Since leaving NASA in 1981, I have spent considerable time trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up … if I ever do. During those periods of reflection, my mission, both personal and professional, became “helping people create better tomorrows.” Once I settled on that, I had to determine what steps must be taken to accomplish that mission. After further reflection, I decided that the following three steps are the most important:
Step 1 – Recall and Honor Our Yesterdays
Tell our story about the journey we traveled to get to this point in our lives. We rarely reflect on our journey in positive and affirming ways. We don’t often focus on how our journeys have shaped the persons we have become. This step helps us find in our stories reasons to respect ourselves and look for reasons to respect others.
Respecting others means that we acknowledge their intrinsic value and act accordingly. We treat them as if they matter, because they all do, regardless of their circumstances. We must listen to their stories as learners, not judges. This will help us discover their “gems of inestimable value” and see them as worthy of our respect.
Step 2 – Reveal and Understand Our Today
Acknowledge our current reality. It is difficult to identify and explore options for our tomorrows if we don’t know what is happening to us today. If we design and execute this step properly, we will reveal both the “what” and “why” of our current reality. The primary tool I use during this step is the JPEAssessment™. The results focus and facilitate our conversations about the key opportunities and challenges we face.
Knowing the “what” and “why” of our today helps us imagine possibilities for our tomorrows. This also helps us identify and explore options for steps that will move us in the direction of our envisioned future. The more clearly we “see” our options for the future, the higher the likelihood we will choose desirable tomorrows. It is in our best interests to complete this step successfully. This will help us evaluate the most likely consequences of each of our options and choose the one that is likely to be the most attractive.
Step 3 – Believe In and Get Excited About the Promise of Our Tomorrows
Once we start to believe in the promise and acquire the tools we need to realize that promise, we are eager to do the work. We will strive to meet our expectations, which usually are more challenging and have greater influence on our behavior than others’ expectations. When this happens, we likely will be motivated by our own aspirations to succeed at creating better tomorrows.
• What is the most precious “gem of inestimable value” in the story about your journey?
• So what has been that “gem’s” impact on your life and the person you are today?
• Now what will you do to ensure that you realize the promise of your tomorrows?