or hey, I'm just going to not use protection. I'm not thinking about my future self. I'm just thinking about myself in this moment.
So thinking about your future self is a skill that most of us develop as we establish more maturity. So when you think about what are the gifts you want to give your future self and what do you need to do now to do that, now, a lot of them are unconscious. So a lot of them are you're giving yourself - you're saving money, for some of you, you're paying your mortgage, you're fertilizing your lawn, you're going grocery shopping.
All those things that you're doing, you're doing for your future self. I want you to think about them on a bigger scale. What do you want to do for yourself a year from now? What do you want to do now for yourself five years from now? 10 years from now? What will you be grateful for? What gifts do you have to offer?
And so I've been thinking about this a lot for my kids too. It's like, what can I do now for them financially? What can I do now for them emotionally that will serve them in their futures? What can I do now for myself 10 years from now and consistently?
I like to think about them separately. I like to think about this is what I'm going to do for my business self and this is what I'm going to do for my personal self. Here's what I want to tell you. The best gifts that you have to give your future self are super dull and boring right now. That has been my experience.
So being responsible with my health, exercising, doing yoga, getting my health checkups regularly, taking care of my teeth, taking care of my bones, eating a really healthy protocol diet, saving money in an account. All of those things personally that I'm doing for myself is because I love myself in the future.
And in the future, I will be delighted that I did all the boring things. And as it applies to my business, there's a lot of things that I'm doing in my business that aren't sexy and fun and awesome right now. I'm applying a lot of constraint to the products and the things that I offer and the things that I do in my business, and that makes it so my business is scalable and simplified. I'm spending a lot of time hiring the right team and making sure we have the right people.
It would be much easier just to throw people into the business and just be like, they'll be fine, but I'm being really careful and really practical. I'm delaying a lot of financial gain to the future. I'm not trying to cash out or pressure my audience or pressure anyone to buy anything from me at all because I know that in the future, my most important asset are my customers and developing a relationship with them and helping them and giving them results ahead of time is the ultimately long-term play for myself.
I'm not burning myself out. I'm taking very good care of myself mentally and planning my time. I sit down every week and plan my time for the week and then I honor that time for the week because I don't want to procrastinate and put that on my future self. I want to take care of my future self.
One of the best ways of doing this is to think about your future self as someone you love and care about because so many of us, what we do to our future selves we would never do to our best friends. We would never do that to them. We'd never say that we were going to do something and then just not show up. We would never put them off and not contact them and ignore them the way that we do to our future self.
We wouldn't not plan something for vacation or something. We wouldn't just wing it. And I think a lot of us are doing that with our future self lives. We haven't thought about what can I give as a gift to my future self now. And the longer ahead you think into the future, the more elaborate you can be, the more exciting those gifts can be.
Because if you think that 10 years from now is a long time from now, you won't ever get around to doing what you could easily do in 10 years. We like to think about what we can do in one year, but here's the thing, what we can do in one year pales in comparison to what we can do in 10.
So if we start thinking about 10 years from now, in 10 years from now, my future self is going to be so stoked that I started thinking about a 100 million dollar business now. Because if I started thinking about it 10 years from now and tried to do it in a year, it would be awful. But because I have 10 years to do it and I'm thinking about my health, I'm thinking about staying lean, I'm thinking about staying flexible, I'm thinking about protecting my skin from the sun, all of those things.
So I want you guys to write these letters, but the other thing that I really want you to do is make a list of the gifts you want to give your future self. Someone in a marketing book had recommended that you write your bio five years, 10 years from now. What do you want your bio to be? Just like, if you were doing a website and someone was going to introduce you, what would they say? What's the elevator pitch version of that?
What would they say about you five, 10 years from now? And are you creating that for your future self now? Are you doing the boring gifting that you need to do in order to have that extraordinary that you're wanting in the future? And here's the strategic byproduct, my friends. This is what I am living right now.
I am the bridge right now between my past self and my future self. My past self has given me so much. I'm so thankful for her and the education that she got for herself and the classes that she took and the books that she read and the people that she met. All of that. I'm so thankful. But I'm also super excited about my future self.
So my present self is delighted by all of it, by what I've created for myself in my present and what I'm creating for myself in the future. And I think that makes a magnificent life. When you can bring time together and utilize it, you are your most powerful self. When your relationship with yourself is at its best, you will have the most to give to yourself and to others.
Taking care of yourself is the least indulgent thing you can do and it's really hard. All of you guys that say life coaches are self-indulgent because we focus on ourselves, listen to me, we would rather not. It's really hard to focus on yourself. There's a lot of ugly thoughts in there. There's a lot of terrible feelings. We'd much rather buffer away our lives, which is the ultimate F you to your future self when you buffer now.
But when you say I'm willing to feel, I'm willing to experience that urge now for you, I got you, I will pay the price for you because I don't want you to deal with the effect of giving into my urges all the time, I want to spare you from that, future self, and that is my gift for you. That's sacred ground, my friends because here's the other piece.
When you do that for yourself, you will realize that is the hardest person to do it for. Everybody else after that will become easy. You will become the most generous, most giving person that you know because if you can give to your future self, if you can discipline yourself to take care of yourself, you will do the same to everyone else in your life from a kind, disciplined, wonderful place.
It won't be from a sense of obligation or that you have to. It will be that will become your nature because you have practiced that skill within yourself. So think about it my friends. What are the gifts that you want to give to your future self? What does she have to say to you and what do you have to say to her?
Get to know her. Have a beautiful week my friends. I'll talk to you next week. Take care. Bye- bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.