“Nothing happens unless first a dream.” – Carl Sandburg

In today’s fast-paced, everything’s possible, instant global access world we live in, most people have more freedom and opportunity than in any period in history. We can do almost anything, go anywhere or be whatever we want. The paradox is that many people don’t know what they want for their life. Most have only a vague or incoherent image of their future.

You can help.

By asking one MAGIC question, you can help other people (and yourself) to clarify what’s IMPORTANT in their future. The question is called a “future review” question.

Here’s how it works: Ask the people around you:

“Imagine that you and I are talking three years from today, and you are looking back over the three year period, what would have happened during that time that makes you happy?”

It’s as easy as that.

And what do you do next? Just sit back and listen very attentively. You have just asked that other person to describe their PREFERRED FUTURE.

Some people will respond immediately with the enthusiasm of someone who is painting a portrait of their life, as they desire it to be. Many others will have difficulty answering this question. Some may not want to tell you. In any case, their response will tell you volumes about them.

Let’s look at the possibilities.

With those people who readily answer your question, you will likely have an interesting conversation about what is most important to them and what would make them satisfied. In those cases where you can value-add to their preferred future, or where you can help them achieve their desired results, you have the basis for a long and satisfying business relationship. In cases where you cannot help them, perhaps you can recommend a resource that can.

The famous speaker, Zig Zigler, says, “You can get anything you want in this life if you help enough other people get what they want out of life.” The future review question can open the door for doing business together, pursuing joint ventures or just for a terrific conversation.

With people who have difficulty answering your future review question, help them by asking a series of smaller questions. Help them articulate the things that are important to them. Ask them about:

What they would like to do,
Where they would like to go,
What they would like to have
How they would prefer spending their time,
What kind of people they want to be with.

This can be a very creative and stimulating discussion.

It’s not unusual for someone to have a fuzzy or incomplete image of his or her short-term future. This is not, after all, how most of us were taught to think. Yet, one of the greatest services you can perform for these people is to coach them to think through and talk out loud about their desired outcomes. And, here again, if you can help make their future come true for them, you have just established the foundation for a great business relationship.

What about the people who refuse to answer your future review question?

Their unwillingness to answer likely means one of two things. First, their commitment may be to the past, not the future. They may not have thought about their future as something where they have any influence. Secondly, their unwillingness to share their desired future with you indicates a lack of trust. In either case, you have no basis for a business relationship.

Some people don’t have the courage or desire to dream, or they don’t trust you enough to share their thoughts with you. Don’t waste your time how to weight loss. Move on to someone else.

When should you ask the future review question? Think of it this way. When do you want to know if you have a basis for a mutually satisfying business relationship? Ask early and ask often.

We have been discussing this future review question in terms of business situations. How useful would you think it would be to ask this same question of friends and family?

What might you learn? For starters, you’ll learn what would make them happy. You then have the most wonderful opportunity to help them pursue the desired future that will bring happiness to them. Instead of second-guessing what it would take for your friend or family member to be happy and satisfied, ask. You’ll not only have the fun of helping make their dreams come true, but just asking the magic question of friends and family creates the most fascinating conversations.

The future review question is not really a magic question. It just works like magic. And, by the way, it works not just for the people around you. It works for you, too.

Let me ask you a question.

“Imagine that you and I are talking three years from today, and you are looking back over the three year period, what would have happened during that time that makes you happy?”

Your turn.

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