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Future You


"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present."
-Bill Keane

Ok, a little bit of a cheesy way to start. Seriously though, tomorrow isn't promised to any of us. Our challenge is to make the most out of every day because each one is an opportunity to move closer to the person we want to be. The journey is the destination. Here's a big thing that gets in the way...

Damaging Self Talk

When we describe ourselves (to ourselves and others) in limiting ways it holds us back. We're making agreements that keep us from growing. Yes, these are our decisions to make and very often we think less of ourselves or at the least are not honest. Here are a few...

  • I'm not a good listener
  • I'm not patient
  • I have a hard time showing gratitude

As long we talk about ourselves in this way, we're increasing the chance these self-fulfilling prophecies will actually come true. We're conspiring against our future selves by thinking this way.

If we want to change we have to change the way we think about ourselves. We must treat ourselves with more respect and honesty. With your own list, try saying something like this to yourself:

I haven't listened, been as patient, or shown gratitude as well as I could have. That's in the past. I can change in the future. I do not have some incurable genetic defect. I can and will do better in these areas because the person I want to be is better at those things.

6 Thoughts from Marshall Goldsmith

1. How smart or right we are is irrelevant if we don't make a positive difference to the people around us.

*What behavior(s) need to change for you to have the influence you want?

2. If you can sell it, sell it. If you can change it, change it. If not make peace with that.

*What daily commitments are working against your behavior change?

3. Are you willing to invest your energies in making a positive difference to an issue you see? If not, let it go.

*What activities would you like to do more of? Less of?

4. You don't have to be superior or better than someone to coach someone, you just need to care courageously about them.

*What healthy living behaviors are you neglecting?

5. Establish leadership behavior and have zero tolerance for bad behavior.

*Are your behaviors in alignment with the person you want to be?

6. Life is incredibly easy to talk about, incredibly difficult to live. Help more, judge less.

*What behaviors are supporting your positive example for others?

"We're professionals at what we do but amateurs at who we want to become." -Marshall Goldsmith

For about 30 years, I told myself I wasn't good at math. This isn't exactly true. I'm pretty good at everyday math, but not so great at algebra. Changing this one "agreement" has opened up new ways for me to use the everyday math I'm OK at. Being more honest and respectful with myself has helped me do so in other areas where damaging self-talk existed.

Everyone is capable of behavior change. You must believe you are. Then the only question to ask yourself is: What are you motivated to change?

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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