As elusive as the concept of future might be, it’s the motivation that guides our every action. It gives us the direction we need to live the life we truly want.

About 4 years ago, the only way I knew how to break the stalemate between redundancy and motherhood, was to take charge of my life. At that juncture, it was imperative for me to acknowledge that my future was my personal responsibility.

Accepting who I was

I’ve always lived up to expectations – parents, society, family. Even when I claimed to live up to my own expectations, I failed to see that those expectations had been shaped by what I believed I had to achieve, either to show others (i.e., prove a point) or others would have me do. And amidst this, I longed to change my life. The interesting fact was that wanting to make a change wasn’t difficult; it was difficult to believe I could! Sometimes the pictures that I painted in my mind about the change made it seem unattainable.

Accepting myself as I was, within my reality was a matter of perspective. When I took responsibility to take charge life and change the way I saw myself, the world followed suit.

Putting myself out there

Often, no matter how much I wanted something – an opportunity, promotion, or increment, I would overthink and talk myself out of taking a chance. Instead I believed in waiting for things to happen, I hoped and prayed. And when it didn’t happen, I felt let down and blamed the world. Simultaneously, I never looked at the ‘chances’ that life provided, as building blocks towards reaching my final goal. I always looked at them in isolation, which led to a feeling of continued loss. The main challenge was that the thought of putting myself out there brought me face to face with the possibilities of failure and rejection. Therefore, I found it convenient to stay within my comfort zone.

Accepting my own capabilities gave me the impetus to take the chance and see what happens.

Re-defining myself

It took a while to accept that I was an amalgamation of my life experiences. Otherwise, my normal tendency was to restrict myself within boundaries and stay complacent. I rarely took a step back to evaluate my strengths and capabilities to define with clarity ‘who’ I wanted to be or ‘what’ I wanted for myself. I would allow the other aspects of my life (family obligations, financial commitments, parenthood etc.) to cloud my judgment. It’s no wonder that I would get flummoxed when asked to do my own SWOT analysis.

The future is an open field and it doesn’t take long for destinies to change so it was crucial that I re-skill to bypass my weaknesses and build a portfolio that highlighted my strengths.

Moving on
When an opportunity strikes, ideally one must take calculated risks based on the present and personal reality. But often when something went awry or I failed, I looked at it as a bad decision. In addition I would relive and look back at similar experiences from my past as a series of such wrong choices. I was good at critically evaluating other people but could only superficially assess my own patterns of behaviour. Also, I overlooked the fact that those ‘wrong’ choices had felt right for me at that point of time. But I rarely gave myself credit. Thus it was excruciatingly challenging to accept my fault, forgive myself and move on.

Today, I have been able to change my world around and believe that our future is ours to create.

In other words, YOUR future is your responsibility, your decision, and your personal choice. So, go on, mould the ‘present’ to your advantage, step up at your own pace and make it work for YOU.

(Cheers to YOU, the only thing you need to compete for the future based on the theme, Competing for the future, was the first in the series as a Sheroes Mentor Author and first published in Sheroes in August 17, 2015)