It's YOUR Future... Make it a Good One!
Learn how to explore and plan for YOUR future
What is a personal future? As we look at personal futures here, they are explorations of the future of one individual--- you--- and the futures that directly involve you and your family.
The approach you will take consists of three steps:
(1)- Build a framework of information about your life.
Much simpler than it sounds! This is all information you already know! The book and the workbook explain (and show) how to use information about your life to consider and explore your future.
(2)- From the information in your framework, explore your plausible futures with scenarios.
Consider what your futures could be, and what you prefer for your future. Consider a future with 1-no major change from the present, 2-a positive future, 3- a negative future, 4- a surprise (wild card) future, and 5- a future in which you achieve something that is important to you.
(3)- From the scenarios, develop a vision of your future, devise strategies to achieve your vision and make action plans for your future.
Decide what you want for your future, then create a plan to achieve that future.
In exploring your future, you will use the same methods that have been practiced by futurists for decades, all over the world. At the end of this process, you should have an overview and a vision of your life, specific plans for the next stage of life, and contingency plans to deal with changes.
I've been writing about YOUR future, and asking...
What can you know about your future?
What can you do about your future?
It's YOUR Future... Make it a Good One! is a step-by-step guide to understanding and planning your life and your future. More importantly, this book will show you how to prepare for and achieve the future you want.
For decades Futurists, businesses and governments around the world have been applying methods that lets them understand, explore and plan for the future. More importantly, they have learned how to influence and change the future.
Now those methods have been scaled down to be used by individuals, families, and small businesses. The methods that governments and larger companies have been using successfully are now available to you.
In this book the methods are scaled down to fit the life of one individual, a family or a team. Starting with the stages of life, understanding these life stages can be like having a map to your future.
Each method and tool for understanding or exploring your future is explained in detail. Examples are included to help you to look into your long term future (ten years or more).
What’s more, as a “how to” guide to futurist methods, you will learn about the methods of foresight and futures studies including scenario development, visioning and strategic planning. Once you understand how these methods work and how they work together, you can apply them in any size organization.
Another important benefit of this book and learning the methods of foresight, you will also develop a long term perspective, a view of life and the world that naturally includes the future. A long term perspective is a valuable personal attribute, and a sought after attribute of leadership.
“It’s Your Future” will guide you to create scenarios about future events, how to interpret and understand the trends and forces that shape your life and change the world around you.
Order the book below, on the next page (Books and Workbooks), or from your favorite book store.
Stages of Life, your map to the future!
Descriptions of life stages can be found in early Greek literature from the time of Hippocrates, and are based on observable changes in individuals during life, primarily based on biology. I’ve replaced the last stage, “Old Age” (which begins at age 55 in psychological literature) with four stages that I believe more accurately reflect life today.
As important as the stages themselves are, so are the change periods between stages, which are sometimes difficult. Preparation and understanding help. Below are listed ten life stages, with a very brief descriptive names for each stage. Note that after age sixty, the stages are no longer related to chronological age.
- Young adult
- Middle age
- Independent elder
- Vulnerable elder (Optional)
- Dependent elder (Optional
- End of life (Optional)
It may be helpful to note that since the last three stages of life are health related, they are optional and not everyone experiences all of them. It is also noteworthy that there seems to be a trend toward compressing these three stages into a shorter period of time at the end of an increasingly longer life.
Your family and your future
Which life stage are you in now? Which stages are your children in? Your parents? What is the next stage for each of you? Understanding the life stages of your family members helps you prepare for the changes in their lives and the resulting impacts on your life. Understanding your life stages offers several insights into your future.
1. The stages illustrate the continuity and progression of life through ten stages.
2. The change from each stage to the next identifies major periods of change in your life.
3. The stages invite visualization--- images, of each of the life stages in your future.
4. Each stage identifies a time frame for planning .
To begin planning for your futures, look at the life stage images above and determine which life stage you are in now. Next, determine for which stage you want to create scenarios and a strategic plan. If you are only a few years into your present life stage, plan for this stage. If you have less than five years remaining in this stage, plan for the remainder of this stage and the next stage together. In middle age or Independent stage, plan for the next ten years.
Although you will probably do detailed exploration and planning for only one stage at this time, it is important that you look ahead to the other stages, all the way to the end of life, so you will have a view of your entire life. You will find that decisions you make early in life will have impacts on later life, and a full life view will be helpful.
On the "Videos" page, there is a short video about Life Stages.
On the "Free Downloads" page you can download a copy of "The Personal Futures Workbook" available in several languages.
Scenarios are simply stories about the future, your future! My book, It's YOUR Future, Make it a Good One! describes different kinds of scenarios and how to construct each of them.
• The Extending the Present Scenario
• The Positive Scenario
• The Negative Scenario
• The Wild Card Scenario
• The Aspirational Scenario
It's YOUR Future...Make it a Good One! and the Personal Futures Workbook explain how to collect information about your life and your future. That information will help you build useful scenarios.
The purpose of building these scenarios is to help you understand the possibilities and the probabilities for your future, and to help you plan and make choices for your future.
Personal Strategic Planning
When completed, your Strategic Plan will have four key parts:
• Your vision of your future.
• Your strategies for achieving that vision.
• An Action Plan for implementing your strategies
• A Contingency Plan
Your vision of your future-
This will be a sentence or two that describes your image of how you would like your life to be in the future. Emphasis here is on your desired or preferred future. You can have a vision for your entire life, and a more specific one for one stage of life. If you find it difficult to envision your future, review your domains and your scenarios. A helpful tool for developing a vision of your future is the Personal Futures Wheel, which builds on basic mind maps or futures wheels.
Ask yourself what you want your future to be in each domain of your life, then summarize that into a statement.
If you have trouble coming up with a vision, try going somewhere quiet, where you can be alone, close your eyes and think about your preferred future, and what life will be like for you at that time. If you aren’t used to thinking or contemplating like this, try it. It works!
Strategies to achieve your vision-
For your preferred scenario, develop strategies to achieve that scenario. Review your other scenarios and devise strategies to deal with futures that may occur. For the negative or “worst plausible” scenario where everything goes wrong, devise strategies to prevent or avoid that future. Also consider “If…then” strategies. “If this happens, then my strategy becomes…”
Scanning your environment-
It is important to be aware of changes in your community and the national economy as well as changing social or technological trends in the world around you. This awareness of your environment should be built into your strategies and action plans. This can translate into simple awareness – for example, when you make travel plans, whenever financial markets are changing, when weather patterns change and when politics bring about change.
Action plans for your future-
Now you must turn your strategies into actions. What actions must you take, starting today, to achieve your preferred future? One technique to help develop action plans is called “backcasting.” Imagine yourself in a future scenario, having achieved your goals and preferences for that stage of life. What year is it? Write that year at the top-left of a page of paper, then list each year backward to the present. From the top, identify the steps you took in each year to achieve your vision and that scenario. Identify key steps, which will become goals as you work toward this future.
Book Reviews of It's YOUR Future...Make it a Good One!
Following are book reviews posted on Amazon
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2016
I recommend everyone whom lost in life journey should read this book. You will always find how easy to find a new way out in this book.
Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2016
It was with great pleasure that I received this book as a gift from the author, someone whom other reviewers have pointed out is not only highly respected in his field, but a darned nice person to boot! While I was already familiar with the work of futurists in relation to business and even social and political spheres, I hadn't seen anyone apply the tools and techniques concerned with anticipating and designing the future to one's personal life before.
Many of us "live" in the future in terms of dreaming or even planning how we would like it to be. But how often do we do this in any systematic, conscious way? Dr. Wheelwright takes the reader step-by-step through a process for avoiding what so many end up having to face: a future that surprises them at best, shocks them at worst. This isn't a book to skim through, but one to work through. It does require the reader to really think about all the areas that make up a fulfilling and meaningful life, at different life stages. The exercises and examples in particular caused me to pay more attention to the external opportunities and threats (the STEEP categories) that might blindside me--were I not aware of them.
It occurred to me while reading that this might make for an interesting, even enjoyable activity for partners to do together. Certainly I'd recommend parents to buy their teenagers a copy and help them work with the various tools so they perhaps feel more in control of their futures.
In this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world we live in--which is never going to go back to how things used to be (slower paced; less "disruptive")--the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones is the ability of foresight. To look at the future not as a single inevitable outcome but as a range of possibilities, plausibilities, and probabilities that we, to the extent we pay attention and actively manage our lives, can often choose and direct. Dr. Wheelwright helps make that possible. For which I am very grateful.
Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2018
I highly recommend this work for those who want to consider their personal or family’s future, and then map a course towards what they want their future to be. Many books teach you how to set goals, or provide motivation towards reaching for them, but this book is different in that it provides the tools you need to examine the possible paths, the preferable path to reach your goal, and an understanding of potential disruptive events and contingency planning to cope with them.
A few years ago, I was considering my career and where I wanted it to go. Although I had a respectable job in a good company, I was not enthused about the career path I was on. I was unhappy working in finance, and it showed in my work and personal life. Previously, I had read about the emerging discipline of strategic foresight (futurism) and began to examine a possible career switch. During my study, I came across Dr. Wheelwright’s work which applies the principles of foresight used in academic and organizational settings and applies them to your personal life.
Utilizing his work, I examined where I was, the driving forces in my life, and which and when those forces might change. Looking at where I wanted to be, I began to utilize the recommended futures wheel, and scenarios to examine and compare my preferable future with the possible future if I did not make the needed changes. I then brought my wife into the conversation and including her input, we further examined the possible, probable and preferable futures for me, her and us. Not only did I expose my wife to the tools of the futurist, but together we charted a path that has allowed me to pursue what is my life’s passion and new career.
Disclosure: After using Dr. Wheelwright’s work, I began my path as a futurist and joined the Association of Professional Futurists where I met him at an event and now consider him a professional colleague.
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2014
If you are serious about planning for your future, this book is a very good start. It clearly maps out the various steps you need to take to create a personal, strategic plan. It will help you analyze your life stages (there are 10), your life events, values, driving forces, etc. in order to understand the rest of your life. You will be able to use this in-depth, personal research to construct various "personal scenarios" that you can plan for.
I also like the different scenarios explored in the book: positive, negative, wild card, and aspirational, (as well as examples using the two axis matrix.) There are worksheets by chapter references, and a list of courses and universities offering programs in foresight and futures studies. Anyone who deals in futures would also find this book interesting, i.e. how to apply the concepts to one's personal life.
2 people found this helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2016
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2010
Ask any wizard today and he will tell you that predicting the future with a crystal ball is old hat. The reliability factor is less than 20%. If the ball clouds up, as many are wont to do, accuracy goes way down. Not so with Verne Wheelwright's book, "It's Your Future...Make it a Good One." A crystal ball might tell you where you might be in a nebulous future, whereas `Wizard' Wheelwright is more specific and asks, `Where do you want to be ten years from now.' Then it's up to you to plan the actions you must take to arrive at your ten-year goal. Your planning is done in ten-year segments. During the first ten years your actions will probably be specific and easy to visualize. The planning for succeeding segments will be more general until you complete each ten-year unit when you are then able to devise more specific actions to reach your modified goal. The program detailed in Mr. Wheelwright's book is applicable to anyone at any age - even senior citizens advanced in years who might say they don't have much of a future left. To them I'd suggest, `Would you like to be in heaven within the next ten years? Then read the book for what you might do to make it happen.' "It's Your Future..."highly recommended. It's a reference manual for a lifetime. Don Clifford. Author, Ben Solomon.
Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2012
This book provides a clear framework for thinking about your personal future. Its content is based on the theory and practice of strategic foresight for organisations, translated very effectively for personal use.
It's a framework to help you think more deeply about what will matter to you in your future. It's not a template that requires you to fill in every blank box, but rather to consider the issues raised. Like any thinking about the future it requires you to interpret what has been provided for your situation, and your issues and asks you to not just blindly tick boxes or write a few words which many strategic planning books give you - this lets you think you have thought deeply about your future, but you haven't. With this book, you have to spend time thinking - this is not a 'one size fits all' approach and approaching it like that will generate views like the only one star review this book has earned.
The author is a nice person; I know Verne from my work in the futures/foresight community and I was spurred on to write this review when I read the one star review. Thinking about the future takes time, deep thinking and an open mind. It seems to meet the one star reviewer didn't want to spend the time thinking deeply to apply the framework to their personal situation rather than taking each word literally, or worse, have an open mind that would allow them to move beyond the tick the box syndrome that now afflicts all planning in organisations.
I work with people planning their future all the time - this book is a good one for planning your personal future, and I highly recommend it.
2 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2011
Verne Wheelwright has created a body of work on personal futures, including this book and an accompanying workbook. His goal is to take the ways futurists think about what's shaping organizations, technologies, cities, countries, and so on, and help individuals apply those approaches to their personal lives.
Verne writes that you can know a lot about your future, shape it to be what you want it to be, and avoid a lot of unpleasant things that can happen along the way. You can do that "by simply thinking about your future in a systematic manner [using a] system that leads you through the exploration of your future and then shows you how to decide on and achieve the future you want."
What could be more valuable or important than that? And yet how rare it is for people to think beyond a broad vision about their life and its possibilities. Most of us, even if we've taken a 30-year mortgage, have not made our expectations about our life 30 years out clear or complete.
This is a unique body of work and may be a terrific resource for you to come to grips with your future, and have the best chance to make it what you want it to be. What it does so well is to open up, and add concreteness to your thinking. Thought most of us have some idea about what we want in life, too often we don't know enough about what we will do, and what it will take to get there, nor about the things we will confront along the way (e.g. aging parents, dependent adult children, career changes, financial crises, financial windfalls, etc.)
Get the book! and then have a look at Verne's PersonalFutures.net website where you can also get his workbook as a free download.
3 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2012
While futurism is commonly associated with big trends and abstract concepts, Verne Wheelwright brings it down to the personal level in this great read. In the end, all those many future possibilities boil down to only one future: your personal future -- which by then has become a unique present. The book shows individuals how to use futures methods to conduct personal futures planning. The book advises 3 ways of learning: Learn about your own future, Learn to think long term, Learn to use futures methods. I think it is particularly useful for young professionals who are facing a multitude of choices in their career. Gives them a good grip.
The subtitle of "Its Your Future..." is: "Make it a Good One!" and that creates exactly the right tone of voice. In the free download workbook you can fill in a personal SWOT-analysis -- very funny to see how two completely different worlds can be combined. (And basically, combining the uncombined is the essence of innovation.)
To me, the book was a real eyeopener. It urged me to pay more attention to the personal lives of the people in my audience. The want to hear about "What's in it for me", and notably less about "What's in it for the neighbors and for the planet".
Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2011
Dr. Wheelwright has created what could be the best work on personal futures out there today. The book presents a clear method for looking at the future that is appropriate for both the professional, and for those that have no prior knowledge of what futures studies is.
Dr. Wheelwright distills a method for examining the future, employed by Futurists and foresight professionals, and let's you apply it to your personal life in a way that is both easy to understand and highly actionable.
I couldn't recommend it more!
Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2013
The best way to predict your future is to create it. In it's YOUR Future...: Make it a Good One Dr. Verne Wheelwright teaches you the steps you can take in order to develop a road map for living the life you want to live. Full of thought provoking ideas, this book is well written and an excellent guide for exploring scenarios of what your life could possibly look like in ten years or more.
Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2010
It's all here with charts and diagrams...but more than that it's a remarkably concise picture of the obstacles that serious people encounter when trying to organize their lives.
Obviously, Verne Wheelwright has thought and studied long and hard to guide people who want to efficiently create and maintain order on the upward path they are climbing to a "good" future.
For everyone from the casual planner to the most serious. ****
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2012
Thanks for bringing foresight methods and approaches used by successful organizations to our individual lives Verne. The book is pragmatic in it's worksheets and assignments while also inspiring in sharing futures studies theory to guide us in planning our preferred future.
Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2012
This is a great book. It can benefit everyone. It is well-written, clear and concise and easy to understand. This book shows you how to prepare for the future. Highly recommended.
Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2012
Something for everyone....business or personal. Great read for your inner self. I read it twice!!!! If you are wondering what tomorrow will bring your way....then this is the book for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2016
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