People have a propensity to concentrate most of their thoughts and energy into either the past, present, or future, with their preferred time realm a result of a complicated set of personal circumstances and experiences. Without having thought much about this concept and its implications, we tend to behave in ways that align with our preferred time perspective. The first BIG question we should ask ourselves: In what time dimension are the majority of my thoughts and conversations directed?
A disadvantage of focusing too much on the past is that it cannot be changed or rewritten. The past is valuable and should be honored for the learnings it provides and how it shapes our current wisdom. However, if not put in its proper perspective, the past can be like a thief who robs us of creating a future. Our future is still unscripted, full of limitless possibilities, and may only lack a destination and path to get there.
Those who primarily focus their thoughts and decisions in the present tend to react to their immediate circumstances. They may enjoy living in the present but be unsure of what tomorrow holds. Thinking of and seriously planning for the future can feel both thrilling and unsettling with a heaviness of responsibility. Because it seems so overwhelming, some shy away from this responsibility. They fail to realize that their future will be created from both decision and indecision. The second BIG question we should ask ourselves: What time realm am I committed to work in?
As a coach, I encourage my clients to dream big about their future—get a vision—one that has color and builds excitement. People need a clear vision, because the necessary ingredients of hard work and sacrifice to achieve that future do not come easy. It is unlikely that anyone would deny pleasure in the present for an undefined greater reward in the future. The third BIG question we should ask ourselves: What painful decision will I make today to have the reward of my dreamed tomorrow?
Regardless of our faith, most people would agree that life is a finite gift which comes with no instructions and plenty of responsibility. Whether we accept that responsibility or not, our decisions of today create our life of tomorrow. When we decide to focus more on our future, a coach can be a partner who helps us through that process.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including leadership, life purpose/plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281.793.3741.