If you had to find your way from your emotional and physical rock bottom to a place of lasting wellbeing and happiness would you know how to do it?
Could you navigate your way through an addiction, financial ruin, toxic relationships, parenting challenges and still find the courage and confidence to live your dream and be your best possible future self on the other side of it?
For most of us just the idea of facing any one of these adversities is the stuff of our deepest fears. What I discovered from one of my amazing colleagues, Caroline Adams Miller, who navigated her way through every one of these challenges to a life in which she clearly flourishes, is sometimes the worst things that could happen to us turn out to be the greatest opportunities for learning.
Want to know how she discovered her best possible future self?
Why Is Caroline So Positive?
I met Caroline while I was completing my Masters of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Tall, striking and confident and at the time about to publish her fifth book (no less) “Creating Your Best Life” to connect the science of happiness with the science of goal setting, she seemed like a woman who had it all happening.
What I didn’t appreciate until much later was what she’d had to navigate to reach this point of flourishing and how she was using all she’d learnt to maintain her balance as the journey continued unfolding.
Caroline’s newest book “Positively Caroline” is a sequel to her best-selling “My Name Is Caroline” which was the first major autobiography by a bulimia survivor. “Positively Caroline” picks up where the first book ended, and includes a detailed look at how the science of flourishing can assist others with long-term addiction recovery.
While this journey alone makes the book well worth reading, it was the challenges put to Caroline by one of her counsellors asking: “so who are you if you’re not achieving or proving your worth financially to others?” that had me sitting up and taking notes. As Caroline came to realize that the problem with being the best – no matter who you are – is that it never seems to last, I felt like she was lighting a path forward on an issue so many of us struggle with.
Having found her best possible future self, these days Caroline is a well-known coach, author, speaker and educator in the fields of empowerment, change, wellbeing and the science of goal accomplishment. She’s often interviewed in the media and was kind enough to join me for this special episode of Chelle McQuaid TV to share her story and her number one coaching tip for people who want to move from functioning to flourishing.
Are You Ready To Meet Your Best Possible Future Self?
One of the positive psychology exercises Caroline recommends to many of her clients wanting to create lasting change in their lives is called “Best Possible Future Self”. Created by Professor Laura King from the University of Missori-Columbia, to write for twenty minutes a day, for three days in a row, imagining that everything in your life was going as well as it possibly could.
Caroline explains writing about one’s possible selves can enhance self-regulation because it provides an opportunity to learn about yourself, to gain insight into, and restructure your priorities, and to better understand your motives and emotional reactions. Thus, this exercise may serve to integrate life experiences into a meaningful framework and allow you to gain a feeling of control.
Not only that, but imagining success in your life goals can boost your psychological wellbeing, improve your performance and bring to bear a variety of benefits associated with positive thinking, potentially helping to increase and sustain your happiness levels.
You can find the research and instructions on how to complete the Best Possible Future Self on Caroline’s website here.
What would your best possible future self look like?