When I was dating my husband, who is a financially conservative guy, I used to come up with all these extravagant vacation ideas. One time I said, “Let’s go spend a week in Maine in August at a brand-new home on a lake!” I believed I deserved it because it felt like I was working practically 24×7 growing my business. The truth is, I couldn’t really afford it. But that never stopped me.
One night while we were there, I said to him, “I hope you’re not dating me because of my money.” I cringe when I tell this story because my opinion of myself was so inflated. I was full of self-importance as an entrepreneur whose business was making multiple seven figures in revenue, while he was “just” a physician.
Completely unfazed, he laughed and said, “You don’t have any money.”
I FLIPPED OUT. Unknowingly he had put into words my worst fear. His statement triggered all my insecurity and doubt about money – and my own worth. So of course, I was furious and reacted with, “How dare you,” and lots of other things I’m too embarrassed to mention here. I remember saying through clenched teeth that I was investing all my money back into the business to grow it.
It was not my finest moment. But thankfully, we moved past this difference of opinion and are now happily married. The best part is, now I’m completely secure because I turned my business into an asset and learned how to create the future.
Creating the future is not always easy, but it’s worth it.
In 2009, seemingly out of nowhere, a major economic crisis threatened everything I had built. Without warning, the bank froze my line of credit, clients stopped paying their invoices or terminated contracts, and prospects canceled meetings. My business ground to a halt with no end in sight – and I felt panicked. Everyone business owner I knew was in the same situation.
Yes, it was true I had reinvested almost all my money back into my business. This always seemed to be the wisest investment I could ever make. After all, I had a lot more control over my business than the stock market! But what I did not do is create a reserve. I didn’t have six months of runway. I had to move the business into my home temporarily and lay off most of my staff. I felt like a failure.
It turns out my husband was right – I didn’t really have much CASH. But what I did have was an ASSET – my business. And I wasn’t going to lose it. I didn’t spend over a decade to create it only to shut it down and I definitely didn’t want to work for anyone else.
This is when I realized that we create our future in our mind first. The economic situation was a circumstance I couldn’t control. But I did have control over my thoughts about what it meant to me. I could wallow in feelings of inadequacy, doubt, and anxiety, which would only result in remaining stuck or worse, going out of business. OR I could meet the situation head-on with the same energy, focus, and determination that I used to create my first 10 years of success. The difference started with my thoughts.
I decided to create a new future.
It wasn’t easy but I completely changed my business model from a technical consulting practice to a solutions business. I turned services into solutions that I marketed as products. I started charging in advance and generating recurring revenue.
This was not only more scalable for me, but it added more value to our customers and helped them succeed too.
Right now you have the two most important things you need to create a new future: your mind and time. You CAN use both of them to make your business and your future stronger.
How to create the future now.
You create the future by the thoughts you think and the feelings you generate in the present moment. Because the present is all that exists; the future will be the present when it arrives. This means the thoughts and feelings you have now are creating your future because they drive your action in the present.
Instead of trying to move forward from where you are to a goal in the future, visualize yourself in the future now and consider the things your future self did to arrive there.
Make “movies in your mind” of the future you’re creating. See, hear, and feel yourself in the scenarios you want to create. There is no difference between imagining the future and remembering the past. They both only exist in your mind.
Once you accept that you create the future now, with your current thoughts, and that you can create anything you want (including a business that takes care of you), you’ll see that you never really have a lack of clarity about the future. You simply have a lack of clarity about what you want. And figuring that out is the most fun of all once you realize that anything is possible.