Converting ideas into concrete action is always tough. We read books, attend conference, book on training courses, have great chats at meet-ups and the ideas start flowing. We get excited to try out new things…
…and then reality kicks-in and we have no time to do them. All sort of pressures, diversions and interruptions get on the way and, eventually, those seed ideas go to a dark place in our memory where they never blossom into something practical.
So, at the end of my classes, talks and workshops I offer people a voluntary activity I call “Letter to my future self”. In that letter, I ask each person to reflect on what they have seen and thought and try to capture three things they would like to do in 30 days. They write them in a blank postcard and put the postcard in a self-addressed envelope. I never know what they have written to themselves. That’s private.
30 days later, I post the envelop to them and they get that freaky moment when you get a letter in your own handwriting reminding yourself of those ideas you wanted to put in place.
This is particularly relevant for my Kanban training, where we aim to ensure we provide “pragmatic, actionable guidance”, but extends to all my other training courses and activities.
In my experience, it is a great way to add an extra dimension to your closing-out activities (C4 activity in Training from the back of the room). It is also a very effective way to follow-up with the class, reconnect, check how things are progressing and, when needed, help out with any questions.
The amount of messages I get back saying things like “wow, I did 2 of 3 so far” or “Great, it made me look around and had not realised how much things have progressed” as well as the “Oh no! I have not done any of these. Thanks for reminding me (myself!)”.
I discovered this technique a few years ago thanks to Gosia Gocłowska, a behavioural scientist then at the University of Kent. When I got my own self-addressed postcard at home 30 days later, the impact on me was pretty astonishing.
Give it a go. Write a letter to your future self.