Curious about what the term ‘future-gifting’ is and want to learn more? Well, you’re in the right place. Here we’ll introduce you to the basics
If you find yourself here, I’m guessing it’s because your curiosity has been piqued by the familiar-sounding, yet curious term ‘future-gifting’. And, being the curious type, you’d like to learn some more.
Well, you’re in the right place.
This article will give you an introduction to the basics of future-gifting.
This should provide you with enough information to get up and running and develop your practice of future-gifting.
As there’s no time like your present to get started, let’s begin…
What is future-gifting?
In its simplest form, future-gifting is the straightforward, instinctive act of doing something in the present to support yourself (or those around you) in the future.
You can think of it as a method, tool or framework. Or, simply, a way of engaging with the world.
Before we look at a definition, here are just a few ways I’ve heard other people describe their practice of future-gifting:
Example one: a typical morning
Think about a typical morning in your busy household, which can be a chaotic start to the day. Your time can often be consumed by frenzied searches for misplaced books, shoes or keys, before you herd sleepy people out the door.
Now, think about how you’ll likely experience this chaos tomorrow.
And now contemplate a different possibility.
Getting everyone promptly out of the door would mean you’d gain a few precious moments to compose yourself ahead of your own busy day at work.
So, before going to bed, you clear your kitchen and pack bags ready for the following day.
You wake the following morning to a clear kitchen in which to prepare breakfast. Bags are packed so your morning is made more pleasant by sleepy people readying themselves for the day ahead, rather than scrambling about for lost items.
If you live in a busy household, you already know how these simple acts can transform your morning. Your start to the day improves from mild pandemonium to, if not perfect serenity, some semblance of calm.
Finally, you take a moment to thank yourself for making your morning begin more smoothly.
Example two: making a mark at work
Perhaps at work, you have an important regular client meeting coming up. You’re routinely prepared for the meeting’s main agenda. But, you’ve have noticed that the conversation frequently turns to wider topics of concern to the client that you feel less knowledgeable about. Your director always answers, but you feel a little awkward as you believe you have nothing concrete to contribute.
You spot a future need or wish: to have insight to add at the next meeting when this happens again.
You take 20 minutes to pull out a few articles on those topics to read. You note down three key issues and three key facts on your phone.
You are primed at the next meeting to show awareness of an issue that’s important to your client. You share your insight and ideas. Your director is also quietly impressed by your added contribution.
You give yourself a pat on the back for your earlier preparation.
What makes future-gifting powerful?
Now, you may well be thinking, how is future-gifting any different from my current toiling through a to-do list?
Isn’t it just slapping a name tag on the thousands of acts I perform everyday – washing, cleaning, tidying, sorting, working? After all, these acts help me in my future?
Well, what makes future-gifting different is that it shifts your attention away from what can feel like the drudgery of having to do something in the present. Rather, it focuses your attention on the opportunity to serve your future needs and wishes.
It shifts your perspective from a sense of obligation or burden ( “I have to do this…I need to do that…I should do…X”) to a sense of opportunity: “I get to help my self in the future do this/do this better…I get the chance to help others out in the future.”
How does future-gifting do this?
Future-gifting gets you thinking about new possibilities for your future.
It encourages you to imagine completely different approaches and alternate futures.
It invites you to think about new, efficient ways of doing your existing tasks.
As you consider what your future might look like, you begin to imagine how you might experience these new possibilities in the future. Just like in the examples above.
This is when your act of future-gifting starts to unlock some pretty remarkable things…