I’ve been reading recently about an idea – primarily used in business – called futurecasting. In the world of technology and corporations, this is used like forecasting (predicting trends or challenges or revenue or expenses to come) but jumps ahead further. So if you might forecast your next year, you try to futurecast about 5 or 10 or even 20 years from now.
This term found me (as a lot of new-to-me ideas do) while I was listening to a podcast and… doing something else. Dishes or laundry or walking the dog or cooking dinner or something because those are my one-earbud-in podcast times.
How does futurecasting impact individuals? This means we think now about “much later” and use that to get another view on the stress we’re facing now.
For example, I’m currently spending some time worrying about a particular client. We’ve worked together in the past very successfully and I really like the CEO, but the last year or so has been lots of ghosting, unkept promises and frustration. Futurecasting encourages me to ask myself to skip over how this may be or feel for the next few months and instead decide “Five years from now, how much does this matter?” Similarly, how much will a hurtful interaction with a neighbor, a disappointment with a client, FOMO about a family event, or worry about a child’s attitude really impact life years from now?
The beauty of futurecasting is that – IF you decide that this will not have a years-down-the-road impact – you could choose to let it go NOW. Skip any more frustration, hurt, disappointment, anger or sadness by placing it NOW in the context you’ll have THEN.
The person being interviewed, a woman named Alua Arthur, is a Death Doula (sit with THAT for a minute). She helps individuals and families with the process of losing someone they love. Towards the end of the podcast the host asked how her work informs how she lives and she said she futurecasts far more of her current decisions than she used to do. And she doesn’t just go years into the future, she goes to her deathbed. She thinks “On my deathbed will this matter?” And if so, she puts her heart and soul into making it right in ways she can control. If she sees that it won’t even be a blip by then, she does her best to walk away from the struggle.
I don’t think that this is a full service philosophy. We have to evaluate our stressors through several lenses to know if the change we’re navigating is useful, or unavoidable or something we actually can step away from when it serves us. I do however, think this can be a useful question to ask.
By the way, on my deathbed I don’t expect I’ll give this client CEO a single solitary thought.
So I’m asking: What change are you navigating or stressor are you facing… and in a number of years, will it matter? Comment and tell me!
All my best,