How to protect future you

If not right now, then never.

If you can’t imagine having lunch with that person right now, don’t schedule it for later.

If you wouldn’t want to attend that meeting this afternoon, forget about scheduling it for next week.

If the event will bore you to tears today, it will also bore you to tears in a few months.

If you don’t want to now, you won’t want to later.

I am the worst at this. I’m too fast to agree to a future event because I believe that future me will be alright with it. I make promises for future me that present me would pass on.

Why do I insist on abusing future me?!? Because I love saving emotional labor in the moment. Saying no is too emotionally taxing. And some people are rugged emotional tax collectors. The punishment is stiff!

So, I have been trying (trying!) something new. Instead of a flat-out no, I have been trying to come up with something in between that feels better. “Can’t do coffee, how about a quick phone call?” Or, “I can’t make that meeting, can I catch up with you afterward?”

You might not be able to say no, but you can always negotiate the terms. It’s still emotionally taxing, but less so.

Protect future you! Future you will be grateful. #leadership

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on December 3, 2019

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