Creating a Future: Writing Your Unlived Story


reprinted with permission (Winter/Spring 2000)
Laurie Mattila, M.S.Ed., Career Counselor

If you’ve received this newsletter for awhile, you’ve seen a variety of people profiled in it. And I hope you’ve reflected on the process and possibility for change, both theirs and yours.

This seemed like the perfect time to invite you to think about the profile you’d like to be writing and creating for yourself in your own future. It’s often easier to think back on what has already occurred in life and to tell that portion of the story. However, to think about your unlived life, and the future story you’d like to live, is just as important. In your imagined future you are still free to incorporate changes that will make all the difference.

I’ll offer questions to guide you along, with the expectation they’ll prompt your own even better questions. Whether you try this in your imagination, in writing, or in conversation, read through the entire list first, listening for one or two questions that grab your attention. Hold those questions thoughtfully as you try to go beyond customary, automatic, safe responses. This is your life and your story, and you can create it, make it up, as you go.

  • How am I being drawn to explore new possibilities?
  • Is there an idea (or more than one) I keep putting on hold?
  • What is postponement costing me? personally, professionally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
  • What excuses am I too comfortable using? or secretly glad to have?
  • What am I waiting for? Who am I waiting for?
  • What are the names of all my fears and doubts?
  • What inner and outer resources are available to me?
  • What is the “right” decision for me? the “wrong” decision? the “impractical” decision? Says who?
  • How am I choosing to release my life energy in my world? What risks am I taking?
  • How delighted am I with my choices and my life? Overall and in detail.
  • What might I regret if it is no longer an option for me? Does it truly matter to me now?
  • What are the guiding forces that shape my life and my decisions, day by day?
  • What am I doing that brings me joy, simply in the doing? or the being?
  • What needs to continue? to begin? to end?
  • Who or what supports or celebrates my growth? Who or what undermines it?
  • What opportunities am I most thankful for? How am I living out my gratitude?
  • What calls for letting go? How am I responding?
  • How am I making the world a safer, healthier, more truthful, beautiful, thriving place?
  • What questions still need to be voiced or heard?
  • What needs permission? What needs blessing?