Tips for Teens: Visioning Your Future

4 Steps to Help You Become a Badass Version of You

The teenage years can be some of the best or worst of your life. Or you might just survive with a few good memories and not too much humiliation. But no matter where you are on the spectrum, this is the time to start determining and designing the kind of human you want to be. Yes, it’s up to you—no one else.

Becoming awesome and being a badass takes intention – and years of it. If you don’t think about it now, you’ll more easily fall and follow, because you will be reacting to the world, not acting in the world.

So what can you do to make the most of the awesome years ahead?

You need to vision yourself.

By vision, I mean, you need to pull out the imagination that’s been squashed by the world, and let it get some exercise. The task – clearly imagine the man or woman you want to be in 10 years.

I know that sounds old, faraway and scary, but if you trust me on this, you’ll hit that 25-30 age and be one of the most powerful people you know. You’ll be in your prime, you won’t have inner conflict, and you’ll still look really hot.

Journaling Tips

The vision exercise is useful if you have a journal. A lot of people think you need to write stories and full sentences in journals, but quite frankly that’s a lot of work and really embarrassing to read ten years later.

I find journals are most helpful to collect notes about your goals and your future, business ideas, comedy acts, shoe designs, etc. Find a notebook or journal that you don’t mind scribbling in, brainstorming on, and crossing out or rewriting ideas. Treat yourself to a quiet place to think and do the following.

Visioning Exercise

1) What values do you value?

Write down as many values as you can.

When you have at least ten, circle the top three or so that you already have. These are likely your natural born identifying values. You might even be a little proud of those values in yourself.

Some people are naturally compassionate, or honest, or fearless. They just seem to be born with it. What are your strongest values? This is not the time to be modest. You want to really know yourself and build on your strengths. And you were given these natural values for a reason – to share them with the world. This is THE source of how you can most inspire others in the world. No pressure.

After you’ve circled your top values, keep adding.

There are a lot of values that you admire in other people that might be on your list, things like generous-hearted, trustworthy, patient, empathetic, determined, resourceful, curious. These are things you want to be and probably need to be for balance, but they just don’t come naturally all the time. Write them down and underline the ones that are most important to you, while imagining what it looks like when you are living this value. We all have things to work on. These might be yours.

Now put a star next to your top five values overall, that you want to be remembered for by friends and family. What are the things that when people describe you, you want them to say? These are the values that you want to show up in your actions, relationships, work, leisure—everything you do and everything you give.

2) What are your natural talents or gifts?

Make another list for your natural talents. You might have a great sense of rhythm, have the ability to get people to answer your provoking questions, be very coordinated, musically inclined, a great listener, a critical thinker, someone who is always creating with their hands, someone who gives good advice, a great planner, or maybe someone who has the ability to understand complex information and communicate it in a simple way.

If you are not sure what some of your natural talents are, think about the things you do well all the time that people might observe about you currently? Then identify the reason why you are good at it. That’s your natural talent. The outward way you express it is a skill, or your talent in action. You might still be developing those outward skills, but your natural gifts are in you now, waiting to be expressed, and likely apparent to most people around you.

For example, you might be brilliant at baseball, because your natural talents are physically coordinated, great ability to observe, and the ability to read body language. Someone else could be good at baseball because they have an excellent memory, they are a strategic thinker, and they know how to play the odds. Break down what makes you good things.

3) Combine your values and talents into one line.

Look at your two lists and imagine your future using your values and gifts. Imagine what people will say about you when toasting your graduation, celebrating an award or new job, writing about you in a magazine article. What will you be known for when they pick you to be on the “30 Under 30” list of most successful people?

It’s also important to imagine how you will live your values and gifts to benefit others, in part because it will give you ideas about what you should be doing now. A million people can use wisdom in a billion different ways. How would you use it in your unique way every day?

Here are some thought starters to write in your journal. Fill in the blanks with as many answers as you can think of.

I knew her in college. She’s the one who always_______ (ex. had snacks for everyone at study sessions, dedicated the extra hour of study after we all crashed out, could make you laugh when things went wrong, etc.)

I worked with her at_______She always knew_______(ex. who needed help, how to find the answers, put people at ease, etc.)

She’s the kind of friend who_______ (ex. always listened, had an idea that helped, made sure everyone got home, remembered my birthday, etc.)

She’s the most_______ (fill in one of your values) person I know. When we were trapped on the side of the road with a dead battery, she _______

She’s the most_______ (fill in one of your values) person I know. When my mom passed away, she’s the one who_______

She’s the kind of daughter/son who_______

Tonight I would like to toast my best friend. A lot of you don’t know this but she is_______

Do the above exercises for every value on your list multiple times. Write your own scenarios around goals you have for the future.

4) Practice Makes Perfect

Maintain your focus by sticking a piece of paper of your top values and gifts to your bathroom mirror or somewhere in your bedroom where you will see them every day. You might even start collecting quotes about those values and gifts, and sticking them in your notebook or journal for inspiration.

In ten years, you will probably be looking for a job. The career that makes you happiest, is likely going to be the one that allows you to live and express your natural abilities and what you value.

There are going to be times when you are not living your values, when you make mistakes, or simply go down a path that doesn’t make you as happy as you thought it would. Don’t worry. Just brake, get up, turn a different corner and add resilience to your values.

This is your time to dream your life, design your path, determine your future, and become the person you want to be—a person who just might be someone else’s greatest inspiration. That’s the toast I wish for you.

Cheers!

Tricia Cerrone is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur with a focus on mentoring young adults and creating stories that inspire hope. Check out her multi-award winning series The Black Swan Files.

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