Well, here we are – still getting creative on how to enjoy holidays in strange and challenging times. Our family is trying to get a little more creative this year when it comes to Valentine’s Day fun. Clients continue to tell me how their teams and employees are struggling with mental health. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is so important but can also very difficult right now. One of the best prescriptions for improved mental health is FUN!
My husband and I have been married for almost 22 years, and we officially have one teen and one pre-teen. This makes for an interesting blend of ages and interests during the holidays! It also creates different definitions of fun. We have to create experiences that we all enjoy, which can be tricky. Our family agreed to try the following:
1. Throw a Chocolate Party
Many moons ago, my husband and I had dinner at a local winery for Valentine’s Day-it was marvelous!! We are making an attempt to replicate this in a much easier way this year. I am not much of a chef; however, we are going to attempt to include chocolate in every dish! This is the perfect weekend to break out my fondue pot and dip lots of different items into some melted chocolate. And, we are going to make chocolate spaghetti Yes, it is a thing – and, it is delicious – I hope!
2. Create and Serve a Signature Beverage
I love to create new cocktails using whatever we have around this house. Good news- I still have some frozen cranberry slush from Christmas! We were supposed to go to my Dad’s so I made over a gallon of the stuff; then, we ended up staying home due to a COVID exposure. It’s time to turn lemons (or cranberries in this case) into lemonade! There is both an an adult and kid-friendly version so everyone can enjoy!
3. Binge Watch Family Videos and Photos
We have 1,000s of videos and pictures that are stuck in the cloud, on disks and in phones. It is well below freezing outside, so instead of watching Netflix – we are going to watch our family history and memories instead!
4. Blend Pictionary with Charades
My parents always believed that a family who plays together, stays together. We like to take board games next level in our house, so we get out a giant white board with Pictionary cards and draw while also using a dose of charades for clues when the drawings just aren’t cutting it.
5. Add to the Futures Capsule
I can feel us all getting a little tired of the COVID and the cold, so we are going to get into gratitude and show thanks for the wonders of life while also adding to our Futures Capsule. Instead of adding items and memories that represent the past, we create writings and ideas of what we want in the future. These include drawings, lists, goals, pictures, etc. The Futures Capsule allows us to dream while also creating family conversations focused on what we would like to do, explore, be and achieve. It’s an effective way of communicating with young adults who usually answer their parents with “stuff” or “things” when asked about their day.
Let us know about the fun ideas you have for Valentine’s Day!
As a student of strategic foresight, you learn that there are multiple futures. Typically, you learn about the preferable, probable, plausible and possible futures; however, I noticed that something was missing – the Purposeful Future.
A Purposeful Future is the path we choose to pursue with conscious intent because it is both significant and meaningful.
This is a major miss! How do I know this? The findings of my own research research on entrepreneurial learners and leaders repeatedly reveal one major finding – people are motivated by personal fulfillment and purpose. People are guided by a sense of purpose in the workplace and when buying products and services.
Purpose shapes everything in leadership and life – from our buying decisions to the ways in which we interact with colleagues and take care of ourselves. Research continues to demonstrate that people live longer, happier and healthier lives when they have a purpose.
Last week, I delivered a two-hour, online workshop for a government agency that is preparing its leaders for life after COVID, including the conflicts they might face in the workplace if people return to physical offices. We explored how conflict can be both counterproductive and productive. We also explored what they need to prepare for in 2021 – because change will continue to keep happening throughout the year.
The purpose of conflict was explored throughout the session. We also shared tools leaders and supervisors can use to help navigate the unchartered waters of 2021. More on that in a future post!
While coaching and teaching, I have noticed that thinking too far into the future is really challenging for leaders right now. Instead – my clients are focusing on 2021.
One of my coaching questions for clients lately has been this: Where do you want to be at the end of 2021?
It is not totally necessary for leaders to have only a long-term vision right now. Rather, many of them want to focus on the present as they create their future with intention and purpose, which is a fantastic step forward.
“Where” is the first step in the WILD Method of Strategic Foresight and Leadership. Download and use the Future Story 2021 strategic foresight coaching tool to help guide yourself and your teams through this important first step in creating a Purposeful Future.
In such a difficult and challenging time, we can sometimes question what our next step might be.
One thing I keep hearing from clients is that they are feeling “COVID burnout” and are searching for the energy and motivation to move forward. They also want to do something meaningful with their lives but wonder if they are too late to pursue a dream that has been sitting on the back burner for quite sometime.
One of the messages in this episode of The Creative Penn podcast is that midlife is a time of transition-not crisis. If you are hearing constant whispers telling you it is time for a change, it may be time to listen.
Enjoy hearing some strong voices from people who are creating their purposeful futures in the present moment and in the “middle” of their lives!
Dr. Bill Auxier, host of the Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast, invited me to be the last guest of 2020 on his very successful and informative show. We talk about factors influencing the future of healthcare, including the longevity economy and Purposeful Future. So, what exactly is a Purposeful Future?
Purposeful Future: The desired future we choose to pursue with conscious intent because it is both significant and meaningful.
What’s Next? The Importance of a Purposeful Future in 2021
One of the questions I continue to get almost daily is: What is next? My answer: Take some time to develop a Purposeful Future for yourself and/or your company. COVID has been a monumental wildcard. It has changed the trajectory of the future, so now is the perfect time to create the future you truly desire. We have seen the importance of living, working and earning with purpose in meaning in 2020 – and this megatrend will not slow down anytime soon.
Please take some time to listen to this episode of the Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast to learn more! And, contact me if you are ready to create and pursue your Purposeful Future!
Rural Health Leadership Radio with Dr. Bill Auxier
In this final episode of 2020, we are honored to have Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild as a guest. Dr. Connie shares her perspective on several timely leadership topics: the impact of history on the future, purposeful futures, systems thinking, and leadership of the future.
“My research on leaders repeatedly revealed one major finding; people are motivated by personal fulfillment and purpose.”
— Dr. Connie
Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, Wild Innovation’s Founder and Chief Futurist, is on a mission to help leaders and organizations intentionally create a more prosperous future in the exploding longevity economy, which is expected to be valued at $28.2 trillion by 2050.
Prior to launching Wild Innovation as a full-time venture, Dr. Connie worked at the University of Nebraska for twenty-five years. In her last position at the University, she served as the Executive Director (Interim) and Chief Futurist for the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska where she published an invited journal article, strategic foresight, leadership, and the future of rural healthcare staffing in the United States https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916469/, which was the first of its kind published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA).
Dr. Connie is a Certified Futurist, Professional Coach, and Gallup Strengths Coach with a doctorate in Human Sciences and Leadership Studies. She loves firewalking, snow sledding, swimming with sharks, and spending time with her family.
Leadership and life are intertwined like never before, which means intentionally creating the future is more important than ever. Use this coaching tool to help create a purposeful future as well as the mindset you need to achieve it.
This tool is especially useful if you are in a time of transition personally or as a team in a larger organization. Times of chaos and change can cause tremendous stress; however, they can also be the perfect time to innovate and choose which future you want to pursue.
Download the form today and start with –
Step One: Describe the future you truly intend to pursue.
Be as vivid as possible, and use extra paper if needed! Next, move on to –
Step Two: What one belief must you either develop or let go of to make your purposeful future a reality?
Download the form by clicking on the link below and give it a try!
The main idea of this post was originally shared in on Memorial Day in 2014. I wanted to share it again in the time of COVID. While it is true that we find ourselves in challenging and uncertain times, we can get through it. I am also sharing this post because the ideals Ewing Marion Kauffman shared with the world were very helpful to me when deciding whether or not to leave my twenty-five year career. His words ran through my head a million times, and I ultimately decided not to be content with what someone thought I was worth – especially when it was $158,000 less than the man who held the position before me.
I don’t believe the demise of the United States is an inevitable outcome. I believe there are many futures, and we have to decide which one we are going to choose. The politics of this whole COVID situation are very real, so make your own decisions about how you want to live your life. The one thing I have learned? Always question those who tell you to be satisfied with what you have or where you are in life – they usually think they are more entitled and valuable than you – and, that you should be there to serve them in some lower-level capacity.
You have the freedom to choose, and people died for that freedom. Now is the time to use it.
To the Brave & the Fallen: Thank You for Freedom!
We have much to be grateful for this Memorial Weekend. Thank you to all who have lost their lives bravely fighting for the United States. And, thank you to those who have served and passed, the families who have sacrificed more than most can imagine and all who defend this great nation. While I realize today is for the fallen, I also want to thank our living Veterans, Military personnel and their families. You need to be recognized and remembered whenever possible for your dedication and service to this country. I also want to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us.
Thanks to our great military heroes, one of the unique gifts we have in the United States is the gift is FREEDOM! The Declaration of Independence guarantees all of us “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This means we are free to pursue our lives and our vocations in any way that makes sense to us. Freedom and opportunity are already available, now we need the confidence to pursue our dreams!
Freedom is what makes America so great. What we do with our freedom is up to us. It is our choice. Freedom is our grandest opportunity and should be protected, especially in challenging times. The importance of the freedom to choose is demonstrated by the story of Ewing Marion Kauffman.
After serving in World War II, Ewing Marion Kauffman started working as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company and was extremely successful. When he started making more money than his boss, he found that his sales territory was suddenly limited. Mr. Kauffman’s boss limited the sales territory on purpose. After all, an employee couldn’t make more money than the boss!
Mr. Kauffman made a decision after his boss limited his sales territory and income. He quit his job and vowed never to work for anyone else again. He started his business in 1950 in the basement of his home. He generated $36,000 in sales and $1,000 of net profit in his first year. By 1989, Mr. Kauffman’s business made over $1 billion in sales and employed over 3,400 people.
Mr. Kauffman wanted to give back to the world and used his knowledge and wealth to form the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a foundation designed to support entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr. Carl Schramm, the former President of the Kauffman Foundation, wrote The Entrepreneurial Imperative. In this book (one of my absolute favorites), he notes three things all Americans should remember in the face of gloomy times (p. 81):
1. Never bet against the American system.
2. Know that being an American is your very best asset…
3. Finally, never count on anyone but you to create your own destiny.
The American system is designed so that we can pursue our passions and dreams, especially in challenging times. Our ability to pursue our dreams and create our own destiny is what makes our country so great. We all have the freedom to choose what to do with our lives, and we have the freedom to help one another. We have the freedom to pursue our ideas, our dreams and our passions. We have the freedom to create our own destiny.
People like my Great Uncle Jack realized this and helped protect the freedoms we have in the United States. Uncle Jack was a fascinating man. When I was young, all I knew about him was that he was great at hunting night crawlers. In fact, he taught me how to hunt them. We lived in the apartment above my parents’ TV and appliance store. It was located on the main street of a rural community and did not have much of a yard. Luckily, Uncle Jack lived only a few blocks away and had the perfect yard for gathering night crawlers. When it rained at night, we would walk down to his house with our flashlights and buckets. Dad and Uncle Jack would help us kids hunt night crawlers so we could use them as bait when we went fishing.
There is actually a trick to getting your night crawler. You have to shine the light on night crawlers to find them while they are above the wet ground. And, you have to be quick! Too much light scares them back into the ground. You have to remember where they are and grab them quickly yet gently. Then you have to slowly coax them out of the hole a little bit at a time. If you try to force them out, they break.
Night crawlers and people are similar in this regard. If you force individuals down a path they do not truly want to pursue, they eventually break. Humans must find their own paths and pursue their own destinies with passion and purpose in order to live their best lives.
I did not understand much about Uncle Jack until I was a young adult. He was a World War II Veteran and served under General George S. Patton during the Battle of the Bulge. Absolutely amazing! He was a World War II hero and I thought he was awesome because of his ability to catch night crawlers!
Uncle Jack and his family sacrificed when he served our country. As Americans, we must remember that our freedom is not free. Many men and women have died, been injured and sacrificed a great deal to provide us with the ability to live our lives with freedom and choice. Taking our freedom for granted dishonors our troops and veterans. It also dishonors their families, who have sacrificed more than many of us can imagine. These people have truly sacrificed for all of us and our great nation. We should honor and salute them everyday because they have given us the gift of freedom and choice. We get to choose how we spend our time and our lives.
The bottom line: Cherish your freedom, protect it and use it to create your destiny!
Freedom is foundational to entrepreneurship, business development and the future. We must protect freedom for our future generations. My daughter’s birthday is this time of year. Happy Birthday Raquel! As a your Mom, I will do whatever I can to preserve your freedom so you can pursue any dream you choose!
Coaching Challenge: Participate in a Memorial Day Activity and show your gratitude for our Veterans and Military families!
I am currently working on a day-long, customized strategic foresight and leadership curriculum for the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center’s National Leadership Institute. MHDD’s National Training Center is a collaboration between the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Kentucky, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Utah State University.
One of the topics we will focus on is creating and leading what I call a Purposeful Future. This is a pivot from the preferred future I have learned about and talked about for years. Why? Years of my research, and that of many others, continues to reveal the importance of purpose.
Too many people keep their desires inside of them. They unwittingly pursue the Purposeless Future. This is the future that “just happens” because people opt to stay on the hamster wheel of life rather than taking the time to develop and pursue a purposeful future that they truly desire.
A clear sense of purpose this is especially important for women, as well as businesses, looking to reinvent themselves, innovate or create a different future than the one they think the present will support. Purpose is associated with longevity, health, vitality and the ability to innovate.
Which future are you choosing to pursue right now? Have you been purposeful in the pursuit of your future? Or, are you running default mode?? There is no judgment here! I have, and still do, struggle to get out of default mode – especially when life gets overly busy!
I would really enjoy learning from those who are pursuing their Purposeful Futures with wild abandon! Why did you decide to approach your life and/or business with purpose? How do you approach the intentional creation of a Purposeful Future?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Go Wild with Your Purposeful Future!
PS: Enjoy the article (below) by Singularity University’s Chipp Norcross. I completed a professional development certification with Singularity a couple of years ago and like to study their strategic foresight research and ideas for the future.
Is Purpose A Company’s Best Protection Against Disruption? – Singularity University
Are you optimizing for the industry you think you’re in, or for the actual service you’re providing to your customers? Your answer could indicate how likely it is that your company might be disrupted, notes SU’s Chipp Norcross.
It is mid-January, and time is already flying by in 2020! Have you made progress on your New Year’s resolutions and goals? I know it is easier for me to DREAM BIG and be accountable when other people are taking the trip with me. If you need some motivation, accountability and bold thinking, join our 30 Day Bucket List Challenge!
Sign up by clicking on the “Join the 30 Day Bucket Challenge List” button below. We are kicking off on February 1, 2020. Sign up now to receive the 30 Day Bucket Challenge workbook. Then, start filling your bucket with whatever you want to accomplish, experience and achieve in 30 days!
Get ready to Go Wild and Have Fun!
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The end of the year – and in this case the beginning of a new decade – is a great time to take stock of where you have been and where you want to go!
Milestones in time create the ideal moments to clear the challenges of the past, celebrate our wonderful memories and launch our dreams. Listen to your internal compass. Maybe you have been feeling stuck or have an internal knowing that it is time to do something different. If so, it is time to give yourself permission to consciously create and pursue the future you truly desire.
One of the first lessons we cover in F * School is giving ourselves permission to do whatever we truly want to experience, try or pursue on the path to our preferred future – the future we truly desire.
I have noticed the need to “give permission” in both individuals and in organizations, so I created a lesson to address this need. Many people tend to keep themselves mentally stuck or wait for someone else to give them permission to move forward with an idea, project or vacation (Yes-sometimes leaders really struggle with taking time off to recharge and renew).
I have been guilty of choosing to stay stuck at times. My amazing executive coach, Elise Auxier, pointed this out to me as I transitioned from my job to my business. Instead of waiting for some external person or force to give me permission to leave a long-time career that was no longer serving me, I had to take ownership of my life and do it myself. It took a series of bold, baby steps. And, it took a lot of support. Ultimately, I had to be the one to take action. I gave myself permission every step of the way. Was it always easy? No. Has it been totally worth it? Yes!
The process of giving yourself permission to move forward with your dreams and desires can be especially important if you are going through a time of change or transformation. I used the Permission Slip several times to help with my midlife metamorphosis. It took me a year to leave the place I had been at for twenty-five years. As a mentioned earlier, it was a process of bold, baby steps. It has taken some time; however, I am finally emerging as the person I have always wanted to truly become.
Give yourself permission to take steps forward, no matter how big or small, to experience your dreams and desires. Don’t choose to pursue what I call the Purposeless Future.
The Purposeless Future
Too many people keep their desires inside of them. They pursue what I call the Purposeless Future. This is the future that “just happens” because people opt to stay on the hamster wheel of life rather than taking the time to develop and pursue a purposeful future that they truly desire.
The future is not a straight path forward. Rather, there are many alternative futures. In the world of strategic foresight (futuring), we us a tool called the Cone of Possibilities to help people understand this concept. In the cone, there are multiple futures that can be described as:
Preferred: The desired future we choose to pursue
Possible: The wide range of events and possibilities over the course of time
Plausible: Futures that are possible but unlikely
Probable: Events and future scenarios that are likely to happen
Purposeless: The future that occurs without conscious intention
There are also two key assumptions about the future:
There are multiple futures. It is important to clarify your preferred future through a visioning process; however, you must also be willing to change course when necessary. Remember, life is not simply about achieving in the future — it is also about enjoying the present.
You influence the future through your true intent. Once you establish your preferred future, you must develop the beliefs, behaviors, mindset and actions to make it happen. If you do not truly believe in your preferred future, you will not consciously or subconsciously pursue it with true intent.
The Power of Honest Intentions
Our honest intentions are naturally supported by our beliefs and actions; therefore, all true intent is realized. Intentions become the outcome — they become your future. Your intentions serve as motivation and the source of actions and behaviors. Setting and pursuing false intentions can lead to a lack of interest and motivation, which typically ends in feelings of failure and self-doubt. Feelings of failure and self-doubt can seriously erode confidence and our sense of self-empowerment and success. Be genuine about your desired future and your intent to pursue it. If you honestly and consciously establish your true intentions, your beliefs, behaviors and mindset will align to create the outcome.
Dealing with Wild Cards
Sometimes, we experience Wild Cards — those unpredictable, unexpected and unforeseen happenings that can impact our present and future. We might lose a job or have an unexpected health emergency. We might inherit a large sum of money or land a big client.
Wild Cards are a part of life, and we have to learn to deal with what comes our way.
Life is Not a Straight Line
There is no straight line to any future. As leaders of our own lives, it is important to take risks, learn from the challenges and celebrate the successes. Our preferred futures may ultimately look and feel a little different than we imagined; however, they may be even better than what our minds are capable of creating!
The Pace of Change
Wild Cards are unpredictable, unexpected and unforeseen happenings that we must deal with throughout the course of our lives; however, we are also living in a time of unprecedented change. Not only is technology evolving faster than ever – life is too. We are living longer and experiencing careers and families differently than ever before. We also feel like we need to always be “on” as we are constantly bombarded with the demands of life. This is especially true for people who are creating new ways of living and working.
All of this change can feel overwhelming and cause stress that undermines your potential. Don’t give into the hype! Change will continue to happen. The intention here is to create the positive change, and preferred future, that works best for you and your life. So, get give yourself permission to pursue your desired future!
WIN with Action!
Giving yourself permission to pursue your dream future is not about striving, working hard or struggling to make it happen. It is about the freedom to make decisions that work best for you. This exercise is about exploring how you personally WIN, and by WIN I mean let the process feel —
W = Wild = Free, Fulfilling and Fun!
You have the freedom to choose how to spend your life. Put your ego, external validation and the thoughts of others aside so you can be totally free and honest with yourself. Let your transformation be guided by self-honesty, personal fulfillment joy and fun!
I = Inspired = Explore with Energy and Excitement!
Anytime is a great time to explore new possibilities, so pursue your desired future in a way that gives you energy and feels exciting! If you are feeling a bit stuck, start asking yourself some questions designed to increase your self-awareness:
Where does your energy naturally flow?
What saps your energy?
What do you want to let go of doing, feeling or thinking?
What have you always wanted to do but have not yet tried?
This should be a process of experimenting and exploring. Remember, your true intentions will naturally lead to inspired actions.
N = Natural= Totally You.
Have you ever tried on a piece of clothing, looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow! This looks amazing!” It fit perfectly and the color made your face light up naturally. That is what the “N” in WIN should feel and be like. Write, do and explore what feels totally and completely like you. What comes to you without thinking about it? What have you been covering up or avoiding that is begging to be set free? What comes to you naturally — without effort or striving? What makes you feel alive and excited — taps into your intuition (that inner wisdom we all possess) and aligns with your soul?
It’s Time to WIN!
Download and complete the Permission Slip below. Take the time to give yourself permission to consciously create your future and experience your life by taking big leaps or bold, baby steps. Do whatever you need to do to give yourself permission to WIN and pursue your desired future!
Use extra Permission Slips if you need them. After you finish giving yourself permission to take consciously create your future by intentionally taking action, share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below! What steps did you decide to take? How did it feel? Whatever you want to share is absolutely welcome!
I look forward to hearing what you gave yourself permission to do, feel and experience to make your desired future a reality!