Vision – Your Amazing and Exciting Life
When people think of a vision, they picture some kind of dream that is big and unattainable. But this is not the only opinion out there, although it is the prevalent one. Others think a vision should be within reach to be motivating. I disagree with both of those extreme views, and I will do my best to explain why.
A vision is a dream, indeed. It’s using your imagination positively, to visualize what your life could look like in the future. When I say life, I mean everything. That includes your family, work, finances, environment, your home, your health—every aspect and area of your life.
Let’s debunk the first opinion: it doesn’t matter how big or small your vision is, if you have a mindset that it is always unattainable, you won’t have any incentive to work toward it. It will be just a store window against which you press your nose to stare at the cool stuff inside. You say, “I could have that one day,” and then you add, “But it’s impossible,” and you walk away. That mentality will hinder your ability to set goals to move toward your vision and act accordingly. So this way of thinking is essentially no good.
Now, to the second: when your vision is too much within reach, meaning too close in time or too small in scope, it appears too easy. When things seem too easy, we don’t feel energized toward attaining them. There’s no excitement and no urgency. Your vision is flat.
I believe that a proper vision should be somewhere in between. Your vision should seem impossible to attain, but you must set your mind in a place where you can see yourself already there. Forget about how big it is. Forget about the hurdles you envision along the way. The vision is not about that. The vision is about how you would feel if you were already there.
Let me add one more thing before we move on. Creating a vision for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that your life today is not great; it might even be amazing. You might be completely content and happy with it. That’s fine, and I commend you for it. Creating a vision for your life doesn’t mean you must always start from rock bottom. Absolutely not.
But remember that another, taller summit can shadow almost every peak. Just because you feel you’ve reached the top in any aspect of your life, doesn’t mean you can’t still think beyond that. Think bigger.
So, just because you feel you are in a delightful place in your life—something you should celebrate—doesn’t prevent you from thinking even bigger. At least that way of thinking will excite you to challenge yourself and not allow complacency to take over. Always question the status quo no matter how good that status quo seems to be!
What Is Vision and What Isn’t?
As I said above, the trick in creating your vision is to picture yourself already there, in the future. Having that mentality will generate excitement. That’s because you are not thinking about how you will get there; you are already there, in your head. That’s a powerful feeling, and you should hold on to it. Opposite to that, the “how” generates anxiety and fear. Forget about that for now. We’ll get to it later. For the time being, get excited!
Here’s a simple list that breaks down what the vision is and is not:
Your Vision IS:
- A desired future life
- The reason why you do things
- A visualization of what you want your future self to look like
- Your own, but with consideration of all the important people in your life
- Passive – it describes a state, not the action taken to achieve the state
- Focused on what will be in the future, considering what you’ve already accomplished
- Something that grows and changes with you
- The “end” to the means
Your Vision IS NOT…
- How to get the things you want
- Somebody else’s dreams
- Active – it doesn’t define the actions you need to take
- Fixed and immutable
- The “means” to the end
Articulating The Vision
As I mentioned in the introduction to the Creation Voyage, for me, this step of defining your vision is the most exciting of all. That’s because this is the time when you are beginning to design your life. Yes, I understand that there is something already in place in your life, and you already have some seemingly immutable train tracks that you might be on.
For instance, if you have kids, it’s hard to envision becoming an astronaut and abandoning them on Earth. That’s why I mentioned above that the vision is yours in the context of your life. As you create a vision for the future version of you, who else is there? What do they do? What is your relationship with them?
Your vision has to be holistic and must cross all areas of your life in all directions. You must also be mindful of the interconnections between the different aspects of your life and, most importantly, the conflicts. But don’t worry. The practical exercises will drive you through the articulation and alignment of your vision.
What Is Your Vision?
So, how do you craft the first draft of your vision statement? The first step is to divide your life into a matrix with roles for rows and life areas for columns. Here is an example:
|Role / Area||Physical Wellness||Emotional Health||Family & Friends||Skills & Knowledge||Business & Career||Finance & Wealth|
Don’t worry too much now about the life areas. The worksheet will help you to define yours with various examples. But you will want to point out those intersections where you are to set up a vision for yourself.
Because you have already worked on your identity and value priorities, pull those worksheets up and make sure that all the major ones have an X at their intersection. You want to have a vision for all those areas and roles in your life that you hold as having an elevated importance.
To write your vision, you must immerse yourself in a visualization exercise. It’s not hard, but it takes a bit of getting used to. Imagine you are in the future, the future of your vision. You have already fulfilled everything in that vision, and you hired a writer to author your biography. The writer asks questions about your life, and you answer them. So, you must transpose your mind into the future and answer those questions as if you are already there.
One small parenthesis here: Besides writing down your vision, you might also consider creating a compelling visual vision board for yourself. I find vision boards extremely useful and easy to use, and they provide unparalleled motivation through the power of symbols.
Here are some rules for writing your vision:
- Your vision is written in the present tense and first-person – “I am.”
- Do this in your inspiring place – in quiet or with music or in nature – whatever works for you.
- No interruptions or distractions. Give yourself at least one hour.
- Kill your inner critic – write, don’t judge.
- Write fast; let the ideas pour out of you without editing on the spot.
- No idea is a bad idea.
- Play with it – be the kid who wanted to be an astronaut again.
- Don’t go into too many details, but be specific: no generic “I am happy” statements.
- Don’t do this exercise if you are feeling stressed or anxious or angry.
- Be present and fully committed. You are designing your life.
Your Giant Goals
At the end of this exercise, you will have several bullet points or paragraphs in front of you. When you reread those sentences and picture yourself in that beautiful future already, you should feel butterflies in your stomach. You should be flushed, and your heart should be pumping. The excitement should ooze out of you.
You love this, and you love that person. That you in the future is fantastic. The you from today is getting pumped to become that version of you as soon as possible. You want it. You crave it.
If you don’t feel any of that, go back to the drawing board. Is your vision bold enough? Is your vision big enough? Don’t go small—go big.
If on the other hand, after reading it and the euphoria passes, you suddenly feel queasy, and there’s a knot in your stomach driving you to go back and scale that vision down because it’s too big, don’t. Resist the urge. You’re supposed to feel that way. Nobody who stood at the base of Everest thought it would be easy. That’s why they’re there—because it’s hard.
Your vision should feel just like that: a combination of excitement and a fear of the unknown. A cocktail of motivation to go for it and a fear of failure. Let both of them in. Both feelings belong there, as they’re a part of the process. You just have to make sure that you will proceed with your vision despite the negative emotions, which means you’ll have to hold on to the positive ones just a bit more tightly.
Creating Your Vision Exercise
To continue with the practical exercise, use the link below to download the Vision Worksheet and do the practice. Once you have completed it, I recommend taking a day or two to let it all sink in. Enjoy it. Accept it. Soon, that will be you. Once you are in that mental space, move on to the next step, Create Your Purpose.
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