Putting it All Together: Powerful Practices for Prospection

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5 min

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As we cover in the Guide to Prospection, prospection is the act of thinking about the future. Prospection is essential because it is only through deliberately imagining a future that is different than the present that we can change our lives for the better.

Prospection has two critical stages:

  • Stage 1: Envisioning new possibilities for the future.
  • Stage 2: Turning possibilities into realities.

Research has shown that being able to consider new possibilities for one’s future leads to greater growth, well-being, and goal attainment. It can even help you bounce back from hardship and loss (Roepke et al., 2017).

We created this collection to provide some guidance on how to effectively conduct prospection. It contains a suggested sequence for completing a series of core exercises. Here are the steps/exercises, with a short description and link for each resource:

  1. Identify your values: Start by identifying some areas of your life where you find the most fulfillment, as these can pinpoint directions for future growth.
  2. Living your values in action: Take stock of how well you are currently living up to your core values.
  3. Best possible self: With a refreshed understanding of what you care about most, consider what your best possible self might look like.
  4. Identifying goals rooted in meaning and core values: Drawing on your knowledge of your values and best possible self, come up with some goals for bringing you closer to your ideals.
  5. Trying out WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan): Once you have a goal in mind, think about the steps required to get there, and plan for any potential obstacles that might stand in your way.
  6. Look inward, then strive: Many people are prevented from reaching their goals by unanticipated challenges or painful emotional experiences. This exercise helps you prepare for these situations.
  7. Write your way through a current challenge: For navigating speed bumps and building confidence.
  8. The Gift of Lemons: For building resilience and cultivating the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Prospection has two critical stages:

  • Stage 1: Envisioning new possibilities for the future.
  • Stage 2: Turning possibilities into realities.

Research has shown that being able to consider new possibilities for one’s future leads to greater growth, well-being, and goal attainment. It can even help you bounce back from hardship and loss (Roepke et al., 2017).

We created this collection to provide some guidance on how to effectively conduct prospection. It contains a suggested sequence for completing a series of core exercises. Here are the steps/exercises, with a short description and link for each resource:

  1. Identify your values: Start by identifying some areas of your life where you find the most fulfillment, as these can pinpoint directions for future growth.
  2. Living your values in action: Take stock of how well you are currently living up to your core values.
  3. Best possible self: With a refreshed understanding of what you care about most, consider what your best possible self might look like.
  4. Identifying goals rooted in meaning and core values: Drawing on your knowledge of your values and best possible self, come up with some goals for bringing you closer to your ideals.
  5. Trying out WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan): Once you have a goal in mind, think about the steps required to get there, and plan for any potential obstacles that might stand in your way.
  6. Look inward, then strive: Many people are prevented from reaching their goals by unanticipated challenges or painful emotional experiences. This exercise helps you prepare for these situations.
  7. Write your way through a current challenge: For navigating speed bumps and building confidence.
  8. The Gift of Lemons: For building resilience and cultivating the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. Though there are many other activities and resources, think of these exercises as a starting point for your prospection journey.

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