Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter. Every two weeks I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.
Are you living into a Default or Created Future?
Most people are living into a default future and they don’t even realise it.
If you take the current trajectory of your life and extrapolate a few years, you can pretty much guess where you would be in 3, 5 or 10 years. A bigger house, a better job, a more luxurious car, a particular promotion or a title, and every one a few years older and wiser. The details might vary a little, but you can pretty much predict your future. This is called a “default” future, and it is totally dependent on your present reality (skills, conditions, resources).
On the other hand is a “created” future, where you literally dream and “create” a future that will best take care of what you care about. In this case, you do not start from what you have or what you think you can do and achieve. Instead, you start with a blank canvas and then paint a future that would make you completely alive, satisfied, and joyful. This is called a created future, and it is totally independent of your present reality (skills, conditions, resources).
Most of our actions and results are often determined by unconscious habits picked up in the past. For example – if you think you are introverted, you are more likely to choose engineering over acting or singing – even if you have always dreamt of becoming an actor or a singer. We plan and go after goals (and a future) that we think are “reasonable” considering what we think is possible or not. Even our dreams are filtered by our view of who we think we are, and what are our skills and capabilities.
Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
What unconscious habits are directing your life and creating a “default” future for you? Where have you picked up these habits or traits – from your parents, education, company, culture, or past experiences?
Are you living your life in a way that is not much different from what people used to do years or even decades ago? Are you doing something the same way that you did as a child even though you that was more than enough time away to learn or shift any behaviour? What are some such unconscious and unexamined patterns that are running your life and determine your reality?
What has been the cost of living this way? What dreams and possibilities are not possible for you because of these old and unexamined habits? Do you have a dream which has been “on hold”? Have you been waiting for the right time or conditions (enough money, skills, time) for starting on your big dream?
Does your “default” future work for you? Does it fill your life with meaning, joy, and satisfaction?
If yes, that is wonderful and you can continue on your journey.
However, if your default future does not work for you, then what are you going to do about that?
And what is at stake here? It is your future. So your life is at stake. Isn’t it?
Last year, I realised that my default future was not working for me. So below is the future I created –
“In 5-10 years, I will be coaching the most influential and biggest changemakers in the world. I will coach billionaires, entrepreneurs, CEOs, top political leaders, social activists, Olympic athletes, Nobel winning scientists, etc and support these people to amplify the impact they want to make in the world.”
It has been 1 year since I created this future, and I am already coaching amazing social entrepreneurs, VPs in tech unicorns, one leader at the UN, and one millionaire entrepreneur. Granted, I am not coaching a billionaire yet 😉 but my 2021 future has been amazing considering where I was a year ago.
When you create a future from scratch, you take bold actions which you have never taken before. And you start feeling fully alive – and start experiencing complete joy and satisfaction – even if there are struggles or challenges along the way. Over time, you realise all that you previously thought impossible or unfeasible or “not for me” was just that – a thought.
First, you create the future, then the future creates you.
What future are you creating?
As the above questions, my coaching conversations are often not comfortable but they can be magical and transformative. If the above piqued your curiosity, write to me with your vision of a created future. I read and respond to every reply.
Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me
Interviews with Lisa May, Antonio Potenza, and Katie Schwartz
As I shared in the last newsletter, I am interviewing leaders who have deployed themselves. I will share lessons from their leadership journeys in a separate mini-email in the gap week between each newsletter.
We all have a lot to learn from our stories of where we started, our successes and struggles, and important lessons learned on the way. These stories are often untold in the day to day busyness of life, and my attempt is to uncover that.
To read the interviews from leaders whom I have already interviewed, click below:
- Lisa May – “There’s a different way to lead and there’s a different way to serve!”
- Antonio Potenza – “Money has the power to be a force for good!”
- Katie Schwartz – “I want to be like Dale Carnegie for people with communication disorders!”
Understand why it is so easy to feel like a victim
In a polarized nation, victimhood is a badge of honor. It gives people strength. You only need to spend only a few minutes watching or reading the news, in any country, to hear and see victimhood raging.
The higher the TIV (Tendency toward Interpersonal Victimhood), the more you feel victimized in all of your interpersonal relations. So if you are in the middle of the scale, you might feel yourself as a victim in one relationship but not another, like with your boss, but not with your wife and friends. But the more you feel like the victim, the more you extend those feelings to all of your interpersonal relationships.
And then of course it can affect every aspect in your life. If you feel being victimized in your work, for example—we did a lot of experiments with the narratives of managers and workers—it means that you cannot let stand an offense by your boss, no matter how trivial.
If people learn about the four components of victimhood, and are conscious of these behaviors, they can better understand their intentions and motivations.
- The first pillar is a relentless need for one’s victimhood to be clearly and unequivocally acknowledged by both the offender and the society at large.
- The second is “moral elitism,” the conviction that the victim has the moral high ground, an “immaculate morality,” while “the other” is inherently immoral.
- The third pillar is a lack of empathy, especially an inability to see life from another perspective, with the result that the victim feels entitled to act selfishly in response.
- The fourth pillar is Rumination—a tendency to dwell on the details of an assault on self-esteem.
From an article on Nautilus about getting to the core of feeling like a victim
Why is walking so good for the brain (and for leadership)?
Going on a walk makes your mind wander in ways that neuroscience is only just coming to terms with. We may have heard by now how walking makes us feel good by releasing endorphins, lowers risk our of depression; increases cognitive functioning; strengthens memory; enhances creativity; and produces a protein essential for neuronal development and survival, synaptic plasticity, and cognitive function. It sounds great, but how are all these related?
A lot is happening to our bodies and brains on a walk, but one fascinating thing stands out. They are all related to an increase in what neuroscientists call “spontaneous cognitive fluctuations.” Researchers have also shown that our wandering bodies make our minds wander too. On a walk, our brain waves slow down. The underlying spontaneous fluctuations bubble up more easily, creating experiences of spontaneous thoughts and associations that seem to come from nowhere. We often call them “moments of inspiration.”
Reason is not the source of intelligence; it’s the product of it. Perhaps this is what those Greek philosophers understood and what we have forgotten. Recent studies on walking also show that walking with other people synchronizes their brain and bodily rhythms resulting in increased empathy, cooperation, and sharing. So walking may also be beneficial for everyone’s social and emotional education.
From an article titled Why is walking so good for the brain?
Are you Interested? or Are you Committed?
When we step into the world of commitment, we experience being calm, happy, at peace and confident, even in the face of harsh challenges. An interested person will get angry at an unexpected result, while a committed person will accept that fully, and take the next necessary action to stay committed to his goals without backing out.
A commitment is a promise you make to yourself (more than anybody else) and then there are no excuses, but only results that matter. For example, a mother has a commitment to her child, and she will even go hungry to feed her child. A mother doesn’t demand fairness from her son, she just loves her, for that is her commitment, irrespective of the situation or whatever obstacles life throws in front of her. As they say, any obstacle will have to go over her dead body.
Being committed gives us the freedom of doing our best, yet being completely fine with the final result not being what we expected. No effort is a failure just because it doesn’t result in an expected outcome. It is a success if we gave our best!
An article from my desk about the distinction between being interested and being committed.
That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,