• Sarah E. Brown

24-Hour Challenge: Be Your Future Self


Yesterday a client said that he often encourages women who feel intimidated or lack self-confidence to take on a new job or even a task by asking this question: “Do you think you could do this job for just 24 hours?” Most say that they could.

Breaking down something that looks formidable, like taking on a new challenge, often helps us to put it into perspective. Almost any of us could do something, even if we felt wildly unprepared, for 24 hours.

That got me to thinking about something two of my teachers and mentors always say:

Jack Canfield: “Act As If….” What Jack means is that, if you want to become the kind of person who is capable of achieving your dreams, you must act as if you already ARE that person.

Mary Morrisey: To achieve your dreams you must become the kind of person who achieves such dreams. So Mary is frequently asking the question, “How would someone who has realized that dream behave. What would that person do, say, think, and believe?”

So I put all of this together and thought, “what if I just became my future self for 24-hours!” For 24-hours, I am going to pretend that I am the person who has already achieved all that I dream for now. For 24 hours, I am going to ask myself the following questions in every situation I can possibly be aware of:

· How would my future self think about this situation?

· How would my future self act in this situation?

· What would my future self believe in this situation?

· How would my future self feel in this situation?

So I tried this for 24 hours. I used a Hebrew day from Sunset to Sunset. Here are some of the situations that I encountered and the results of my test:

1. Networking event. This occurred in the first few hours of my 24-hour challenge. I had originally planned to drive into Philadelphia from Wilmington, DE to attend a networking event of female entrepreneurs. About sunset of that first day, it was time to leave home. I was tired and did not want to drive 1 hour into Philadelphia, pay $20 to park the car, walk around meeting new people for 2 hours, and then drive 1 hour home. My first inclination was to skip it. So I asked myself, what would my future self do in this situation. My future self would be focused on how I could help others, particularly female entrepreneurs. She would believe that she had something to offer even if only in a 5-minute conversation. She would feel energized by the prospect. She would GO. And I did go with that attitude. How can I help someone? I wound up having a good time.

2. Taking out the trash and finishing the laundry. When I got home from that event, I had to take the trash out for pick up the next morning and fold the laundry. These are not tasks I typically enjoy, and I have been known to procrastinate on both. So I asked myself how my future self might approach these tasks. My first thought is that my future self would hire someone to do these, but then I thought again. Not these 2 things. I might (and do hire) house cleaning and home repair, but unlikely it is ever going to include taking out the trash or folding laundry. I could hear Mary Morrissey saying, “even the rich and famous wash a few dishes and they at least brush their teeth.” So how would MY future self approach these 2 tasks? And the answer, “with incredible gratitude.” So I did both with attention and gratitude that I lived in a place where trash was not lying around on the streets and where I had sufficient clothes to even wash. The tasks were no so onerous and, frankly, it took very little time.

3. Asking for business or a referral. I had a call with a prospective client the next morning. It is immediately obvious when looking at my Book of You® that I do not like nor am I good at selling. This was a sales call, pure and simple. How would my future self approach this? My future self would focus on how proud I am of what I have developed and how exited I am about sharing it. That is what I would believe and feel. I would consciously think about how I could help others, including the individual I was talking with. So I spoke with enthusiasm, and I listened for how I might help. In the end, I suggested a pilot which was accepted. No selling involved. I was just enthusiastic about helping where help was wanted and excited about what I had to offer.

4. Going to the orthodontist. I have a spine issue that has generated a bite issue that is requiring braces to correct. My old self is feeling very resentful that I even have to deal with this. But my future self would view this as just something I need to accept. I could even be grateful that I live in a place where there are tools and techniques to correct issues like this. So I went to the appointment with gratitude for the professionals who have invested to learn how to provide this service. It was a very quick appointment.

5. Walking the dog. I do this several times a day every day, and I generally love it. Having a dog is a great joy in my life. I loved this particular walk even more because I focused on how much of a dream this has been for me and how real it is now. I could was so aware of the joy and gratitude I felt.

It was a pretty powerful experience, so I think I will try it again tomorrow. I challenge you to give it a try as well. Then let me know what happened. It is only 24 hours. Just practice being your future self.

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Sarah E. Brown 2019