Recently, our friend Jordan took me for a sail on his new boat. He’s only had the boat for a short time and aside from 4 days of sailing school and a few trips before our journey, he didn’t have a lot of experience with sailing yet.
Near the end of our afternoon of sailing, he mentioned that he was really nervous about docking and was really glad to have two more people on board to help with bringing the boat into her slip. He then shared a funny story that was only funny because the
I wasn’t very concerned because I have been on boats most of my life and I knew with 3 people we would be fine bringing in this small boat. And I trust that Jordan paid attention in sailing school! He flies airplanes for a living, so I felt pretty safe with him as captain of this little vessel.
Then he did something that caught my attention. As we got near the marina, he forecasted aloud that the docking was going to go smoothly and there would be no issues. I wondered to myself if he was aware of what he was doing.
After we had a perfectly smooth, rather elegant, docking, and we had tied up, Jordan let out a sigh of relief and shared he had been very nervous about the docking. He used more colourful language than I will share here. I told him I was surprised because I had noticed that he forecasted and so I hadn’t been at all worried. Granted it’s not my boat and if we botched the landing and broke the boat or the dock, it wouldn’t be my problem. But I am not without empathy. And still I wasn’t concerned because I had confidence in his story that all was going to go smoothly. And it seems so did he.
When I explained why I had been confident and what I noticed him do by telling the story of how things would go, he shared that he actually does that all the time, especially when he is flying (which made me very glad since he flies for one of the biggest commercial airlines in Canada).
This kind of forecasting is especially useful when flying planes and docking sailboats, but you can use it anywhere in your life. When you tell yourself a story about how things will be, your brain will find a way to make that true.
One of the things I tell my clients most often is “successful people tell themselves stories about how things will go”. This is a concept I learned from the research Charles Duhigg shares in his book Smarter, Faster, Better.
Perhaps you are wondering how this is different than setting intentions. In fact it’s not entirely different. What I like about the idea of story telling vs setting intentions is the level of detail required. The more details we give ourselves, the more effective the process is and the more likely we are to get the desired results because our brains want to create the outcome consistent with the story we tell ourselves. (Warning this works in reverse too. If you tell yourself things never work out for you, your brain will make that true.)
If you want to learn more about this phenomenal power you have right there inside your head, read Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg (author of The Power of Habit).
In the meantime, your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to tell yourself a story about your life 3 years from now.
Go to FutureMe.org and begin with the words “Dear Future Me . . .”
Describe the amazing career/business you have. Explain in detail what your day is like from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.
Describe the amazing relationships you have.
Describe how you are more true to yourself than you have ever been.
Describe how you do more of what makes you happy than you have ever done.
Describe the incredible health you are experiencing and everything you do to be healthier than you have ever been.
When you are done writing your letter, choose the date 3 months from the day you are writing for the letter to be delivered to you.
This message will not self destruct, so you can relax.
In support of your success, happiness and impact.