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  • Writer's pictureGary Stokes Healing

Five Years in the Future Meet Up

Hello Everyone,

The purpose of writing this blog is to share from my own experience and examine the benefits gained from using role play to answer the popular job interview question 'Where do you see yourself five years from now?' The planning and playing out of this role can cover all aspects of one's life as shared at a 'five years in the future' meet up where all participants play their roles as if the future is playing out now!

In reviewing my own experience of such a meet up, first I go back to one day in the Spring of 2011, when I felt I was in something of a rut and 'going nowhere' in life, I had shared my feelings of frustration about this with a close and life long friend, whose response was to ask me (and I quote):

Maybe - an idea - could you write me an email describing the life you would LOVE to live...what you'd do/where you'd live/who'd be around you, etc. etc.

I'm very grateful they asked this of me. I still feel inspired as I read their suggestion today. In reading my detailed response again now, I am in the fortunate position of being able to review what has transpired with some peace of mind, even though some goals were reached and some not. I'm also able to consider how unexpected circumstances, be it job redundancy or the passing of a family member, can also influence the course of one's life.

Some years after I had responded to my close friend, I was able to take the visualisation process to whole new - and very exciting! - level. One evening in Autumn 2015 I experienced the playing out of the 'Five years in the future' meet up role and found it to be hugely uplifting and insightful!

Time Travellers

Having agreed to meet for a one to one with my friend who had suggested the meet up, I was determined to be well prepared. in the hope of keeping things realistic, my five year story (covering 2010 to 2015) wasn't without a few setbacks along the way. For example, having approached and been rejected by every book publisher I could find, I decided to re-write parts of my book before eventually getting it published two years later ...and then enjoying its success, of course(!). 'What book?' I hear you say. Okay, the greater reality is that if one wants to get a book published, then first you have to write it! But by contrast there are ways in which I have now achieved more than I had planned for the five years ahead, an example being my qualifying as a counsellor and hypnotherapist and taking on clients.

The meet up was a lot of fun, and even to the point where someone sitting nearby commented on our levels of enthusiasm and laughter. Additionally, at one point during the meet up there was an unexpected and interesting emotional triggering which took place. While taking a break to use the bathroom I passed an area of our meeting place where I would (in 2015) regularly meet up with a wonderful group of friends, and I suddenly experienced an overwhelming feeling of melancholia as I was (five years in the future) no longer living nearby and so was reminded of how much I missed seeing these friends.

Another interesting aspect of the role playing is the different feelings one experiences depending on which areas of a visualised future one is focused on. I certainly got a sense of what was closest to my heart and what might be up for re-evaluation.

After 75 minutes of role playing, which had started from the point where we first met that evening, my fellow time traveller and I 'de-roled' and shared with each other how it felt, and agreed that much of it had been exhilarating and, quite simply, a lot of fun!

I haven't played out the five years in the future meet up since that occasion, but in writing about it now I am reminded of how I would love to do so again. I am also reminded of the importance of focusing on setting goals and reviewing them, considering more than working life and career only, and being as prepared as one might ever be for the unexpected.

I will finish with an additional note on the value of role play: for me it is a great way to fire up enthusiasm, and as I think about the 'future' role I am reminded of how role play can be an empowering experience in the contexts of, for example improv acting or as part of Dramatherapy, which are approaches which influence the way in which I work as a healing practitioner.

However, role play is certainly not for everyone, and the one to one approaches of counselling, hypnotherapy, or life coaching - which I am able to offer - are sometimes more suitable depending on the individual.

Whether you choose to try out the five years in the future meet up, or work alone or one to one with a vision board, or however you may wish to plan ahead, enjoy your future and enjoy preparing for it now!

Thank you for reading!

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