For two months, we have worked on creating a solid foundation - a platform to support our growth and unleash our potential. If you have been working along with me, your foundation is now in place. By answering two of “The Four Essential Questions” - What do I believe in? and What is my purpose? - you have clarified your core values and discovered why you exist.
Our next step - the most exciting step - is to address the third essential question - Where am I going? This question is answered by creating a compelling vision for the next chapter of your life. Significant vision always precedes significant success. Vision-driven people perform better over time because vision profoundly influences how they act in the present.
What is vision?
Vision is “a picture of a future that is better than the present.” I like the “picture” concept. It taps into my creativity. It says that I have the power to design and create my future. It tells me that I can influence my world. But it is not just any picture. It is a better picture, an improvement over what my life is today. That appeals to me. It gives me hope. Are you influenced in the same way?
Vision is “a target that beckons.” A target provides focus and a clear sense of direction. In a world of diverse possibility, this is essential. You cannot travel down every path. This target also will guide and influence your decisions and actions along the way. It will help you to consciously choose those things that will move you toward the achievement of your preferred future.
Creating your vision
Are you ready to initiate a process that will significantly influence the next chapter of your life? Are you ready to build a picture of the future that reflects your finest possibilities? Do you have the courage to design a vision that is inspiring, challenging, and achievable? If so, then let’s begin!
Imagine that you are already in the future. Choose a time far enough ahead to stretch your thinking, but not so far ahead that you cannot visualize your life at that point. Imagine you are looking back at what you have experienced, what you have accomplished, and what has been meaningful and important to you.
The following categories are a guide. Change them if you desire, but start with the one that calls you! Be as specific and detailed as possible with your responses.
☛Inner qualities: How are you honoring your core values, purpose, and spiritual beliefs? What are the attitudes and behaviors of which you are particularly proud? If your friends could attribute one quality to you when you complete this chapter, what would it be?
☛Relationships: With whom are you sharing your life, both personally and professionally?
☛Environment: Describe an environment which supports your vision. Consider your geographical location, the community you interact with, your home, and your office.
☛Experiences: What have you experienced over your chosen time frame that involves leisure, travel, adventure, hobbies, etc?
☛Accomplishments: What have you accomplished, both professionally and personally? What challenges have you overcome? Describe your financial and physical health. How have you advanced your lifelong learning? If you were recognized as a huge success after this life chapter, for what would you be known?
☛Contributions: How have you given back to your family, friends, profession, community, and the world at large?
☛Joys: What is fulfilling you? What are you doing that truly makes you happy? What is fun?
Recognize that vision is created over time, not overnight. Carefully set up a schedule to revisit this process and refine your future picture several times over the next month. When you are ready, present your vision to someone you trust. This will help you clarify and fill in your picture.
Generating the energy for change
Generating the energy for change
Vision is not what you are. It is what you want to become. A gap always exists between what you desire to create and “what is.” Don’t be afraid of it. It is a positive gap ... a gap which provides a “creative tension” that will generate the energy for change.
Doug Young, MBA, and his spouse Marlyn, MCC, have a professional speaking and executive/team-coaching business in Parker, Colo. They co-author this column and share an interest in leading-edge business concepts, achieving personal and professional potential, serving patients, and improving how people work together. Marlyn’s insights into people and relationships and coaching skills complement Doug’s motivating and mind-expanding presentations. Contact them by e-mail at [email protected], by phone at 877-DMYOUNG (369-6864), or visit their Web site at www.dmyoung.com.