A part of the Radical Humans Series
Growth, change, and personal development require a peculiar duality or catch-22 to be most effective. This is the simultaneous existence of the acceptance of who you are and where you are today, with the existence of a desire to change and become something new and different. The more that we can hold both of these versions of ourselves at the same time, the more relaxed and flowing our journey of growth can become. If we resist where we are and try to run towards what we think we “should” be, we’ll take two steps forward and two steps back, and be continually stuck in a loop of non-acceptance. But when we can accept ourselves as we are without judgment, we enable ourselves to grow and change authentically.
In the process of creating the vision for that new and different way of being, the person you’re growing into, my all time favorite exercise is the “Holy Shit Phone Call” something I picked up from Rich Litvin.
Typically, the exercise is done with one person acting as coach and another as client. This could be a friend who’s good at listening without injecting their opinion if you’re not working with a coach at the moment.
It’s quite simple, here are the rules:
To start, you imagine that we’ve fast forwarded in time to a future state, typically a year from today, and we’re now catching up having been out of touch for the duration of that year.
The call customarily starts with you saying “holy shit Max! The past year has been incredible…”
You then proceed to detail all of the amazing shifts and changes and experiences that you’ve created in that year, using present tense to describe how things are and past tense to describe everything that’s happened. Meaning you speak as if we truly were in the future.
This is a great practice for two primary reasons: one, it starts to normalize the way you want things to be as already existing. And two, it will very quickly illuminate where there is resistance and fear that has until now prevented you from actually making these things real.
“This past year has been so incredible. I did so many things that I had been dreaming of. And right now I’m living exactly the life I always used to wish for.”
Beyond the two benefits I mention above, one of the really powerful aspects of this practice is that you step into the feeling state that the future you embodies. The truth is that this future version of you already exists today as a seed within you. Perhaps it’s not a full grown tree, but it exists and is ready to grow. The way to make it grow is to practice feeling the way you want to feel in the future, now. If you find that you get perpetually blocked when you try to do this, then it’s time to find some beliefs to clear.
After fully detailing your goals and dreams for the future, it’s time to identify some action steps. The final question to pose to yourself while you’re still imagining you’re in the future is “and what was it that you changed, back then a year ago, that made all the difference in getting here?” Another great version of this question is “what was the insight you had, a year ago, that really helped you make a shift?”
We have all the wisdom we need within us. We just usually get caught up in our minds and conditioning when we try to access it directly. When we get clever, and circumvent this conditioning by imagining we’re already in the future, we can access our higher wisdom now.
Which is why it’s so important to act as if you’re already in the future. Because if you don’t, the trap you’re liable to fall into is the “realistic thinking” trap. Whereby you’ll give all the reasons for why it can’t work, or why you’re blocked, or what’s impossible about it. This doesn’t help you because it doesn’t get you into the peak feeling state, and it doesn’t illuminate a path forward. It just keeps you stuck in your comfort zone.
You can do this practice on your own, or even better with a friend or your coach. You might be surprised by the simple and powerful insights you already have within you that are just waiting to be discovered. It's a great life, go in and get it :)