What Do You Most Want: Designing Your Preferred Future as a Bold One

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

“Where is the world going?”

We continually ask ourselves – maybe even our team – variations of this question.

  • How is our industry changing?
  • What do we need to do to retain employees?
  • What designation will help me move up?
  • What are we hearing from customers about our products and services?

Even on a personal level, we ask we reflect and explore with others too.

  • What will my parenting look like in the next phase?
  • How can I keep my marriage strong?
  • What can I do to keep myself healthy?
  • What matters to me?

Pretty healthy, right? Imagine if we continued to look forward and into our “preferred future” (as we solution-focused practitioners have coined it.)

Do you know what I’ve noticed? Often, these reflections are encumbered with an undercurrent of fear. Fear is not where boldness hangs out. (Let me tell you where you can learn more about this in a minute.)

Fear might look like these questions or ruminations:

  • image of a drop of water showing the reflection of the ground it's sitting onWhat if our biz/industry cannot compete? What if we cannot survive?
  • What if our team/project is ditched as the “flavour of the month”? What if we lose support?
  • What if our funding gets cut?
  • What if my services/products become irrelevant?
  • What if the next recession kills everything we worked so hard to build?
  • What if my boss fires me? My clients go elsewhere?
  • What if my kids/friends/partner rejects me?
  • What if I can’t afford my house/lifestyle?
  • What if I never become thin/respected/interesting/successful….

Heavy stuff, right?

What if, instead, we ask, “Where is the world going?” or “Where is my world going?” Imagine asking that question fully believing that we can influence our preferred future.

In other words, what if not knowing is the enabler versus the liability?

What if not holding on so tight can activate the insight? What if we create our preferred future through curiosity, in essence:
—> By design versus default
—> By experimentation versus expectation
—> By appreciation versus self-deprecation

We have all had the rug pulled out from us before, giving us the chops to ride whatever the future brings. Do we see that past failure as the sherpa versus the bogeyman? Rather than hold our breath, let us collectivity settle into a place of curiosity about how you WILL be able to shape that future.

Here is the place where The Bold Ones play.

image of Sarah McVanel reading the book The Bold Ones by Shawn Kanungo and Must Read in purple lettersWhether you are staring down the rest of 2023 with wonder, worry or wishes, do yourself a favour and grab Shawn Kanungo’s book The Bold Ones.” His roadmap will unlock our preferred future – from industry to company to team to family to the space between our ears – is the formula for abundance in disruption.

See you in that preferred future, my friends.

Here are more ideas for planning your best and boldest future:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve