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How to manifest the future you want, with just 4 pages of paper

Sitting in one of my favorite places in Baku, in one of the local hotel lobbies. Me and my coach just finished our second session. During the conversation, he was asking me questions, he was forcing me to envision & to depict in detail. He was asking me to describe feelings, items, locations and actions in depth. While answering those questions, I started developing a new framework, a new concept. A working concept to help me and people like yourself, to figure things out and find answers at a crossroads of a career. It is a concept called 4 pages or 4P’s.


October 27th, 9 pm Baku and I just have finished my long session. I usually come to this lobby bar during daytime, I never visited it on a weekend evening. I had no idea that they do live music here. The lady just sang one of my favorite songs by Lenny Kravitz - Low & then moved on to very current and commercial songs. Therefore, I am wearing my chunky headphones again, with my legs crossed & laptop on my lap. In my ears I am hearing LP’s vibrating, soothing, husky and yet warm voice is singing Muddy Waters's song live at Harvard & Stone. I like voices with very clear dictation and unique distinctive features. The kind of voices, which make you want to learn and follow. The ones that sound musical without being accompanied by music.


It seems so weird to sit here on a Friday night wearing sweatpants, whilst people are walking in to have romantic dates or are gathering for drinks. Men wearing dress shoes, ladies wearing dresses or leather pants. Here I am with a bunch of leftover papers from my session with a coach, my fourth single shot of iced Americano & white Nike Air Force 1’s on my feet.


As I pointed earlier, the idea for this concept was inspired by a conversation with Salem, the fictional name of my coach. Welcome Salem to my written & hand-crafted two dimensional world. Which is so, from the reader's point of view. However, in my envisioning, it is all deriving from my inner multi-dimensional viewpoint, which is not 2D at all.


Therefore, Salem and I went through a batch of A4 papers. I was using the papers & small borrowed pencil to answer his questions. I was giving a lot of abbreviations, pie charts, tables, examples, fictional names & numbers within those pages. At one point Salem asked me to envision and choose a specific date in the future and gave me a very specific task: “Describe that day to me, where do you wake up? What do you do after you wake up? Where are you? What do you accomplish? Who do you meet? How does it all feel? How do you end that day? Why do you do all of that? What purpose does it all serve?”

Before she finished vocalizing all the details of that task, I was already smiling. For one simple reason, coincidence. However, there are no coincidences in this world, everything is happening for a reason. Sometimes for a lesson, sometimes for an experience, sometimes for happiness, for relief, for suffering, for whimsy, for irony or in this case for a divine message from the universe. “Practice what you preach, Rashad!”. She asked me to do something I have been advising people to do for the past two weeks. My pre-written mental model of the 4-page concept also starts with a similar task. Which is envisioning future lifestyle & exact date.


Let me explain the 4Ps now…buckle up. If you are at a career crossroads, I need your focus.


I have a friend, her name is Rosalina. She is experiencing a lot of questions that need to be addressed. One of the main pillar questions is about her career. Rosalina is trying to figure out her calling, her career moves, her future & the source of her future income. Rosalina is a diamond in the rough in terms of strength of character and potential. She has not discovered the heights of her potential yet, she is not aware. If she makes the right judgement calls, rational decisions, educated guesses & calculated risks, then - she will strive for greatness! Thanks to Lebron James I am using this statement a lot.


Rosalina and I were texting and I was trying to help her out by envisioning various scenarios for her. That conversation led to the creation of the concept of 4Ps. In her time of need. However, I do not know yet, if she took my guidance. Nonetheless, a concept or a “flow” was created. The concept of 4 pages is addressing a specific question


“Böyüyəndə nə olmaq istəyirsən, kim olmaq istəyirsən?”

or

 “Who do you want to be, when you grow up?”

The beautiful part of this concept is that it does not only apply to kids and teenagers. It applies to anyone who is not fully satisfied with their career choice. Moreover, it applies to anyone who does not feel the alignment of their job with their true sense of being. Finally, it applies to anyone who wishes to keep searching for the greener side of the grass. Ain't no problem with that too. What Salem and I have in common is the following, we need constant fuel. Every 2-4 years we need a new boost, a new project, a new passion, a hobby or anything that will keep us on that edge. Where we enjoy being & where we outperform our previous selves.


Let me remind you that, Salem is my coach & right now I am searching for that new fuel. It is the reason why we started working together. Salem creates a safe space for me, whilst challenging me with his questions. Not a lot of people ask me, a sequence of challenging questions. He puts me in uncomfortable hypothetical situations, to search for the truth, which I already know. His questions, serve the purpose of being my flashlight! Which I appreciate a lot.


Switching back to Rosalina's conversation now, are you still with me? Nod, if you are and let’s move on.

This is how I described the 4Ps to her and later described it to 5 more people, including Salem himself.


4P CONCEPT


Take a piece of A4 paper and write down the lifestyle you dream of having. Be descriptive about it, where you want to wake up. How do you start your day? What do you do first? Who are you surrounded by? What do you eat first? What does the bed feel like? What do you wear that specific day? Where do you go, who do you meet? Are you driving? Walking? Sailing? Flying or just sitting around and smoking a cigar? Describe that lifestyle for yourself, write it down, envision it & see if you want it. When you are done. Take another piece of A4 paper.


On paper number two, write down the career paths, industries or jobs. Which are not able to give you that lifestyle before retirement, while you are still actively working or maybe even at retirement. For example, if you do not like to wear suits at all, write down “private banking” or any other job that clearly states a requirement to put on that armor and shield. If you would not like to give public speeches, write down things like “Academia” or professions that require a public speech on a daily basis. You get the idea. On this paper, we are Sherlocks, who use a method of deduction. We write off things, which can not give you things & experiences you wrote down on paper number 1.


When you are done with being Sherlock Holmes, take another one (DJ Khaled♫). This stage is the hardest part, because this is the stage I struggled the most with. Speaking of my own experience, I must say, paper number three took a lot of my effort and processing power. Here is what you write on this piece of paper. You try to think of your core skills and strengths. For the love of God, please do not write down your characteristics. I see a lot of occasions, where people write down their traits and characteristics under the strength column on their resumés.


Let me outline the difference between Skills & Characteristics.


Characteristics


Characteristics (or traits) involve a person’s personality and preferred behaviours. When we talk about characteristics we mean signifiers of a person’s personality, such as ‘extraversion’ and ‘need for achievement’. Characteristics influence a person’s talents and interests directly but they are not the same. One important aspect of characteristics is that a person cannot simply change them. Therefore, characteristics cannot have a value attached to them because we’re talking about people’s personalities. Too often we see that a judgment of a person’s value is made based on characteristics. This means that judgements are formed on someone’s personality.


Talents


Talents are related to characteristics because they are also innate to a person and related to a person’s interests and preferences. However, talents are a bit more tangible and typically value can be attached to them. A talent in itself already means something positive. You never hear people say ‘He can’t do that because he has a talent for it’. With talents, we are talking about personal strengths that can come into use in professional as well as personal life.


Skills are a whole different thing. Skills involve abilities and knowledge that can be obtained. Talents can lie based on skills as they can influence to what extent a skill can be learned and owned by a person. The big difference is that skills are abilities that are learned by a person in life and do not say anything about a person’s personality, but rather about their ability. We typically divide skills into soft and hard skills, soft skills being social and cultural skills and hard skills being more technical skills and knowledge. That division can be very helpful in mapping your skills.

So why is there such a mix-up? The answer is simple: these three are related to each other and they can all be relevant for employers. It is simply easier to put them together when defining job criteria. However, despite their relatedness, they are very different and we should be cautious in mixing them up. Characteristics and talents cannot be changed by someone and we need to avoid asking people to change their personality.


It’s important to recognize the difference and appropriately separate characteristics, talents and skills. So next time someone says ‘I need a self-confident analyst who has good social skills and is not afraid to take risks’ ask yourself: which of these attributes are characteristics, talents and skills?


Here is the source.


Now let’s pivot back to paper number 3. Put down your strengths & skills! You do not need your SWOT Analysis yet. You just need the two S’s. You can differentiate skills from talents & characteristics now. You can do it! When you are done with it, take the last paper.


The missing piece, number 4.


On the last piece of paper, you are going to give a connection to the piece number 3. Here is what you should do. Write down, industries, jobs, careers, paths & journeys that, have those two S’s as “must have” criteria. For example, if you can process data, work with numbers fast & have a strong analytical skill. Think of industries where it can be applied the best, will get the most value & will generate the most revenue (If that is what floats your boat). If you are good with a pencil & can draw or sketch pretty much anything, that's another path. In this case, imagine a path where those skills will be valued the most. Keep writing until it feels like you are done, even the most outrageous and farfetched professions. Be bold, be brave, be ballsy! Fortune favors the bold!


At this stage, you have pretty much completed the 4P journey. Here is what you should do now: go along with your day, get some sleep, take a nap, go out & do whatever the f*** you want. The hard part is over.


If the answer you have been searching for, has not come to you yet. Lay the pieces of paper on your desk. Every time you pass by, have a glance. Browse through it every day, look at it, envision some of it & dream about it. If you feel great about doing some research or asking your mentor about it all, go do that. The answer will come to you sooner or later. Follow the thought patterns, be inspired by this journey of the search and recognize the signals! Nothing is a coincidence. Be your own flashlight and the answer will come!



Pura Vida

Rashad


3 Comments


👍🙏👌👌

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Fuck, i need to do that! even though i am happy with my current achievements, i am sure there is a lot more i am apable of! Thanks! 💯

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good luck:)

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