Why Most Of Us Struggle To Think Long Term

  • by kaibizzen
  • Aug 12, 2020
  • Blog

Nod your head if you’ve been told before you need a written down vision for your life.

Nod your head again if you’ve actually done it.

Now, nod your head again if you read that vision every day, and have a plan for making that vision become reality.

Typically, when I ask these questions at team workshops I’m facilitating for our clients, by the third question, maybe one, never more than two people are nodding their heads (or raising their hands).

Why is that?

Why is it that so many of us know the fundamental process to achieving the life we want (write it down, visualise it daily, and make a plan to achieve it), but so few of us actually take the necessary actions?

Why do we procrastinate on, get too busy for, or simply ignore doing the one thing that has been proven time and time again to work?

After coaching business owners now for over 17 years, I think it comes down to just one core reason…

…In our heart-of-hearts, we don’t believe it’s possible for us to create the life we truly want.

We Feel Trapped By Our Present Circumstances

There is a universal quirk in human thinking which assumes how we are today is how it will always be. We have a tendency to see ourselves and our circumstances as constant and unchanging.

If you don’t believe me, think about how dramatically your thinking has shifted on something as minor as booking an international flight. Prior to our first round of lockdowns in March, would you have ever questioned booking an international flight months ahead of when you intended to fly? Sure, you probably took out travel insurance, just in case, but did you really think you’d not be getting on that flight? Likely not, otherwise, you wouldn’t have booked it in the first place.

Most business owners spend the majority of their time reacting to what’s happening in their business. Their days are so filled with putting out fires, managing their people and trying to get ahead, that they feel like they can’t take a step back, otherwise everything they’ve worked so hard to build will come crashing down.

Because they feel trapped by what’s happening in their business, they inevitably search ‘quick-fixes’ and ‘silver-bullets’.

Here are some of the ‘quick-fixes’ our clients tried before coming to us.

One sent their key people out of the office for 2 days for ‘leadership training’ only to notice that not even a month later, nothing from the course had been sustainably implemented.

Another invested more than $50,000 dollars on a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software, which promised to streamline their production process and give the owner a ‘dashboard’ from which they can operate their business remotely. Only a short time later it was completely abandoned when they realised it didn’t suit the workflow specific to their company.

Yet another invested thousands on a variety of personal development courses, leadership courses, and business masterminds. Whilst they always came back with a random collection of great ideas on how to improve their business, they struggled to implement them. With each failed new idea, their employees became less and less trusting of their ability to manage the business, and a culture of mistrust and apathy set in.

We’re Disconnected From Our Future Self

For the vast majority of our clients, our PPP Methodtm process is the first time in a long time they’ve seriously considered what lifestyle they truly want to live. For almost all of them, it’s certainly the first time they’ve written in down in such a way they can clearly visualise it. Unsurprisingly then, it’s also typically the first time they’ve created a plan which maps out how they’ll get from where they are to where they ultimately want to be.

When clients start with us, I’d guess over 95% of them feel completely disconnected from their future self. They see very little, if any, correlation between who they are now, and who they will be in the future. Hence they put off taking the sometimes hard and often uncomfortable actions they need to do now, in order to have what they want in the future.

For example, many business owners say that ‘someday’ they’d like to work less, but the actions they’re taking today simply won’t create that reality.

Here’s just a few examples of actions business owners take that keep them stuck in their current reality.

  • They refuse to delegate because letting go of control feels very uncomfortable.
  • They hire the wrong people for the wrong role at the wrong time because they’re ‘too busy’ to work out specifically what outcomes they need the new hire to achieve and then working those back to knowing what tasks need to be done and therefore what qualifications are required and what behavioural traits are best suited for the position.
  • The consistently don’t hold their employees accountable to targets or position descriptions.
  • They continue to do things in the business they’ve hired somebody else to do because it’s just ‘easier if I do it myself’.

I know you know that holding your people accountable, delegation, and effective leadership are critical to your business success. And yet…

And yet, time after time, you put off doing what you know you ‘should’ be doing.

You put it off, because you’re not actually invested in the outcome for your future self.

Connecting To Your Future Self

A quick straw poll of how connected our clients feel to their ‘Future Self’ yielded some interesting results.

All of the clients I spoke with rated their relationship with their ‘Future Self’ between 4 to 6 (on a scale of 1 to 7). The interesting comment was each of them said that had I asked them six months earlier (before they’d worked through their Life Priorities as part of our PPP Methodtm), they’d have rated their relationship at a 1 or a 2.

In our PPP Methodtm, we don’t just get our clients to write down what they ‘think’ they want in the future. Our unique process helps our clients uncover the life they truly want to lead – a life in accordance with their highest values. By building this future vision on the foundations of their highest values, they immediately feel more connected to this future version of themselves.

Then, to deepen their connection to their ‘Future Self’, each client is instructed to make reading their Life Story a daily habit. The more they read and connected with their vision for their future, the more they think about it, the more they talk about it, the more ‘real’ it becomes to them. The more ‘real’ it becomes, the more committed they become to doing whatever they have to do in order to achieve it.

To quote Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Your Life Story is your ‘Why’. The plan you make to achieve it becomes your ‘How’.

If you’re fed up with not getting the life you want for you and your family from your business, why not reach out? We’d love to support you as you create the life and business you deserve for you and your family.

02 Oct

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, 6:30pm Quest Cannon Hill

What does it take to actually remove yourself from the day-to-day grind of business? Learn from our panel of Business Owners who've Been There, Done That.



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