2016 begins in earnest tomorrow if your a nine-to-fiver like me. I’m not a New Years resolutioner, instead I choose to engage and tinker in change…always. But coming up with the big goals – whether for the New Year or just in general – you need a vision. You desire change. You can make it happen. Seriously.
If you’ve never spent any time doing this, it is time to start. I wrote about the Vision Board before, and how to go about using that tool. That isn’t necessary, but is a nice reminder to keep the Vision process active and a regular part of your life.
Visioning starts with a few things:
- Getting in touch with the real you. If you haven’t done this here are a couple of quick tips: 1) Find a quiet space or activity like a sauna or walking. Don’t listen to music or look at your phone 2) Take that herculean effort and quiet that inner narrator that provides the constant monologue in our brain 3) Fill that vacuum then with thoughts on who is the real you. What is your purpose. What are your values. What do you want.
- Be honest. Most want the same things, and it is ok to admit that – power, recognition, happiness, sex, wealth, health.. Don’t be shy, there is nothing BAD about wanting these things.
- If you could have anything you want, what would that look like? If you won the lottery today, and never had to worry about money, how would you spend your time? What would your ideal life look like? After the thrill of extravagance and buying all that you ever wanted, a year down the road what would you be doing, how would you be giving back?
- Think now about what you want (not what you don’t want). It is ok to dream, big or small. I have both big dreams (national impact and recognition, writing and blogging and podcasting as my “job”) and small (a thix pack [a word I made up, like a thick six pack, like Tom Hardy in Warrior], going hunting with my brother, playing guitar with my daughter). Small dreams if done right get accomplished, perhaps feed to a larger dream goal, and get replaced by more small dreams.
- Focus on what you want, or what really gives you pleasure, not what someone else wishes you would become. Sometimes you need to dig deep and be creative. Maybe you’re able to travel back in your mind to when you were a kid and how you were most happy doing Legos and building. Sometimes these simple things are catalyst for something more.
Now take some of that, and hopefully if boiled down it has positive energy and in some way helps you find peace or serve your fellow man, and start to form that into a tangible vision. Make a real world in your mind full of flavor and rich detail. Picture all of who you are at at that moment. What are you wearing? Who are you with? How did you get to where you are at? What were the small stepping stones along the way
For example – you dream is to invent a gadget that revolutionizes pet entertainment while the owners are away from home. When you aren’t running your business, you boil your Lego vision down to building homes for Habitat for Humanity. That’s your Vision. Now build the mosaic of details that make it real in your mind:
- You kiss your wife goodbye in the morning with a wink since you just hooked up in the shower after your morning workout. You’ve lost 50 pounds already and are still getting stronger and more lean.
- You get into your jet black Tesla as you drive the 10 minutes to the office, listening to your favorite Podcast on the way there.
- As you get out of the car in front of your new office space, you savor the smell of the cherry blossom tree in front of your building. Once inside, your receptionist passes on messages as you head to your office. You’ve got some new design tweaks to go over for PetTime2.0, your updated and improved version of your best-selling item, and an important meeting with PETCO that will put you even further on the map since your PetSmart win 6 months ago.
- After a long and engaging day at the office, you head out to watch your daughter play in her team’s regional competition. All that time spent in the backyard having fun and helping her practice skills seem well worth it as they’re on the cusp of a state playoff qualification, and she’s the best player on the team.
- On Saturday, you head over to the other side of town to help build a home for someone who desperately needs one, but can’t afford it despite doing the best they can. You’re the carpentry foreman, something you picked up along the way, helping to make sure the unpaid volunteers build things properly and according to plan. Helping lead and give back gives you more joy than your $1 million salary does.
- Thinking back to all those hours taking a few tech and business classes at the local community college that really set the stage for your success seems like a million years ago, even though it was just five short years ago. Those skills you learned really took your obscure vision to help entertain your dog Alvalanche while at work to a national “must have” item. Your only regret – that you didn’t start sooner.
You get the picture. Putting yourself in the middle of a real world in your Vision is very powerful, plus it is really fun. Mike Dooley, a favorite author and life teacher of mine I saw at a workshop last year, says Thoughts Become Things. I love that. At a minimum, these thoughts seem real to your body and mind while your thinking them. That’s the power of thought. The Vision will most likely never happen in the way you’re painting, but the seeds are planted in both your conscious and subconscious. Once the seeds are planted, you then start to internalize small goals that feed to the bigger ones.
Looking to lose 50 pounds, and you’re visualizing how awesome you’ll feel svelte and fit? You’re much more likely to get your ass up in the morning to work out, and to continue on the path to small wins when most other New Year’s gym goers have already given up and gone home.
Looking to learn about building a business, and what you need to do? You’re more likely to take those small steps on that path to success like learning about taxes, or taking a class to build your skills, or writing a business plan. Your vision will feed each of these small steps as they funnel into your bigger goal.
Whatever your vision is, take the approach to put yourself into it post-accomplishment. Spend a few minutes every day doing this exercise (a Vision Board helps). But don’t leave it at that. Flip the switch. Figure out in a conscious way what small steps would make sense to eventually get there. Don’t worry about the “hows,” just start walking the path, making small little micro changes and improvements in the direction of your vision. That is all you can do.
Don’t be surprised if your technicolor vision and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.
I promise, if you implement these exercises you will see improvements. You may not hit your exact mark, but it will seem like an overnight success to you and others, even if it is years in the makings. That is what happens – small, incremental changes brought on by positive energy lead to large positive life improvement over time. That’s a math equation for you. Try and prove me wrong. If you need help figuring this stuff out and setting a realistic path to making your vision a reality, contact me at Great Life Vision Coaching, I’d love to work with you.