Awaken Possibility: The Power of the 5-Year Letter

I come from a place of possibilities and a world of dreamers.

As the daughter of two entrepreneurs, I had the opportunity to grow up in a home where dreaming was encouraged and anything was possible.

My imagination ran wild as a result of my dad’s storytelling and my love of reading and writing. My mind was transported to an imaginary place on a daily basis, where I could create my own reality of what was possible, rather than be confined by what the world told me “should” be.

Watching both of my parents intentionally pursue careers that used their skills, harnessed their passions, and made a difference in the world has fueled the way I approach my own career.

One of the many lessons my dad has taught me is the importance of having an effective life rather than a “successful” life. Over the years, both he and my mom have equipped me with tools that have helped me vision and dream about what that can mean for me. I’ve seen them “go for it” and dream big dreams.

My parents are more in love than they’ve ever been and are entering the prime of their careers in their 60s.

They’ll be celebrating 36 years of marriage in August and have been through their own journey of ups and downs to build a loving, lasting marriage. I admire their resilience and devotion to one another and their relationship.

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My dad, Michael Bryant, started his own business out of the fourth bedroom of my childhood home with a college degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in American History. He helps organizations and individuals connect and function more effectively. He invites them to dream about what is possible.

Since turning 65 last year, he’s often been asked the question, “When are you going to retire?”

His reply: “Retire from what, to what? I’m already doing what I love.”

My mom, Nancy, pursued a career in the male-dominated finance industry. She has had her own business for over a decade and had her best year ever in 2015. In the midst of that, she raised three children, contributed to her faith community, and earned her Master’s degree. She leads an effective life and approaches her work with integrity, honesty and poise and her family with love, encouragement, and selflessness.

Dreaming big extends beyond my parents’ relationship and careers. Many of us limit ourselves physically and use age as an excuse to stop actively engaging in our own lives.

They don’t.

My mom learned to swim in her late 50s and started competing in triathlons at an age when most of her peers are starting to slow down. She swims, bikes and runs for fun. She looks at least ten years younger than she is.

My dad is going to be 66 this year and is preparing to train for his 6th Ironman triathlon as my husband, Bill, prepares for his first. An Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and topped off with a 26.2 race – a marathon.

The race is set to take place in Lake Placid, New York in July. Seeing my dad pursue what’s possible and set aside the excuse of age as a limitation inspires me to think about what is possible in my own life.

My dad has always inspired the work I do, and one of the exercises he recommends to cast a vision for the future is the 5-year letter. He and my mom use it to dream about their future, and it’s amazing to see how much of what they’ve written in the past has come to be.

If you’re looking for inspiration to “go for it” and unlock what’s possible in your own life, check out this video that I posted on my blog Facebook page and YouTube channel and give it a try yourself.

In a nutshell, here’s how it works. Pretend you’re writing a letter to someone and write the date on the top five years into the future. Start the letter with this prompt:

“The past five years have been the happiest five years of my life…”

Let your mind wander.

Silence the “Who do you think you are?” and “That can’t be done” critics in your head. 

Tell your logical mind to take a hike. 

Write until you have nothing left to write.

And give yourself permission to dream.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Kayla

    Love this post! You are so positive, it’s great! It sounds like you have such great parents, it’s awesome they are so inspirational. We don’t fully appreciate our parents and their sacrifices until we get older and have some perspective on life. Thanks for the great post!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Kayla! I feel very blessed to have the parents I do, and I know I am who I am today because of all they’ve done for me and how they’ve led by example and supported everything I do. It’s an empowering feeling!

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