On a recent series of plane trips, I watched the six-part documentary miniseries, "Year Million." The title alone piqued my interest -- Futuristic is second among my Signature Themes. And the series itself -- which was not about literally the year 1 million but about imagining the changes awaiting humankind in the deep future -- well, let's just say it was more than satisfying! Futuristic loves to dream about, imagine, explore and visualize the future. Sometimes it's the deep future -- the 100-year view and beyond. At other times it's the more immediate future -- next year, or in five years or 10 years. But it's a constant consideration of what may be, what can be and what will be.
Those with strong Futuristic talents can also inspire others with their vision of what can be, creating hope and optimism in even the most challenging of circumstances. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is a case in point. His dream was grounded in the reality of the horrors of segregation, brutality and prejudice. But he painted a picture of a different world, an attainable world that inspired his hearers to persevere through the darkest times and strive for a vision of a more perfect Union. Futuristic dreams and imagines -- but it also inspires and motivates.
Futuristic: Helps and Hinders
When you coach those with Futuristic in their Top 5, helping them claim both the "helps" and the "hinders" of the theme is critical to productive aiming. Some common helps and hinders of Futuristic include:
- You tend to see the future in great detail and are likely able to vividly describe that future. As such, by sharing your vision, you can inspire others to achieve things they never thought possible.
- By asking questions like "What if …?" or "Wouldn't it be great if …?" you keep yourself and your team moving forward.
- Your Futuristic talents can be a source of hope and optimism -- for yourself and for others. You look ahead to what you and others can become, not wanting to waste time rehashing the mistakes of the past. You learn from the past, of course, but you don't let it inhibit future possibilities.
- Because you are focused on the future, others might see you as a sounding board or a source of advice. You can help others not only visualize their dreams but see a way toward accomplishing them.
- You can tend to be so focused on tomorrow that you miss the beauty, wonder and opportunities of today. Be intentional about savoring today -- it will provide fuel for your future dreams.
- You can tend not to be fully present to the people who are with you -- jumping ahead, anticipating what they are going to say, thinking about the next appointment on your agenda. This can lead others to feel you don't fully value or appreciate them. To mitigate this, try to determine which of your other themes allow you to be present, and leverage those themes when being present is the most important gift you can give someone.
- If your team is getting ready to deliver a critical milestone, you could derail their progress by jumping in with, "Hey, you know what would be great if we could do it next year?" Your team won't appreciate your timing.
- The energy and satisfaction you derive from thinking about the future may lead others to perceive you as an impractical, unrealistic dreamer. Help others see not just the end result but a path to get there.
Futuristic: Self-Awareness, Self-Expression, Self-Regulation
In order to productively aim Futuristic -- or any -- talents at a particular goal, an individual must have: 1) self-awareness about the theme's power, edge and vulnerabilities; 2) an understanding of how the theme finds expression in day-to-day thinking, feeling and behaving; and 3) knowledge of how to regulate the theme to maximize the potential positive outcomes that can be realized through intentionally applying a strengths-based approach. Coaches can help clients with strong Futuristic talents by exploring the following:
- The Power and Edge of Futuristic: Those with Futuristic among their Signature Themes can see the possibilities, are inspired by their vision and can inspire others by what they see. They can leverage their talents to provide hope and inspire change.
- The Vulnerabilities of Futuristic: With their eyes constantly scanning the horizon, those with strong Futuristic talents can miss the opportunities of today -- and might avoid addressing present problems, hoping they will just "go away."
Coaches can assist clients in realizing and claiming the expression of Futuristic by helping them explore instances in the past when this theme has been particularly useful. To facilitate this exploration, coaches can ask the following questions:
- What makes a great day for you?
- As you envision your preferred future, what actions have you taken to start bringing that vision to fruition?
- What has been your greatest success -- at work or in your personal life? How did your Futuristic talents contribute to that success?
- When have you recently helped someone visualize their future? How did you inspire them to take action?
Self-Regulation occurs when individuals know which of their talents to use in particular situations, or know which talents to combine to either amplify or accelerate a specific talent, or to soften or moderate that talent. For example, sometimes those with strong Futuristic talents can get so wrapped up in future possibilities that they miss important deadlines or fail to complete today's tasks. In situations like this, a coach can help the client find other talents that might yield better results. Also, coaches can help clients explore different theme combinations. Below are some possible combinations that will either amplify or moderate Futuristic:
- Themes that tend to amplify Futuristic: Positivity, Intellection, Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Learner
- Themes that tend to moderate Futuristic: Strategic, Achiever, Arranger, Discipline, Responsibility, Activator
Futuristic: Five Powerful Questions for Productive Aiming
- What are you most proud of in your life? How can you do more of what makes you proud?
- What difference would you like to make in your workplace? How can you help create a future in which you can make that contribution? What plans are you putting into action now?
- If you could solve one of the world's biggest problems, what would it be? What would the world look like if this problem was solved? What will you do to begin to make it happen?
- What do you want your life to look like in 10 years? In 20 years? What plans have you put in place to make that happen?
- Who are the people in your life who need encouragement? How can you encourage them to move toward a more positive version of their future?