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If you were to walk into a store that has every possible option for your future, what would you buy?

There are places you could live, careers you could have, personality traits you could embody, and adventures you could experience.

No one will judge you for what you pick, and you can always return something if it doesn’t fit when you take it home.

This is how I want you to see your future.

Every possibility is available to you if you’re willing to walk into The Future Store with creativity, openness, and a true understanding of what you want.

This week, I share how to use The Future Store exercise to decide what your future will look like and how to handle the pressure you feel to pick one option over another.

What you will discover

  • How to imagine your own Future Store.
  • My personal adventure through The Future Store.
  • What holds people back from making changes.
  • How far ahead to look into your future.
  • Why you need to avoid looking at other people’s stores and what they’re buying.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 472.

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.

Okay, so I was looking at the number 472 and I was like, “Can that be right?” I don’t know why. I’ve been recording this podcast for 472 weeks in a row. I have never missed a week. It is insane to me.

So I was trying to figure out how many years is that, 472 podcasts, how many years is that? So I decided you just divide by 52, that’ll tell you how many years it was. I divided by 52 and it said nine, and I was like, “That can’t be right.” And then I literally had to stop the podcast and go look it up, and it was right.

April of 2014 is when I started recording this podcast. I was 41 years old. And I was thinking about this, my kids were 13 and 12. Just babies. And now they’re 22 and 21. So it’s been a long time, and I know that some of you have been with me that entire time. Some of you have literally listened to every single episode for the past nine years of our lives together.

And this is why when I’m out in the world and I run into you, you’re like, “Hey, what’s up?” Like we’re long-lost friends. Because we’ve literally been friends for nine years. Every single week, connecting, talking on the phone, just one-sided conversation, but still, it’s amazing.

So I am dumbfounded and excited and proud and shocked that this is the nine-year anniversary of the podcast, April 2023, y’all. Wild. Wild and exciting. And it’s kind of interesting that I’m going to talk to you about The Future Store, and it’s kind of a concept that I created as I was redoing my own goals and my own vision for my own life. And it’s actually a super powerful way of - it’s like a metaphor for looking at your future.

Many of you know I love Dan Sullivan. He’s one of my mentors, one of my teachers. I think he’s one of the best thinkers on the planet today. I love his concepts. And one of the things that he taught me many, many years ago is that our future is our property, and looking at it like our property makes us take some sense of ownership of it. And I think for me, that has had a significant impact on my life.

Seeing this kind of land out in front of me that I own, that I can build whatever I want on, and I own it, nobody can take it away from me has helped me create this sense of power in my own life. And so as I was working on my goals and as I was working on my vision for my life through this year, I started to think about my future as my property, as a store.

If I was going to walk into The Future Store, what would I buy? What would I purchase at that store? What would I put inside my bag? And what would I want to have? And so as I was thinking through this, I’m like, “This is such a cool concept. I want to share it with you all.”

So I want you to think about if you walked into this store - picture yourself walking in, you look at the top, it just says Your Future. And you can pick whatever you want out of this store for your life. What would you pick? You don’t have to tell anyone what you really want, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone, and you don’t have to base it on anything you’ve ever wanted in the past, you don’t have to base it on any of your past goals.

One of the things that I do and I’ve taught you all to do pretty regularly is to re-decide your life, and don’t base it on anything that you’ve ever chosen in the past. Don’t feel like you have that sunk cost that you have to depend on, or that you have to honor. You just decide, brand new, as the new person, as the version of yourself that is right now, do you still want what you have in your life, or do you want something different?

And if you were going to go into your Future Store, what would you pick up again and what would you maybe not pick up again? So as I’ve been reflecting, this year especially, because this was my 50th year. Since July I turned 50, but as this year started, thinking about my 50th year has been really powerful to me.

It’s this halfway through my life kind of revisiting everything that I want in my life and thinking about the future. And one of the big changes that I have made recently, and I’m going to be talking a lot more about this, is as my business has grown and as I have grown, so many things have changed that used to work in my life that don't work now.

And one of those things is I have always shared my vision with my business. So for example, when I first started The Life Coach School, when I first started being a coach, I had a personal vision for my life that was also the exact same personal vision for my business, which made sense. It was just me in the business, so it made sense for my personal vision to be the vision of the business.

And that has never changed. So for those of you who don’t know, my vision for myself has evolved, but the most recent rendition over the past few years has been I want to make $100 million and be an example of what’s possible with the Model.

And before that, it was I want to make $10 million. Before that it was I want to make a million dollars. And before that, it was like, I just want to be an example of what’s possible. And as we finished up last year, we made $52 million and we kind of talked about the vision of the School, in so many ways, I feel like that vision has been accomplished in so many ways.

We have been an example of what’s possible with the Model. I personally have been an example of what’s possible with the Model. So many of our employees, so many of our students and our clients and our coaches are an example of what’s possible with the Model.

And so one of the things that we decided was to separate my personal vision, which is still to make $100 million and be an example of what’s possible with the Model, from the School’s vision. And recreate a vision just for the School that’s independent from my vision, but amazing and exciting and more inclusive of everyone who works for the School, and kind of them putting their input in terms of the values that they want to have in the place that they work, and also the vision they want to have for the School that they work.

So we’re in the process right now. We’re about to meet all together as a team to kind of reinvent what that vision is and what those values are for the School and keep them separate from me.

So as I’ve done that personally, kind of made that separation, it’s made me really have some profound super-thinking about my own life and what I really want and how that’s different than maybe what the School wants.

And one of the things that I’ve really embraced this year that I never have before is patience and time, and not being in a hurry for anything. My whole life has been filled with this intensity of create things and do things, and I’ve kind of slowed down.

So the reason I’m telling you all this is just to share my personal adventure through this Future Store from a new perspective. So I want to make sure you’re doing that reset for yourself too before you walk into your Future Store.

So one of the ways that you can best do it is just create a little visualization for yourself. Close your eyes and picture yourself walking into this store and look at all the possibilities of what’s available in the future. Careers, houses, people, items, purchases, personality traits, adventures, look around, what is possible?

And for those of you who did Reinvention, you know that one of the processes of reinventing yourself is considering possibilities that maybe you’ve never considered before. Most of us consider maybe three or four possibilities, and I want you to consider hundreds of possibilities for your life.

What could there be? And then maybe pick something up as a possibility. Pick something up that you might want in your future and look at it and consider it. One of the things I’ve been doing is really considering where would I want to live if I could live anywhere.

And oh, turns out I could live anywhere. Where would that be? And kind of exploring different possibilities within the Future Store. Do I want to live overseas? Do I want to live in Scottsdale? Do I want to live in Texas? Do I want to live in California? No is the answer, but where would I want to live? And what kind of house? And what kind of lifestyle? What would I want nearby?

Just really spend some time and then make a list of all the items that you would like to purchase or you would like to take in your Future Store, knowing that there’s layaway. You don’t have to take it home with you right now. There could be some possibility for something way down the line.

And one of the things that happened for me kind of looking around inside of the store and thinking about what I would want to purchase is I kept feeling this need to pull back and stay loyal to what I already have, and to say, “But I already have this, or I should do this, or this is what is happening now and I don't want to change that.”

And I really want to encourage you not to do that. This is an exercise. You never ever have to create any kind of permanence in this process. So if you go into the Future Store and you’re like, “I would love to live on an island, that’s what I would love to buy, that’s what I’d love to purchase in this Future Store,” you never have to live on an island.

We’re just learning what we want, what we like. It’s kind of like when we go clothes shopping and we kind of try on different outfits to see, does this feel like me? Does this fit? Does this look good? Is it comfortable? That’s what we’re doing. And I recommend you spend at least an hour walking around your Future Store and seeing what’s there.

One of the things that I want to discourage you from doing is looking at what other people are buying, or what other people want, or what other people already have. I think a lot of times we get lost in comparing ourselves and we start thinking, “Well, that person is so happy doing that thing that maybe that’s what I should do because then maybe I’ll be that happy.”

That is not how you want to approach exploring your future, going into your Future Store. You want to see, what does this feel like to me? Now, you might get the idea of an item in your Future Store from what someone else is doing, but make sure you don't look at how much they like it and mistake that for how much you like it.

Be like, “Oh, that’s great for them but that’s not really what I’m into. I’m not really into that, even though it looks amazing.” So an example of that for me would be when I look at other people in huge groups of people doing all these adventures with lots of people with them, that looks so much fun for them. But when I think about putting me in that situation with tons of people around all the time, I know that I won’t be happy in that situation.

So I have to pick this thing up for myself and try it on with me, not just look at what other people are doing and seeming happy doing it. And then once you create this list of the things that seem delicious, seem amazing, seem great for you, notice how different or the same it is from the life you already have, or maybe the life you’ve had in the past.

So one of the things that holds a lot of you back from the changes you want to make in your life is identity pressure. And what I mean by that is it’s kind of like you go into the Future Store and you put on a new outfit, and nobody’s ever seen you wear anything like this before, but you love it. It feels like you.

This happened to my son Christian. When we moved to Texas, he immediately wanted to go to the Western store and get a pair of boots and a flannel and a pair of jeans. And we were like, “What are you doing? What are you wearing?” It just didn’t look like him to us. And we were so confused. And I could see how that might make him back away from that identity and maybe not want to wear that anymore, but it’s my son Christian so he didn’t care at all.

He was like, “This is what feels like me. I should have always been wearing these kinds of clothes. This is the identity that is me now.” And it was amazing, and he went on to really embrace his part of him that was something we didn’t recognize, and kind of identify himself as a country dude. And we lived in California for so long and he’d been a golfer for so long, we were like, what is going on? But it is who he genuinely was and wanted to be.

So I think that’s important for us to know that we’re going to walk out of that store possibly in an outfit or with an item that other people won’t identify with us because people want us to stay the same. Remember, we like sameness. We like certainty. We don’t like people changing because our primitive brains freak out when that happens. We think it means danger.

It doesn’t. It’s evolvement. But it feels scary. And so just notice how much your future, if you go into your Future Store and pick up all these items, notice how if it’s different from your current life or from your past, notice how it brings up emotion, or maybe some kind of uncertainty for you, or some kind of discouragement.

And just allow those feelings to be there and just commit to knowing what you want. It doesn’t mean you ever have to do it. I’m not suggesting that you have to do everything you want to do. But I think it’s important to know. It’s kind of like that game, wouldn’t it be great if?

Wouldn’t it be great if I could move to Florida? Wouldn’t it be great if I could live in Italy? Wouldn’t it be great if I could have a house on five acres? And then immediately your brain’s like, “No, that’s not possible. People will think you’re crazy. Don’t do anything like that.”

Just ignore that and just be committed to knowing what you want. I think that’s the power of this exercise. And also recognizing, and this has really been important for me recently is your future is huge. So a lot of times when I ask people, when you think about your future, how many years ahead do you think? And for some people it’s a year, for some people it’s two years, for some people it’s 10 years.

For those of you who have been listening to my podcast, you know that when you ask an addict, someone who’s significantly addicted to something, they’re only looking a couple hours ahead. They’re not able to look into the future. They’re only looking for their next fix. And for people who are tremendously successful entrepreneurs, they notice that most of them are looking years ahead. And of course, there’s lots of in between.

But just notice when you go into the store, there are things for you to look at having for the next 10, 20, 30 years. So allow yourself to explore your whole future, your whole possibility, many, many, many years down the road. Not necessarily next year, not necessarily in five years, but in 25 years.

So one of the things I’ve done in my own visioning is I’ve reset my goals for a 10-year period from my 50th birthday because I want to give myself a 10-year decade to kind of reconsider and re-envision my life. It feels super powerful to me.

And so all I’ve been thinking about is my 50th decade. So 50, 51, 52, 53, all the way to 60, what do I want my 50s to be? What do I want to create? What do I want to have accomplished? Where do I want to live? Where do I want to travel? That’s been kind of my exploration.

Dan Sullivan, he does it. He’s 78 years old and he’s setting a whole 25-year goal for himself and what he wants to be able to purchase in this Future Store in the next 25 years. And it takes some creativity and it takes some imagination and it takes some effort to really consider what your own true desires are.

What is it you really want for your own self, for your own life? What is what you believe is possible? And how is it different and how is it the same from the live you currently have? And notice when you go into your Future Store, does it seem blank? Does it seem like there’s not a lot of opportunity? Are you not allowing yourself to explore?

Listen, one of the things that I really want to encourage you to do is to look at everything on the shelf so you don’t even have to pick anything up, you don’t have to change anything, you don’t have to consider a life change. But just notice the number of possibilities.

If you’re blank, it’s probably because you’re afraid of considering anything because you’re afraid of what it means for your current life, or you’re afraid of change. And that’s why this exercise is so non-threatening. You’re just walking around in the Future Store. What do you want to put in your cart? You never have to go and cash out. Just allow yourself to play with the cart.

Abraham has this exercise where they talk about how you could go into a Target, or you could go into a Nordstrom and just fill your cart full of what you would buy if you had all the money in the world, just to get to know yourself. You don’t ever have to go cash out, you don’t have to ever purchase anything.

But what would you buy if you had all of it? And if the possibilities were endless, what would you put inside your basket when you go through that Future Store? I highly recommend that you go through this exercise for yourself for a long period of time out in front of you and really consider what’s possible.

Sometimes when we only consider what’s possible in the next one to five years, we limit ourselves. But when we think about what’s possible in the next 10 or 20 years, all of a sudden we open up the incredible possibility for our own life that we may never access if we don’t ever consider giving ourselves enough time to create something extraordinary in our lives.

So I hope you guys have fun with this little Future Store exercise, going through it, considering yourself, seeing what’s in there, what you can buy. I know for me it’s been a game-changer. I’ve really noticed there’s actually a lot of things in that store that I don’t want, a lot of possibilities that I have because of my experience, my age, my opportunity, my finances that I actually don’t want, and that's okay.

Just because they’re possible doesn’t mean I have to have them, but there are a lot of possibilities that I do want. And that’s really fun to play around with. So I hope you enjoy. Have a beautiful week everyone. Talk to you later. 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 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.

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