Past v. Future You
Ep. 215
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If you only look to your past, at what you’ve already achieved, in order to determine what you’re capable of achieving in the future, you’ll only get the same results you already have. That’s why so many people limit their dreams. They think that all that is possible are things that they already have evidence for. But–here is the thing–your past only exists in your mind. It does not dictate what is possible in the future. You have to learn to tap into your future self to push out of your comfort zone and dream up a life bigger than the one you can imagine. 

This week on the podcast, I’ll show you how. 

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I am so excited you are here. Been some exciting things going on at Lessons From A Quitter headquarters. I celebrated my 40th birthday for what felt like a year. Um I'm I'm happy to report that I'm officially done celebrating my birthday and would really like to not celebrate anymore which I never even thought I could get to but turns out you can learn something new about yourself. It was really amazing and I'm ready to get back to work. And on that front, I'm so excited about all the stuff that is happening. I'm getting ready to launch something new that I think is going to be so helpful and really help more people lay the groundwork of learning how to do mindset work in their careers and learning how to not dread Mondays and not wait only for Fridays and not hate every single day and actually put up boundaries and be able to figure out what it is they want to be doing and go after all the goals. So I'm really excited about it but I did wanna let you guys know that the first time I launch it, I'm gonna do a founder's launch, so the people that are gonna be the founding members of this program. I'm only going to launch to my email list. So that means if you get my emails, you will hear about and know about this launch and the reason you may be interested is that for founding members, I am offering 50% off this first round. So if you've been waiting to work with me, if you've wanted to do one of the programs in the past and you couldn't afford it, it wasn't like a right time, but you want to know how you can do this work in depth in the future, I would suggest getting on the email list, you can go to and sign up there and I will make all the announcements. You will definitely hear about the offer and when we start and all the details. When I launch it, hopefully next month, that's the plan September. So go to and get on the email list if you're not on already. And I can't wait to talk about that more. Okay, but today I wanted to talk about how you think about your life and specifically how you think about what is possible for your life.

So I want you to think about that question for a second. I guess the first question I would ask is what do you want for your life? And I don't mean just in a career sense. I would say overall, when you look back at your life at 85 or 90, what do you want to have achieved? What do you want to embody? What do you want your life to stand for? What kind of a life did you want? And as you're thinking about this and as maybe you're coming up with, I would suggest journaling and really drilling down, like what is important to me? What are my values? What do I want my life to be at the end of it? I want you to think about how you know what is possible for you because here's the thing I've uh repeated the Henry Ford quote I think ad nauseum at this point on this podcast but the quote of whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. The reason I think it's such a profound quote is because it really just summarizes everything we talk about here, right? Your thoughts are what is going to lead to your actions which is what creates your results and your results are your life, right? So your thoughts directly create your results. And this is pretty easily understood if you think about like if I don't think it's possible for me to be, I don't know, an NBA basketball player. There's one obvious one. I'm not likely gonna put in much effort to go after that cause I already know like that ain't happening over here. Clocking in at a cool five feet tall, WNBA is not in my cards, right. Now, I don't particularly have a dream for that but I'm just saying like we are not crazy. And so if I don't think something is possible for me, I'm not going to put in the actions, the effort that it takes to try to realize that dream. The only thing you will ever go for is something that you think is possible for you. Right? And that doesn't mean that you're not gonna have doubts or fears or anything that comes along with it. There's definitely like a lot of thoughts also that maybe it's not possible and stuff but there is a sliver. There's something. There is a thought there that maybe I can. Maybe I could get that acting role or make that business successful or be a good mom or whatever the dream is. There has to be some possibility for you to go after it. Right. And so if you think about everything that you've done up until now in your life, the only reason you ever made a decision to go after it was because you believed it was possible. Whether that meant getting the degree. Like this is an interesting thing to think about like for so many of us, for a lot of us who were maybe had the privilege of being raised in families where either our parents, you know, had lots of degrees, had had education or there was some kind of emphasis on education, it's fascinating to think that the idea that it was quote unquote possible. It was just such a given that you never even thought about it, it was like of course I'm gonna go to college and get my, you know, grad degree. Right. But for a lot of people that is not the case. They may come from families whose families never went to college, who maybe the opportunity for college is not there. And so for there's a lot of people who grew up not even thinking about college because it's not a possibility. And so you start tailoring your life to like what is possible? What can I go after? And so every job you've gone, after degree you've gotten, every scholarship grant you've applied for, whatever it is, the underlying basis had to be a thought that there is a chance that I can do this or that I can get this. Right. And what I want you to think about is how do you determine what is possible for you? How do you know what is possible for your life right now? Like maybe up until now, a lot of us might have determined what was possible based off what other people told us. And some of that might have been true. And some of it might have been false, right? This idea that like maybe somebody told you that you'll never get into college because you're not smart enough. Right. Maybe that was the message you've gotten. And so maybe you started believing that it's not possible but it actually was a possibility. And you learned that later in life, right? For a lot of us as children, we obtained these thoughts, these beliefs from the people around us. But now as adults, I want you to think about how do you know what is possible for your life?

Most people that I ask this question to in my group, most people that I've worked with and myself included, most of us go to the past to think about what we have already done, what we have accomplished, what we are quote unquote good at, like what our strengths are. And we look for evidence of like what is possible based on that. Right? So we look at like well, I have this degree. I tried out for this thing and I made it and I did pretty well. I'm really good at, you know, spreadsheets. So I'll use all of that data to kind of figure out what is the top level of job I can get, how much money can I make, where can I utilize my skills. And that is why I think so many of us live a lot smaller than we want to. We live lives that aren't as big as we would like them to be because we limit what we think is possible based on what we have done in the past. And the thing is is if that's what you're basing it on, then you can't really ever get any new results.

If you can only base what you're allowed to do, what you're allowed to go after, what you're allowed to dream about, what your goals you're allowed to set for yourself based on things that you can find evidence for that you can accomplish, then you're only going to keep repeating similar things to what you've already accomplished. Right? You're going to keep yourself in this box of like well, maybe I can change jobs but kind of stay in a similar role. Maybe I can move a little bit over tangentially related to this field and get a job that pays me 10% more but I'm not dreaming about the fact that I can make 10 times what I'm making right now. I'm not dreaming about the fact that like I can do something completely unrelated to what I'm doing right now because I'm basing everything that's possible for me on my past. And I think that it's fascinating to think about the fact that even what you have built this belief on on what is possible is just a story. I talked a lot about this and I talk a lot about this on the podcast but about the fact that like we don't see the world objectively, we don't see ourselves objectively. We don't see like the quote unquote truth that we think we do. We see it in a very biased, limited form. And then we create an entire story around it. Right. And I've talked a lot about this. Like for myself, you know, I had the story about being lazy and I had to ignore a ton of evidence to keep that story propped up. Sure, there was evidence of me being quote unquote lazy. Like there was evidence that I like to take naps and I'm not very into exercise or any type of physical movement. And I go at a slower pace. I don't know, like there was tons of things that I looked at to be like yep, that checks out. I'm lazy. But there was also tons of evidence that I just conveniently ignored. Like the fact that I was the top of my class my entire life through law school, right. That I got into a top 10 law school, that I worked at a top 10 law firm, that I would regularly work 60, 80 hour weeks, that I worked would work 24 hours a day sometimes, which is not recommended, that I would always meet every deadline, that I always got the things I needed to get done. Like all of those things, I just conveniently didn't look at. Like the fact that I've worked since I was 15 years old. I mean, there was just so much evidence to prove to me that I'm not lazy but I just held onto this story that like no, of course I am. And so what do you think I thought was possible for me if my story about myself is that I'm lazy? Not a lot. I actually remember this was one specific story that I really did need to deal with head on when I was starting my business because I was so afraid that I couldn't run a business because I was so lazy. I just kept thinking like if someone else is not pushing me, if someone else is not giving me deadlines, I'm way too lazy to do things. I mean, clearly it was a lie and yet my brain loved that story. I put off so many things for so long because of this fear that like oh, I just don't have the energy to actually do those things. I'm just gonna ignore all of the other stuff that I've accomplished. Right. And so I want you to understand like when we go to the past and we create these stories, it's not as though we're creating some like truthful, like no, but this is what is possible for me. That was the only thing I was able to do. No it wasn't. That's what you did based off the story that you created for yourself. Like going back to this example, if somebody who believes the adults in their life that tell them they're not smart enough to go to college, doesn't go to college. That doesn't mean that college wasn't a possibility for them. It was just that they believed the lies about themselves. That the story that they chose, not in a blame like fault type of way, but that they chose to pick up and take with them and hold onto was that in some way they lacked the ability to do something that is very doable. And the more we do this, the more we base what is possible based off whatever it is that we've already done, the smaller our dreams become, right? The longer we've stayed in our stories about what's possible and the careers that we've had, we start creating just additional limitations for ourselves. Like well now, I've only been a lawyer for 20 years and now I've only done this, you know, in this field. And I've been in this niche and now what's possible for me is even less. I can't just completely start over. I can't be a business owner. I don't know what I'm doing. I can't, I can't, I can't. And so we limit what we're dreaming about, what we think is possible for ourselves. And we don't have these huge, audacious goals anymore. If you think about it, like notice when you look at the timeline, the way that society sets it up. If you look at children, they have no problems giving you the biggest dreams, right? They, with conviction, will change their mind and tell you something new every single day and be fully in belief that they can be an astronaut or the president or a veterinarian, whatever it is. And each day can change and they don't put any shame or guilt or anything like that. And then even as you become a young adult, they're still like you're allowed to dream. And it seems like as you just go through college, like once you become 18, once you become 22, once you've like picked your major, once you have a degree, once you've started a job, then it's like well, now we gotta be realistic. Nobody knows why that's the timeline, that that's what we've just decided. But that's what everyone just chose. And it was like well, you can't just dream big at 25 or 30, God forbid at 40. Now you gotta be realistic. And so, so many of us, and this is going back to when I was telling you that your thought is what ends up creating your results, so if your thought is that I can't do anything else besides this or this is all that's available to me or, you know, dreaming is for children, there's nothing, whatever the thought, some ridiculous thought that you have, of course, the result that you're gonna create is that you're not gonna go after those dreams. You're not gonna try something new. You're not gonna look for a possibility to start a business or make more money or go after some dream life. And so of course it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and we pass it down generation to generation like see, yeah, work isn't supposed to be fun and stop daydreaming all day. And in the real world, like this is all you can make and that's realistic and whatnot. And if you look around, there's evidence all over the place that that's not true. Right? All of these thoughts that we have about quote unquote what's realistic, what's possible. When you see like right now is an interesting time with the internet and social media and all these new careers and practice areas and uh fields popping up that never were available before. I think about a lot of these people who make tons and tons of money online and it's like they just completely disproved everything people talk about what's possible. Like how much typically someone should be making or could make, right? It's like a 25-year-old kid comes out and starts making a million dollars a year playing video games. And it was simply because you have to, at some point, believe that it is possible for you. It's possible to do something else with your life. It's possible to not sit in this box that has been given to you and live within those confines. And so what I wanna ask you is if you woke up with amnesia. Okay, so if you woke up tomorrow and you have no recollection of the first part of your life until this point, how would you know what is possible for you? I want you to think about that for a second.

If you had nothing from your past to base what you could do right now, how would you decide? Cause here's the thing, the past and the future only exist in your mind. They are not actual places that you can visit. When I meet someone new and I have no knowledge of their past, their past doesn't exist to me. It only exists in their mind and it's the same as true for the future. So I want you to think about this. Like if you had amnesia and you could not tell these stories about yourself, you couldn't tell people that you're lazy or undisciplined or unmotivated or not smart enough or not good enough in one way, some way, how would you decide what you're gonna go after for the rest of your life? And the answer is you just decide. You would have nothing else to base it on other than just choosing because you want to, cuz you wanna try it, cuz you feel like it, cuz it sounds fun. That's it. Because you want to see how big of a life you can have, because you wanna try something new. And so I want you to start living into that. I want you to think about like if I want a different result than what I've had in my life, if I'm frustrated because I don't make enough money or because I don't have enough autonomy or because I don't have enough freedom or because I don't see my kids enough or whatever the thing is. And I want like what is the biggest, boldest, juiciest goal I could have, the most amazing life I can envision. Why don't I think that's possible for me? Why is that not the goal that I'm setting? Why am I not saying I wanna make millions of dollars a year or I I wanna be a CEO of a company with 50 people or I wanna be a best-selling author or whatever, whatever the dream is. Why am I not going after it? And I'll tell you why, it's because we wanna be quote unquote realistic. And we only wanna be realistic because we want to protect ourselves from negative emotion. We wanna preserve like that self-preservation of like I can't say I can do that because I don't know if I can. I don't know if that's possible. And if I try and I fail, what is everyone gonna think of me? What is everyone gonna say? What do I have to think about me? Right. So better I just be realistic. And I just limit those goals. And I just shoot for the things that I know I can do, and I know is possible, that I see the people around me doing. Why don't I just start there? And I think the reason why you shouldn't start there or you live there is because that's why you're unfulfilled, cuz that's not ultimately what you want. I think every one of us has these big goals in in us. We know how powerful we are. We know how capable we are deep down. We know how unique and special and gifted and amazing we are. We know that it might be possible but I might fail along the way. People might not understand. I might try things and it may not go the way that I want originally. And I'm so scared of what I've made it mean if I fail at something, if I don't do something perfectly. If everybody else doesn't agree with exactly what I'm doing, then I'm just gonna keep myself small. And I hear a lot of people say like well I don't wanna be delusional. I don't wanna think that I could be a best-selling author if like maybe I'm not good enough for that. Or I don't wanna think that I can make millions of dollars, I have no idea how to run a business. And I've talked about this, I did a podcast episode called Be Delusional, so you already know where I'm going with this. But as I was just saying, that story of your past that is ignoring all this other evidence is just further proof that you're already delusional. All of us are, we're all walking around creating our own realities based on our own thoughts and beliefs. Right? If you think about right now as just the perfect time to really serve as this example. If you look at COVID and the last couple of years in politics, people are just believing what it is they wanna believe, right? There's quote unquote evidence or facts on every side and people are picking and choosing what they want and then crafting their own world view. And like this is what humans do, we have confirmation bias. We look for the things that confirm what we already believe. We do this with religion. We do this with politics. We do this with everything. We do this with ourselves. We do this with the stories of ourselves, right? We pick and choose the parts that we think is safe to believe that somebody else told us it's okay to believe. I want you to think about what imposter syndrome is. It's quite literally being delusional. It just is a fancy term for it. Think about all of these people who have gotten the degrees, have gotten the jobs, have climbed the corporate ladder, are working day in and day out. They have all of the evidence that shows them that they're doing pretty good. And yet they're choosing to believe I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not smart enough for this. I don't belong here. I'm a fraud. Someone's gonna figure that out soon. Like I coach a lot of really high-achieving people who have done really incredible things and it's mind blowing to me to listen to them. I have people who've become partners in law firms or have worked in, you know, law firms for 5, 7, 8 years. I've had doctors. I've had people that have gotten their PhDs. I mean, you go through these rigorous training programs. You're working in an office setting for years and years. So it's not like you've worked there for a year and they haven't fired you yet. You've worked there for 5, 10, 20 years and then you come to me and straight face tell me I don't know what I'm doing. They're gonna find out I don't know what I'm doing. And I always just tried to point out like could that story not be true? How is that even possible? This is not a charity. People don't keep workers on because they wanna be nice. We all know that. And yet you've managed to keep your job for however many years. And then you're just choosing to believe that you're imposter and that you don't have it figured out and everybody else does. And that they're gonna find out. If that's not delusional, I don't know what is right. And the thing is is that we're truly delusional about all aspects of our lives. Like I just said, like my story about being lazy, it was a delusion to a certain point. Yes, there is some evidence that I like to do things that require rest but I had to be delusional to ignore everything else. When I left the law, I used to swear up and down that I had no other skills. I kept thinking there's nothing else I can do. I have no skills. That was a delusion. I see that now. I did not see it then. The story that we have about the past is not the truth, it is a story. And most of it is based on some kind of delusion. Most of it is blown up in a way that hurts us, that harms us. We tend to see the worst in ourselves. And I'm just saying, if you're already gonna be delusional, you might as well be delusional on purpose, right? You might as well be delusional with thoughts that serve you. You might as well go into the future and think about what do I want to be possible for my life? How do I want to start thinking about what I can go after? What do I wanna tell myself is possible? Cause I promise you the more delusional you are in that way, the more you'll start creating the results that you want in your life. The more you start fixing your thoughts to believe like of course, I can make millions of dollars. Of course, I could become a best-selling author. Of course, I could be a Ted Talk speaker, whatever that's called. Of course, I could do all of these things that sound so frickin cool to me. Think about the actions that you take when you have those thoughts and the results that ensue from that. And so I want you to start going to your future self to believe what is possible or to decide what is possible instead of going to your past self. I want you to ask yourself what do I want to believe is possible for me? If I had amnesia, if I had no idea what my past contained, if I had no idea what I was quote unquote capable of doing, what would I want to be possible? And then I want you to ask yourself who do I have to become in order to make that possible? Because the point of any goal or anything that you're setting for yourself is to start growing and molding into yourself into the future version of you that can do those things. Of course, you can't do it right now because the version of you that is existing in the world right now may not have the knowledge or the capabilities or the skills or the capacity to do it. But who cares? That doesn't mean the future you doesn't. And when we start asking like who do I have to become, you can check in with yourself and have so much wisdom about what you need to do. I promise you if you if you ask yourself like what would future me in 10 years say about this decision? I do this all the time with my business, with anything, where I'm like what is future Goli, who is running a multi-million dollar business and has employees and is helping thousands of people, what would she think is the right step right now? And lo and behold, I already know what I should do. I'm just scared to do it. And the more I lean into that and the more I start acting like her, the more I become her. So I want you to start going to that future and asking yourself, what do I want to be possible? Who do I have to become to make that possible? And what do I have to give up from my past in order to become that person? What story do I have to give up in order to allow my me to become the future version of myself, right? Like for me, I had to give up the story of being lazy and all of the ways that that served me. I had to give up worrying so much about what everybody else thought I should do with my life. I had to give up constantly criticizing and putting myself down and beating myself up. There was a lot I had to give up in order to step into the version of myself that took risks, that was seen on social media, that put myself out there, that had to sell things and ask people for money and get rejected. There was a lot that had to change but as I changed each of those things, I started stepping into the future version of myself that I wanna be. And I will continue to do that for the rest of my life, right? Like there's always a level of growth that I wanna achieve. There's always a level of transformation. And I only get that by looking into the future and asking myself, who do I wanna become and how do I become that person? And so my friends, I want you to stop looking to your past for what is possible for you. I want you to start dreaming about what you want to be possible and then ask yourself who you have to become in order to make it a reality. Alright, my friends, I hope this was helpful. I want you to go out and become the future versions of yourself and I will see you next week for another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.