Have you ever found yourself getting stuck because of uncertainty about the future? The fact that we can’t know what’s coming down the pike creates a void that our minds often fill with fear. How many times have you predicted the worst case scenario--either knowingly or subconsciously--only to discover that what actually happened was nowhere near that?
There’s a great quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery that might help you put a different spin on that uncertainty. He wrote, "As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it."
I love the idea of enabling the future rather than foreseeing it. I see so many people get themselves wrapped around the axle and stuck because they can't say with certainty what the future will bring. They want guaranteed direct cause and effect: "If I do this, then X will happen."
Comfortable as that would be, the world doesn't work that way. It’s impossible to predict with any certainty what the future has in store. But enabling the future? That we can do.
Think of enabling the future as taking steps to open doors. If you don't open the door, the potential future beyond it is closed off to you. You don't necessarily know what's behind the door you open--it could be another step to take or it could be the grand prize--but if you don't open it, that potential future will never come.
A first step in enabling that future might be as simple as committing to it. For example, take someone who feels stuck in a career that drains his or her energy. Maybe the first step is simply looking up from the rut and saying, "I want something new for my life. I want work that is vibrant, meaningful, and fun, and I intend to make that change." Saying "This is what I want and this is what I'm aiming for," opens a door, setting the wheels in motion.
Another future enabling step might be doing the internal work in order to recognize the right path to begin with. Or you might start enabling the future by enlisting the support of your family, friends, and colleagues. They can share the dream and bring it out into the light. Nobody does it alone. Everybody needs support of some kind along the way (emotional support, knowledge, connections, etc).
[See more job advice at U.S. News Careers.]
I could come up with a nearly endless litany of ways to enable the future, but ultimately it boils down to this: start taking steps and opening doors. It's the steps you take today that enable the tomorrow you’re looking for.
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book, 101 Ways to Get Wild About, and his E-book, The Occupational Adventure Guide, offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.