If you had to pick one thing in your life,
that you could do better,
what would it be?
That is the first question in a process called Future Authoring.
The purpose of Future Authoring is to create your life story; the story of your ideal future. The idea behind it is that we all live a story, but most of us don’t know what our story is, and we should know our story because it might be heading to a tragedy of some sort. Like wasting the precious time of retirement!
Another angle on this is that we fall into our story; or, we inherit our story. We just accept the story handed to us. And, the tragedy may be that it’s not satisfying because it’s not ours. The possibility is to own it and author our life story; specifically and in writing.
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that people who take charge of their story and actually author it, write it out in some detail, accomplish more of what they want in life.
We all know about having goals and aims in life.
It doesn’t stop with retirement. In fact, the urgency may be even greater now. But viewing your life from the perspective of a story is different. Goals are within a story.
Your story contains who you are and who you want to become. It includes where you’ve been; where you are now; where you want to go; the challenges that you face; and how you are going to overcome those challenges to get to the next page and the next chapter in your story.
As the saying goes, “It’s about the process, not the end result”. It’s the process we live in at the present moment. But it is useful to know where the present moment fits in your ‘story arc’. (See addendum)
I started Future Authoring a couple of years ago. I go back to it periodically to review it and make revisions.
This morning I decided to change my answer.
I had written months ago that the thing I could do better was, to take care of my health. My rationale was that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything! So health was my top priority.
But today it occurred to me that there is a higher and better priority; to do a better job of managing my story. It came clear to me this morning, unexpectedly I might add, that my story contains everything in my life, including my health. Therefore, it should be my top priority; it is the driver!
One of the cool things about this process is no one watching.
There’s no one to please. There’s just what’s right for you. There’s just you and your story and how it unfolds. AND, you can change it!
But there is a catch…you have to be honest with yourself. That’s where the crunch comes…the drama you might say. Will you face it or will you avoid it?
When I first wrote my story I didn’t like parts of it. I wanted it to be deep, rich and fascinating, but instead, parts of it were thin, boring and empty. Some parts were full and fun and I was pleased with them. There were yet other parts that were too easy.
I knew they were easy because they were stock answers. Answers that I’d read or heard somewhere. They might have been OK answers but, I didn’t really own them. Nevertheless, I’d write them in as place holders. I would improve them later, I thought.
Do it Badly.
One of the instructions at the beginning of Future Authoring is “do it badly”. In other words, do something. Get started. It is easier to fix something that’s been started than to write the first draft. So, you have to get over needing it to be perfect the first time. It may be a long way from perfect!
Like those empty parts. I knew that they reflected emptiness in me. Or my inability to express what I wanted in a way I liked. I felt like looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was watching. Sometimes I’ve been able to go back and make them better, sometimes not. They just stay there looking empty.
I also notice as life unfolds, each little painful experience can lead to seeing the truth and finding an answer.
It’s like a puzzle. You struggle with it. Then you set it aside. Later you come back to it and boom there’s the answer. It’s the creative process.
Your story, your masterpiece, is a lifetime project.
Call to action: Soo…If you had to pick one thing that you could do better, what would it be?
Future Authoring link: https://www.selfauthoring.com/future-authoring
A ‘story arc’ is made up of three points:
A Goal: Every protagonist needs to have a goal; something they are going after.
We will soon see that their journey will be hindered by…
A Lie: A deeply-rooted misconception they have about themselves, that keeps them from reaching their goal. In order to reach their goal, they’ll need to acknowledge and overcome the Lie, by facing…
The Truth: While our hero may have their own plans, the ‘story arc’ has it’s own goal: growth. This is achieved when they learn to reject The Lie and embrace The Truth.
Ain’t it fun!
Note: Raymonde and I are heading to Berkley in the morning for a five-day Enneagram training with Tom Condon. He’s been in the game for about 25 years. I’m looking forward to his take. Hope to come back with all sorts of goodies to share. Back in two weeks.