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.
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!
I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Dierdre Breakenridge. Dierdre is a PR guru, entrepreneur, teacher, author and awesome person! Learn more about Dierdre and her work by going to her web site: https://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com/
We had a million things we could have talked about in this episode of Women Worldwide; however, we ended up talking about futuring, the importance of a vision and how to have fun while pursuing your desired future! Check out this episode Women Worldwide and join Deirdre’s mission to advance a global conversation designed to help women succeed in business and in life.
Futuring – What is it and Why Do You Need It In Your Business?
Want to start thinking like a Futurist? Then, try this Dream Life 2025 coaching exercise!
I developed this exercise for people who listen to the Leaders of Transformation podcast with Nicole Jansen. Strategic foresight is now a core leadership competency, and Nicole and I had a great chat about how all of us can develop a futurist mindset.
If you are going to think like a Futurist, then it is important to focus on your own future first! This exercise is designed to do just that-help you think about your ideal future. This same type of exercise can be done with teams, departments or even whole organizations. Give it a try and let me know what your dream future looks, feels and even smells like!
It is important to clarify and begin living like you have already achieved your ideal future if you are truly going to achieve it. There are multiple futures, and the outcome that actually occurs happens because of both your mindset and the methodologies you use to get there.
I am honored to be speaking about the work of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) on Thursday, April 18. My talk is one of many exciting conversations about the future at the Nebraska Law Telecommunications Conference on the Rural Digital Divide. I am going to talk about RFI as well as the importance of both connectivity and connectedness now and into the future. This is an especially important topic for women because it impacts all areas of our life ranging from finances and fitness to faith and family.
The conference is hosted by the Space, Cyber, & Telecom Program at the University of Nebraska College of Law. How cool is that…a Space, Cyber & Telecom Law Program? Absolutely! Technology is changing very rapidly, and we need experts to help shape the future through policies and laws that are as cutting-edge as the tech. I have had the pleasure to partner with some of these amazing faculty members and am really look forward to the conference. The conference is free and open to the public.
Please join us to explore the future of connectivity, connectedness, humanity and much more!!
How can you cultivate a Futurist Mindset? And, why is this approach to life so important?
According to Jake, a few of the top takeaways from our episode focused on cultivating a futurist mindset include:
Futurists help leaders and people better understand the future, and being a Futurist is a real thing! Universities have teaching courses, degrees and certifications in strategic foresight (my certificate is from the University of Houston).
We create our future in the present moment.
Achieving your desired future is possible. How? You must combine methodology with mindset. One of the first steps includes knowing what preferred future you want to achieve and experience. You can do this by creating a Vivid Visual Vision, which blends fun with the future:
In 3-5 years out what do you want to do and experience?
Use Crayons, Paints, any medium to make the vision as vivid as possible – make it your own whole brain, whole soul process
Get below the surface and become very self-aware and honest about your future
Proactively pause and find out what you want – step away from the demand and create a new model – become mindful
Listen to this episode of the Modern Leadership Podcast with Jake Carlson to learn more! Click on the link below and enjoy the show!
How do you think technology will evolve with people (or vice versa), especially women, in this rapid era of change? This is the question Steven Shallenberger and I explore in this podcast episode.
Steve is the founder of Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, LLC and host of the Becoming Your Best Podcast.
Join us for a conversation focused on leadership, globalization and the future of humanity.
Please join this important global conversation and reply with your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comment section below.
Enjoy the show!!
Steve: Welcome to all of our Becoming Your Best Podcast listeners, wherever you might be in the world today! This is your host, Steve Shallenberger, and we have a very talented and interesting guest with us today. She helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. Welcome, Dr. Connie …
Purpose and vision are two key elements when creating and living your desired future. Individuals and organizations investing in transformation must make the time explore and clearly define their purpose and their vision. It is an important first step in my futuring and coaching process and is especially important for women (and men) who find themselves in new, and many times unexpected, stages and ages of life.
One of my top Strengths is Learner, and I am always interested in learning more about ways to help clients dive into their inner and outer worlds worlds. I am in the last of three online strategic foresight courses offered by Singularity University, and I am really excited about their lesson on developing what they call the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP).
I am sitting at my computer working on my new and improved MTP right now (aka my homework). The great thing about this assignment is that I can use and apply the information in my own life. It is the end of 2018, and I have fresh, global perspectives that are making me think differently about my business. New opportunities are popping up everyone, and I need to decide where to focus my time and talents. I am looking forward to walking through this process – not just for my homework – but to improve my work and life as well!
Take a look at the process below and share your MTP’s with me. I would love to hear from all of you!!
Go Wild and Share Your MTP!
Eradicating diseases, mastering flight, near-instant global communication, going to the moon—humans have developed a taste for making the impossible possible.Though we still face a daunting list of global challenges, we’ve learned that science and technology can uncover big solutions. But mind-blowing breakthroughs don’t just happen. They take teams of bright and dedicated people chipping away at the problem day and night. They take a huge amount of motivation, toil, and at least a few failures.To solve our biggest problems, we need people to undertake big tasks. But what drives someone to take on such a difficult, uncertain process and stick with it?There’s a secret to motivating individuals and teams to do great things: It’s purpose.Social movements, rapidly growing organizations, and remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology have something in common—they’re often byproducts of a deeply unifying purpose. There’s a name for this breed of motivation.It’s called massive transformative purpose or MTP.Setting out to solve big problems brings purpose and meaning to work—it gives us a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning and face another day.Peter Diamandis likes to say, “Find something you would die for, and live for it.”The more we organize around massive transformative purpose, the harder we’ll work, the more dedicated we’ll be, the faster we can solve big problems—and maybe most importantly, the more fulfilled we’ll feel about the work we do.This article will explore ideas we’ve learned from some of our favorite big thinkers on what makes an MTP and how to find and implement yours.
In 2014, Salim Ismail published Exponential Organizations, co-authored by Mike Malone and Yuri van Geest. In the book, the team analyzed the 100 fastest growing organizations and synthesized their key traits. They discovered every single company on the list had a massive transformative purpose.
In the simplest sense, an MTP is a “highly aspirational tagline” for an individual or group, like a company, organization, community, or social movement.
It’s a huge and audacious purpose statement.
Elon Musk and SpaceX are a good example for understanding MTPs. Musk didn’t found SpaceX to have a luxurious retirement on Mars or just for the sake of building the most profitable aerospace company. He’s driven by the belief humans must become a multi-planetary species. Making this a reality is his purpose.
SpaceX’s MTP to revolutionize space technology and enable people to live on another planet creates a shared aspirational purpose within the organization.
Notice that SpaceX’s MTP is:
Huge and aspirational
Unique to the company
Aimed at radical transformation
MTPs are not representative of what’s possible today; they’re aspirational and focused on creating a different future. This aspirational element is what ignites passion in individuals and groups; it’s what engages people’s hearts and minds to work together to realize their goal.
SpaceX’s MTP does this so well that they’ve also activated a cultural shift outside of the company’s walls, which is a secondary effect of having a strong MTP.
Other examples Ismail, Malone, and van Geest note in their book include the massive lines that form when Apple releases a new iPhone or the huge waitlist each year to get a seat at TED’s annual conference.
MTPs can inspire whole communities and evangelists to form around them.
Four examples of strong massive transformative purposes
As you read through these examples try to identify how each one fulfills each letter of MTP.
TED: “Ideas worth spreading.”
Google: “Organize the world’s information.”
X Prize Foundation: “Bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”
Tesla: “Accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation.”
Hopefully, this helps explain what an MTP is. But there are other kinds of motivating messages out there. What distinguishes an MTP from all the rest?
An MTP is not:
Just a company’s mission statement.
Technology specific or narrowly focused.
Representative of what is possible today.
Motivated only by profits.
Just a big goal or even a “big hairy audacious goal.” (It must also be driven by a purpose to create transformative impact.)
A successful MTP can often be reframed into a question. That question can then be used to evaluate organizational decisions and whether they’re aligned with the MTP. For example, if the organization TED is deciding whether to move forward with a talk they can ask, “Is this an idea worth spreading?”
The competitive advantages of an MTP
Having an MTP can trigger incredible outcomes, which is why high-growth organizations all tend to have them.
The aspirational quality of an MTP pushes teams to prioritize big thinking, rapid growth strategies, and organizational agility—and these behaviors all have substantial payoffs in the long term.
As an MTP harnesses passion within an organization, it also galvanizes a community to form outside the company that shares the purpose. This sparks an incredible secondary impact by helping organizations attract and retain top qualified talent who want to find mission-driven work and remain motivated by the cause.
Additionally, when people are aligned on purpose, it creates a positive feedback loop by channeling intrinsic motivation towards that shared purpose.
Finally, like a north star, an MTP keeps all efforts focused and aligned, which helps organizations grow cohesively. As the organization evolves and scales, the MTP becomes a stabilizer for employees as they transition into new territory.
Identify the who: Ask yourself who you want to impact. What community do you want to create a lasting positive impact for? Is it high school students? The elderly? People suffering a chronic disease? These are just a few examples of potential groups to focus your purpose towards.
Identify the what: What problem do you want to take on and solve? Here’s an exercise created by Diamandis to identify the “what” of your purpose:
Step one: Write down the top three items you are most excited about or get you most riled up (that you want to solve).
Step two: For each of the three problems listed above, ask the following six questions and score each from 1-10.
(1 = small difference; 10 = big difference)
1. If at the end of your life you had made a significant dent in this area, how proud would you feel?
2. Given the resources you have today, what level of impact could you make in the next three years if you solved this problem?
3. Given the resources you expect to have in 10 years, what level of impact could you make in a 3-year period?
4. How well do I understand the problem?
5. How emotionally charged (excited or riled up) am I about this?
6. Will this problem get solved with or without you involved?
TOTAL = Add up your scores and identify the idea with the highest score. This is your winner for now. Does this one intuitively feel right to you?
Have an MTP? Here’s what to do next
Realizing an MTP requires a different type of thinking. It requires a mindset and work environment that leans into complex problems and dares to think big—really big.
SpaceX isn’t where they are today because they focused on making 10% improvements to existing aerospace technology. And Google’s self-driving car isn’t the byproduct of a goal to make a 10% improvement to driving.
10% thinking leads to incremental progress, which doesn’t lead to making the impossible possible—like sending people to the moon.
Through history, however, we’ve learned that radically big thinking can lead to these types of breakthroughs.
You have the recipe for creating a massive transformative purpose to push you and your organization to the next level of performance and impact.
Now, it’s time to get to work.