Why you should stop trying to predict the future

by | Jul 27, 2020 | Blogs

I remember many years ago, I was attending a Tony Robbins seminar and at the time, he likened Entrepreneurship & Leadership to being a gladiator.

As I reflect on this extraordinary statement, it rings even more true today that there are so many hidden traps, obstacles, failures, rejections, setbacks and challenges you have overcome and probably will need to again overcome in your business on the pathway to your vision and creating the success and high impact you really want.

As a London Business and High Performance Coach, I often find that many of my clients have a tendency to take on far more than they should or need to both physically, mentally and emotionally which as a result, really weighs them down while running their business and/or handling the pressures of their role. Does this resonate with you?

Something in particular I find that poses a real obstacle, is how much we without knowing, find ourselves, getting caught up in predicting the future…and often our own future in a way that really holds back our growth, success and creativity.

What do I mean by our own future?

I’ve spoken to countless Entrepreneurs over the last few years who have often told me.

“Oh I could do this but I don’t think it will work”

“I could try this but it didn’t work the first time so it’ll flop again.”

“I could do X but what if I fail”

“What if I look ridiculous and mess it all up”

At times, concerning yourself with the outcome really does feel like the only place to be and operate from, because you are so worried/concerned about making everything work, achieving objectives, delivering against deadlines and for customers and at the same time, handling so many tasks that fit on an ever increasing to-do list.

Already this sounds quite heavy and if you think so, imagine the impact of running your business from this same headspace.

I think here it would be really useful to draw a distinction between:

Navigation V.S. Worry

Navigation is using the data, information, common sense and everything else we have now to make informed choices and decisions about what to do next. This could also be described as being creative or a problem solver and we all have a capacity to do this as challenges inevitably arise.

Worry is artificially concerning yourself about what you think could go wrong in your business and creating a number of problematic scenarios in your mind about what you think is to come… which is also entirely made up by us.

Navigation is extremely useful and something we experience when we are more responsive to life/business and situations as they are unfolding.

Worry on the other hand we think is useful but is actually damaging to our creativity, problem solving skills and a real handcuff on our potential and ability to navigate from where we are right now.

At this point, I’m reminded of the story about a famous lecturer who was giving a guest speech at a university and he was once asked by his students, how he achieves everything he does and manages so well with such a busy schedule that seems exhaustively jam packed through the week.

The lecturer responded, “I simply do what is before me’. I eat breakfast, head to the airport and do one thing after another after another. Life is nothing more than a series of present moments and rather than feeling stressed and anxious about my schedule and what is to come, I’d prefer to just do what is on my schedule one task at a time.

The more you think about what you’re doing than simply doing it, the more urgent your schedule feels”

I found these words extremely powerful because how often do we end up exhausting ourselves through what we think we need to do, all the things to come and what if the things to come fail, flop and don’t work out?

It really is exhausting and we forget that in the process of doing this, our success doesn’t come from what is before us but from where we are right now.

Whether you are a tennis player, footballer, entrepreneur, chef, actor….we can only play the game of life one shot, one meeting, one dinner service, one movie at a time and where we are most effective is when we throw ourselves fully in to what is a hand and respond to our work/life in real time.

Another example I use with my clients is that, a surfer can’t ever surf the waves to come in his mind but only the waves in front of him.

Coming back to Navigation, here is the thing, when we are responding to what is happening in real time, navigating becomes even easier and something we do by default and a by product of real time responsiveness.

I explore this approach more strategically in one of my earlier blogs here 

So what does this mean now? There will be times that you feel stressed, pressure and overwhelmed about what you are working on and what is to come. You might feel weighed under by the ever increasing ‘To Do Lists’ or by the busy-ness of your calendar and what looks like one busy and crammed week ahead. When you do:

1. Give yourself a chance to slow down, take a walk, switch off from things for the moment

2. Allow yourself time to feel clearer and ease your thinking by taking a step back and letting go of everything you feel you need to do and accomplish today. At least for 20-30 minutes.

3. Review the current situation and work with what now makes the most sense to you one day and one step at a time.

By doing this, you will feel so much clearer, calmer and as a result much more creative, focused and really allowing your mind to perform at it’s very best which is what we are designed to do (before we get in our own way and overwhelm and unfocus ourselves).

P.S. I’d love to find out what insights you took from the blog and if I can support you in any way with your business/career goals and vision this year, please do send me an email at [email protected] or through my website contact form and I will be in touch with you.

If you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can find me here and please do introduce yourself