Episode 21: Harnessing The Power Of Your Future Self

Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!

In this episode, I talk about how you can use the concept of your Future Self, the author you aspire to be, to supercharge your writing life NOW and bring you closer to living your dream life.

I share how you can get clear on who you want your Future Self to be, how to connect with them now, how they can help with decision-making and bringing you closer to your goals.

This episode was partially inspired by the book: Be Your Future Self Now: The Science of Intentional Transformation, by Benjamin P. Hardy. I highly recommend you check it out!

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Find the full transcript of this episode below.

Episode 21: Harnessing The Power Of Your Future Self

Jo: Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. So today I want to talk about how we can harness the power of our Future Self.

The purpose of Alchemy for Authors has always been to inspire us to create writing lives and also careers that feed us, that align with our values and allow us to be better versions of ourselves.

And I’ve always believed that each one of us has a gift, a calling, a purpose for being. Oftentimes we might even have more than one.

 But if you’re called to write, if that nagging desire has been with you for a while, then without a doubt, you have an obligation to share your words with the world. We know when something is meant for us, not only by the spark it ignites in our soul, but it’s fight against being silenced. So as authors and writers we’ve probably all at some point fought against that inner knowing that we’re meant to write.

We have a never-ending list of excuses, right? I don’t have time. I’m not good enough. I’m not good at writing. I don’t know what to write about. Why bother? No one will want to read my work anyway. Or, it’s a nice dream, but no one makes money from writing. All these excuses, by the way, are bullshit. I bet if you looked, you could find ten legitimate counter arguments to each of these excuses. If, of course, you’re willing to be honest to yourself. Maybe your excuses come in the form of saying ‘when I’. When I retire, I’ll write my book. When the kids leave home. When I resign from my job, or when I win the lottery. But excuses are really fear in disguise.

Here’s the thing; if that voice inside is still nagging you to write, or you find a wistfulness in hearing about the author journeys and successes of others, then that is a sure sign that if you were to give it a chance, such offerings were meant for you too.

If you were to give it a chance.

Maybe you’re there already, and you’re doing the thing. You’ve taken those actionable steps that everyone tells you to do. You’re writing and publishing the books. You have a newsletter and reader magnets. And you’re building a social media platform. Maybe you’re networking and playing with marketing and ads, and you’re doing all those things, and it’s great…

but it’s also not.

Now if your author life isn’t lighting you up in all the ways or something just seems a little bit off, then you still have some work to do. Maybe you’re feeling a bit burnt-out from hustling around a day job, and I’m there with you often, my friends. Maybe your bank account’s not growing as you’d hoped, or you’re feeling uninspired, or you’re plateaued in some way. And you just aren’t sure what to do next.

Well, then that’s a sure sign that you may need to get reacquainted with your Future Self.

So if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I like a bit of the woo-woo. So if you’re on board with that stick around. Now this episode isn’t terribly woo-woo, I promise, but nor is this episode about getting your butt in the chair and doing the work. Not that much anyway.

So today I want us to slow down a bit and I want us to think about our Future Self. That mystical being we all have in our mind about who we’ll be in the future. So I can tell you a little bit about mine. She’s much healthier and fitter than me, speaking to you right now. She lives in a kick-ass house, close to the ocean, with dare I say another one or two more cats that I have now. And right now I have four, but I’m not apologizing for that. Future Jo is also a full-on authorpreneur working from home with a constant stream of book ideas and a surprising amount of focus and discipline with getting her books written. In fact, Future Jo is a pretty darn prolific writer, who still has a podcast, but also… wait for it… also has time off. I mean, wow. What a lucky girl.

And money’s not a worry for Future Jo because she’s well and truly out earning her day job, so much so that her hubby has shortened his work week by a couple of days. And basically, Future Jo is happy. She’s chill, she’s inspired, she’s inspiring others, and she’s living her dream. And every day, life just seems to get better for Future Jo. So wouldn’t it be cool to be her?

Well, this is what I want you to think about today. How can you better align your Present Self with your Future Self, so you can actually live that life that you dream of?

So lately I’ve been reading this amazing book by author Benjamin P. Hardy. It’s called Be Your Future Self Now: The Science of Intentional Transformation. Hence the inspiration for this episode. And I haven’t finished the book yet; I’m about halfway through. It’s definitely a book that I’m taking my time with, savoring for all the wisdom it contains.

But already it’s really inspired me to recalibrate my life a little. And I’m hoping this episode might help you to do the same if that’s what you need.

First, I think it’s really important that we get really clear on who our Future Self is. And I want you to be really kind to yourself here. Dream big. There’s no room for insecurities or playing small when we’re setting out to create the best versions of ourselves, living our best lives. So dream big.

And there are a few good reasons to get clear on who your Future Self is and how they live.

Knowing your ideal Future Self gives you something to focus on: a goal of sorts. It gives you a stronger ‘Why’, a purpose for doing the things that you do, and helps with better decision-making. And if you want to find out more about the purpose of having a ‘Why’ for your writing life, make sure you go back and listen to episode one of this podcast.

By getting clear on who your Future Self is, you’re making it easier for yourself to weigh up decisions. Or when just going about your normal day-to-day life, you get to ask the question, what would Future You do? And you may not always like the answer, because, for an example, Future Jo often has to remind me that devouring a block of chocolate in one sitting, and foregoing the gym, is not going to help me get the slim fit bod of my Future Self. Dammit.

Now the Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, said “Live as if you were living already for the second time.” I’m going to read that to you again, and then I want you just to sit with it. “Live as if you were living already for the second time.”

So you need to imagine that you’ve made your decision, whatever that decision is – to eat the chocolate bar or not, and now you’re looking back. And if you think you’d regret the decision you made. Well, fortunately, you get to make the right decision now. What would Future You do?

Getting clear on your future self helps you work the law of attraction. So, if you’re familiar with the law of attraction: what we focus on is what we create for ourselves. You can do all the affirmations you like about being a successful best selling author, but if you can’t picture what that actually looks like and feels like, you’ll likely find yourself stuck in wishful thinking rather than manifestation.

So here’s the fun, but tricky, part. And that is actually getting clear on what you want for your Future Self. This is going to require a little bit of introspection, because what you don’t want is to focus on someone else’s Future Self. What I mean by that is, don’t be imagining the things that you feel your Future Self should want or be like. So don’t be imagining yourself writing 12 books a year when in reality, you really actually only want to write one or two a year and spend more time with your family. Maybe you want to be a millionaire author or maybe money is just not something you really care about, you’d much rather be lit up by the idea of loving what you do and entertaining others. There’s no right or wrong about how your epic author life should look. You just go with what feels right for you.

And there’s a few ways you can tune into your Future Self. So I’ve used an awesome meditation by money mindset coach Denise Duffield Thomas, where she walks you through visualizing meeting your Future Self, and you choose when this Future Self is: 2, 5, 10 years down the line. You meet each other, you give each other a hug and then they give you a tour of where you’re living, what you’re doing with your life, while you find yourself, checking them out and silently patting yourself on the back for how good you look in the future. And at the end of the meditation, Future You passes on any special messages or pep talks that you need to get you to where they are.

Now you can do that on your own, you don’t really need to be talked through it. It just comes down to the power of your own imagination. But if meditation’s not your thing, you might prefer to do this pen to paper as a lot of writers do. So instead you could spend some time writing in detail, your experience meeting your Future Self. Or you could write a letter to your Future Self, ask some questions and write down their responses. Be open to what you get come through. There is no right or wrong answers to this. And no one needs to see it. This is just for you. It might also be, and this was true with me, that you need to do these exercises a few times to really get clear, and that’s okay too.

So, what do you do once you’re clear on who you want to be and what you want to be doing and how you want to be living your author life in the future? Well, here are some ideas, all of which have the power to actually move you closer to making Future You the Present You.

Number one. Act as if.

Now I’ve talked about this before in other episodes. Acting as if has the power to change your life. And that’s why I advocate for you calling yourself an author even before you finish that first book. If you do it publicly, it can keep you accountable to your goals, because how long are you willing to call yourself a writer publicly without actually writing? So ask yourself all the time, what would Future You do? What would Future You say? And make decisions based on this. What would Future You choose right now?

But I also want you to extend it a little bit more and think about what would Future You wear, and eat, and watch on Netflix? All those things. And then find some of those areas in your life where you can make even just small upgrades to get you closer to being your Future Self.

So that feel good factor that comes from wearing branded underwear rather than no brand underwear, might just be that thing that helps elevate your vibe and boost your confidence, and set you up for an epic day. That high vibe, my friends, is getting you closer to Future You.

And so that really moves us along to number two.

Keep your vibes high, as much as you can. And I know, believe me, I know, that some days are going to be a struggle, and I totally get it. But you need to redirect your thoughts to your Future Self. How happy and relaxed they are, because that’s your future. And to get there we need to find ways to feel good now so that we are calling their energy to us.

So you need to keep the media and news we digest high vibe, spend time doing the things that you love with people that you love. pump some music, have a boogie in your lounge, sing your heart out, read a good book, listen to a podcast, write! Do whatever you need to do to keep your vibe high, because when you’re feeling good, we’re natural magnets for all that good stuff.

And if you’re a little bit on the fence with believing that like attracts like, that’s okay. But I want you to just think how we’ve all experienced at some point in life how our mood can influence our reaction and our actions.

Life just seems to get better when we’re happy and we’re in a good place. And when we’re in a grump and we’re feeling down, everything, everything just sucks. So think about it this way, when we’re in a good mood, that person who skips in line at the supermarket, you can easily meet them with a smile or shrug of the shoulders. No big deal. I mean, who knows what’s going on in their life. But on a day when we’re in a grump, well, that person is not only a rude ass, but you start to focus on other things too. Like why the heck is that cashier moving so slow? I mean, don’t they know you’re in a hurry? And what’s with the price, like on the broccoli, I mean, how’s anyone supposed to eat healthy with these prices? And then it’s just one thing after the other. And we can get so caught up in our own bad mood, that when we’re just finding all those negatives we miss out and we limit the opportunities that are right in front of us. So whether you think of it as woo woo or not, what we focus on is what we attract.

If we see our author careers as being full of amazing collaborative opportunities, we’ll more likely notice them and be able to take advantage of them when they appear. But if we believe the opposite, there could be still amazing opportunities right in front of us, but we’ll be too caught up in our own drama that we’ll miss them. So it’s really essential that whatever you’re trying to manifest, or create, if you prefer that word, keep your vibes high.

Number three.

So another way that your Future Self can help you is by helping you to prioritize better. And yes, this is something my people-pleasing self will definitely be working on a lot more over the next little while. So this tip here is really a complete work in progress for myself.

So in Benjamin Hardy’s book, Be Your Future Self Now, he reminds us that everything we do or choose is either a deficit or an investment to our Future Self’s’.

So if you’re anything like me, you probably have a to do list the size of Kansas with a million things competing for your attention. There’ll be a lot of ‘shoulds’ on that list, which is really just somebody else’s voice in your head telling you what’s important. And then you’ll have a mixture of ‘needs’, things you need to do. And hopefully a mixture of ‘wants’, things you want to do. Now, this is a real ongoing battle for me because, and you might find yourself a little bit similar in this respect, but when I reflect on it, my ‘shoulds’ often get done before my ‘needs’. And then my ‘wants’ don’t even stand a chance because I run out of time.

And so my biggest tip of today is don’t be like me! ‘Wants’ are really important. ‘Wants’ are ‘wants’ for a reason. It’s going back to number two, they keep our vibe high. They make us happy. They’re that very energy that our Future Self is striving for. ‘Shoulds’ on the other hand, often fall into that category of feeling urgent, but us also feeling obliged to do them. And more often than not, they’re not actually as important as we make them out to be. And they’re not as important as our ‘needs’.

So Hardy talks a lot about how we can get caught up catering to our urgent in small goals and forfeiting the important big goals. And that’s not helping our Future Self’s out. That’s having us tread water. We’re alive, we’re surviving, but we’re not really going anywhere. There’s also going to be urgent requests made on our time. But we need to decide if they’re actually all that important. Like what’s the worst thing that will happen if we don’t get to them immediately? And if the answer’s not a lot, then they’re not really that important, are they?

Important goals on the other hand, are those things that move us closer to our Future Self’s, and they can be classified as our ‘needs’. They bring us closer to being the best versions of ourselves, where we contribute the most to society in ways that bring us joy as well. So our important goals might not be all that joyful at the time, but I would much rather have the hard slog of swimming towards the island where a gold sand beach fit with recliner and pina colada waits for me, then going nowhere, barely keeping my head above water, treading water, doing those small urgent goals. Big goals are better. Broken into small goals is fine, but always keep your eyes on the prize.

And this might mean that you’ve got to delegate tasks not aligned with your future goals, or get rid of them completely. It might mean, and this is something that I mentally taking note of that I need to do myself, but it might mean setting better boundaries with yourself and others. And having some hard conversations so that you can actually take your power, your time, and your energy back.

So when you’ve got a list of competing priorities in front of you. I want you to keep your Future Self in mind. Keep your Future Self in mind when you write down your to-do lists. What you don’t want is to get to the end of your life and look back unsatisfied and with regrets because you were focusing on the small urgent things, and not the big, important things and the things that light you up. You are focusing on the wrong things.

Now the fourth thing that I want you to remember about utilizing the power of your Future Self, is that your Future Self is inevitable, but it’s not set in stone. So just as, and try and follow me here, because it does get confusing, but just as your actions in the present, determine your Future Self, your Future Self can actually help you determine the actions that you take in the here and now. But at the core, the word that I want you to hold on to is action. Your Future Self can be such a powerful tool to give you direction, focus, and motivation to achieve your author goals or any goals in your life. If… you’re willing to take action. There is no sitting on the sidelines, my friends, if you want that dream author career.

And your Future Self is always going to be egging you on to greater heights. So make sure you do dream big. Don’t limit yourself. Because with the decide to dream big or small, you’re still going to have to probably put in a decent amount of effort, and discipline, and energy to make your goal happen, right? But what I think sometimes people misunderstand, is that a larger goal doesn’t necessarily take more energy than a smaller goal. It’s all about our perception. If we’re going to put in the work anyway, why not go big?

And so this is where I’m going to, again, just go just a little bit woo woo with you. But if you are familiar with the law of attraction, then you’ll be familiar with the fact that our minds aren’t great at discerning between reality, and what we think and what we believe. I think we’ve probably all heard stories about the power of belief, right?

You know, people who grew up believing for one reason or another, that they can’t do something, and so then they find all the evidence in the world to support them with that. And then other people who surprise us and surprise themselves, believing that they can actually do something, even against huge odds, and they make it happen. They find all the evidence in the world to prove them right.

The power of belief is also found in things like why placebos can be so effective. And why professional athletes use visualization as part of their professional training.

So there is definitely a power in our thoughts and our beliefs and where we put our attention. And that’s why it’s really important again, to get really clear on who our Future Self is, who we want our Future Self to be. Because in a sense they already exist. We’ve already created them. Our thoughts create our reality. And so if that’s the case, our goal then is really just to move from our Present Self to our Future Self. Fully knowing that our Future Self is already a done deal. They’re already out there living their best life. We just need to help those two realities the now and the future meet and catch up with each other. I mean, you are presently the past vision of your Future Self.

Mind blowing isn’t it?

The key then to harnessing the power of our Future Self is really easy in theory. You get clear on who your Future Self is, you believe whole heartedly in their inevitability, because, I mean, as long as you are living, there’s always going to be a Future You, right? And you have the power to script them however you desire. And then you just add in a little bit of high vibe inspired action based on what your Future Self would do, and voila, Present You becomes Future You, and you’re living your best life and you’re achieving success in what ever form that looks like for you, and you’ve done it!

But it is really important to keep taking that inspired action. To act as if. Ask, what would your higher self do, and make decisions based on that. Keep those vibes high so you don’t miss opportunities, and you get to enjoy the moment.

Your past, your present, your future, they’re always happening simultaneously. And you really do have the power and the ability to direct them as you please. So use your storytelling skills, change up your plot when you need to, make adjustments to your character arc, do all those cool things, and script your dream author career and your dream life.

You have a hundred percent got this. I mean, just ask your Future Self.

So I hope you enjoyed today’s episode and it’s inspired you to get clear on who you want to be and what you want, what you really want for your future author career. I’m always looking for ways to inspire you on your author journey. It’s really at the crux of what I want this podcast to do. But if you are looking for more tips to supercharge your author career, And if you haven’t already, make sure that you go and sign up to my newsletter and also download your free copy of Manifestation for Authors.

Links are always in the show notes, they’re really easy to find.

Now next week’s episode is going to be a bit of a fun change of tone from this one. And just to give you a little bit of a heads up, I get to chat to an amazing traditionally published author whose background as a special agent working for the Department of defense, and his passion for sports, led him to write this really intriguing nonfiction book called Spies on the Sidelines: The High Stakes World of NFL Espionage. And you don’t need to be a fan of sports to get a real kick out of this next episode. It’s really down to earth and the guest author, Kevin Bryant, offers so much wonderful practical advice to help you see your book’s published traditionally, if you desire, or even just to get your books publishable, even if you decide to go the indie route. The theme, based on his background and sports, is doing whatever it takes. And that’s what saw him through to be the author that he is today. So make sure that you subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss next week’s episode. And I would love, love, love if you could leave a review, if you could share with a friend, any of that cool stuff. It just helps me keep this awesome podcast alive. It helps me chat with some amazing, amazing people, and I really do have some very cool guests lined up for the next couple of months, so I look forward to sharing all that with you. But until next week, go embrace your Future Self and happy writing!