How Writing A Letter to My Future Self Saved My Career

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Lan Alexander, FAADOM

I remember the day clearly. I was in my home office contemplating if I should switch careers due to feeling an overwhelming sense of burnout when my husband plopped the mail onto my desk. An envelope stood out to me in the pile of usual bills and flyers. It was the letter that I had written to my future self at the AADOM conference in 2021. I had completely forgotten about it and was pleasantly surprised to see it now.

I opened my letter carefully and as I read the words of encouragement that reminded me of my “why,” I knew I had my answer. There was no way I was ready to leave the dental industry. I was not done taking care of patients and being a leader for my team. This letter was exactly what I needed and somehow it had arrived at an extremely pivotal and important moment in my life.

AADOM knew exactly what they were doing when they asked us to complete that activity. It was a tough year trying to survive working through a pandemic and now we were finally at the long-awaited conference. We were together again and it still felt surreal. When they announced the activity, I remember looking at the card and wondering if I would actually participate. It was out of my comfort zone to write a letter to myself, but I did it because I knew that someday I would receive it and it would give me the strength that I needed to continue forward.

The themed card started with the quote by Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into visible.” After that, you could address the letter to whomever you wanted and there were blank lines to capture your handwritten thoughts, dreams, aspirations, reminders, comments, and goals. I know that at the time, I didn’t even fully grasp its importance and now I smile knowing how much of an impact my own words had on me.

Writing a letter to your future self is a great exercise because it allows you to envision your future goals.

The letters can begin with a quote, a question, or no prompt at all. You can reflect on where you are now and where you want to grow. You can remind yourself of your purpose and the reasons you got started on your journey in the first place. Like a photograph, you can capture this moment in time in your own words and give yourself a memory of a “past you” to look back on and cherish how far you’ve come.

Writing to yourself can be very therapeutic and thought-provoking. It can help you work through current issues and present possible solutions. It can also be a way to show your gratitude and appreciation for certain events or people in your life. It allows you to be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to be vulnerable.

You can also write to a friend, a mentor, a spouse, or a boss and express your gratitude and appreciation for them. Sometimes in the midst of everything going on in life, we can forget to thank people for all that they’ve done to help guide us, support us, and teach us. Imagine the delight and joy that can be created by doing this meaningful activity.

I still have the letter I wrote myself that day in my office. It serves as an important reminder that I can persevere in challenging and tough situations. I have to thank AADOM for knowing what I needed even before I did.

It saved my career and for that, I will be forever grateful.

About the Author

Headshot of Lan Alexander

Lan Alexander, FAADOM grew up in Cambridge, MA, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience. Lan’s dental career passions include creating a positive, fulfilling work culture and providing exemplary service to patients.

She has been an AADOM member since 2017 and serves as a board member for the Boston Chapter of AADOM. Lan received her AADOM Fellowship, (FAADOM) in 2019 and is pursuing her AADOM Mastership, (MAADOM), to be inducted in 2022.

Outside of work, Lan loves spending time with her husband, Ron. She loves movies, exploring new restaurants, and going on walks.

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