You’re a high achiever. Perhaps you’re a business owner, a CEO or C-Suite leader, a rising star. Your “default future” is probably good — great, even.
But if we start to dream and imagine a “preferred future” that’s even more impactful, your eyes will start to gleam and a new world of possibility will open up.
I’ve seen this repeatedly this week as I’ve been onboarding the members of our Impact Accelerator programme. And once we’ve described their vision, one of the things I help each person get clear about is their “stretch”.
I get curious: what shift in them will be needed to move from their current trajectory (towards their default future) and onto the path to their preferred future?
More specifically, I ask: who do you need to become?
As we explore this question, we start to articulate this in the form of a transition… a “from… to…” formula that speaks to their very identity as a leader, their very way of showing up in their professional life. We find two labels, two identities.
The first (the “from”) describes your current way of being. It’s your professional identity and positioning, and describes how you go about creating value right now. For example, a “charismatic evangelist” or a “clever analyst” or a “visionary genius”.
The second label (the “to”) describes who you want to be in the next season. You can still keep the first label, but it becomes more of a tool that you can draw upon when necessary, and less your go-to way of being. The second label tends to be a more impactful identity - and it challenges and broadens the first in some way. For example, if you are currently “an expert do-er” you might evolve towards “a strategic thinker” or “an empowering manager”.
Together, these two labels capture the key transition ahead for you.
- “From safe pair of hands to inspiring communicator.”
- “From experienced problem-solver to catalyst for change.”
- “From functional manager to cross-functional business leader.”
- “From empathic friend to empowering leader.”
- “From operational manager to strategic visionary.”
- “From strong all-rounder to industry thought-leader.”
- From nationally-focused expert" to globally-focused strategist.”
Now… I want to know your labels! What’s the shift that will take you from your default to your preferred future?
What’s the #1 shift in your own leadership that you’re looking to achieve in the next year?