top of page

Success Strategy: Your Multiple Futures

The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities - Anonymous

Have you found yourself feeling stuck?

Like you have a goal, but you can't see yourself getting there?

Have you been told that to be happy and successful you need to follow x, y, z steps - but those steps don't seem available to you, or in line with your personality, or would make you miserable?

This excerpt from my upcoming book is going to teach you a technique to open your mind to the possibilities so you can keep your goals, but open your eyes to the journey!

In my clinical practice I perform a cognitive test on the over 65 crowd to see how sharp their memory is. I test visuospatial memory, language, abstraction and delayed recall.

The first task on the standard test asks them to draw a line connecting numbers and letters to complete the pattern. There are numbers 1 to 5 and letter 1 to E. The pattern starts with a dotted line from 1 to A, another dotted line from A to 2 and patients are expected to draw the line until they get to the end at E.

Often times patients with cognitive or memory difficulty are able to trace the two dotted lines, but the next step eludes them.

Individuals may end up drawing the line connecting in a random pattern and ending back at the beginning, or connecting only numbers, or only letters. Many start and are on the right path, but stop half way - second guessing themselves. Many don't even attempt the exercise at all becoming immediately frustrated because they didn't understand the instructions, forgot the instructions, or because they are insulted to be asked to do such a simple task!

There is only one right path.

Only one way to get the point on the exercise.

Many of us approach our lives that way.

As if there is only one route, one goal, one way to be successful.

What if I told you that your life is not so straight forward. That there are endless possibilities.

I have a masters degree and a successful career. And sometimes I find myself saying I need a PhD! I would love to teach at a university level and be a professor. I would love to influence fledgeling and experienced nurses. I would love to dabble in nursing and health politics. I would love to create change for a female dominated profession founded in the (insert century here) to bring it up to 21st century standards!

I like to examine my goals through creating multiple imaginary futures. If I wanted a PhD, what are the possible timelines and avenues to get it? What are the options for location, school, length of time, cost. What are the possible realities I would live while completing a PhD? Locked in a library, in a wood cabin, in a downsized condo? What are the outcomes I see myself achieving after earning a PhD? Professorship? Research? In rooms with clients, students or government officials? Every time I do this activity I remind myself that there are so many possible futures. And, they are all possible!

Of course, I also come to realize I don’t need a PhD to reach my desired outcomes! I already know enough! I am already doing enough! I already have lessons to share and a curriculum in mind to teach! I already am enough and I always was enough!

There is always a part of me that thinks I am not enough and propels me toward the next step in an imaginary career ladder. It is human nature to look up towards the next rung and take the next most logical step. To take the next most obvious and safe move. It takes some real self-exploration to go against the well trodden path and trailblaze!

So, I’ve decided I don’t need a PhD to reach the level of success I am looking for! I don’t need complete PhD studies to reach people and change their lives. I am already doing that! I can multiply my reach by acting more and delivering more messages publicly! I can research what I am passionate about and share what I have learned without the approval and censorship of a committee. Since you are reading this book you are the proof!

I don’t need a PhD, but I still want one. I have a desire to do the things that would earn me one and the things that would come from having one. When I looked closer at my career goal of earning a PhD I realized there are multiple ways to get one! Multiple ways? Really? Yes! But without doing the exercise of envisioning multiple possible futures I wouldn’t have realized this!

Route A: I could take the clear and traditional route of applying to a program, paying a fee and spending 5 years of my life researching a topic that my supervisor was passionate about, write and defend a thesis, get my cap and gown and cross the stage to get a PhD. Then, get a professorship and grow the profession.

Route B: Pursue professional excellence, expand my reach, promote the profession, invite others to expand their minds to personal and professional possibilities! Write a book! Specifically spend as much or as little time as necessary to write a book I am passionate about and know will propel the profession forward! Get it in the hands of nursing students, nurses, and nursing leaders! Show up! Grow the profession organically beyond just one nursing class at a time! Get nominated for an honorary degree at one of my former Alma Maters - looking at you Queen’s University or Ryerson University! Get my cap and gown and cross the stage to get a PhD to the delight of many who feel they contributed to my success as I contribute to theirs!

Can you tell which one I found more compelling?

My goal changed very quickly from get a PhD to get an honorary PhD. So if you are reading this and are on the committee involved in awarding honorary doctorates and love this book and the life changing work I have set out to do for nurses I am speaking to you! Go ahead and submit my nomination. I’m not too proud to ask for it (read the chapter on the power of asking for things)!

Realizing there is more than one way to reach a goal is valuable and exciting!

I came to the conclusion I would earn a PhD honorarily after looking at my possible futures in as many ways as possible. I liked this one best. I’m now taking actions to make it happen.

And, if I fail in my mission, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the journey!


Look at the goals you originally set.

  1. What are your goals? If you haven't created any goals click here to learn how!

  2. What are the multiple ways to achieve those goals?

  3. What are the possible paths to get there?

  4. What are the outcomes you’re looking to achieve by hitting those goals? Could you reach those outcomes without taking the traditional route or the route that first came to mind? What other ways could you achieve those outcomes or your goal?

  5. Did that expand your view of your world and your future? How so?

  6. Did that change your goal? What is your new goal?

Want to be the first to know when I publish my book? Sign up for my mailing list!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts

Join our mailing list

Never miss an update

Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Basic Square

Join the email list for updates and get exclusive bonus chapters

bottom of page