As Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter said, “A vision isn’t just a picture of what could be; it’s an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.”
I believe each of us has a deep hunger for more. To discover your own inner hunger and create a vision for life, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s your long-term vision? What would you like to see, do, and experience over the next 5, 10, or 20 years?
- What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to make an impact in the world? Is there a problem you want to solve? What’s important in your personal life, your professional career, business, family, and community?
- How do you want to have lived your life? Imagine yourself on your deathbed (hopefully far, far, far into the future). Describe the kind of life you want to look back on. How will you have spent the precious time you were given?
- What does the universe have in store for you? If you believe in a higher power, I suggest asking for guidance and being open to receiving it. Here’s a simple mantra: “You gave me gifts, I’m here to use them. Please show me the way.”
The Difference Between Visualization & Dreaming
If you’re thinking, “This sounds great, but does visualization actually work?” Look, nothing works unless you do. But here’s the truth. Visualization doesn’t have to be airy fairy.
Don’t get hung up on the word. Call it creativity or simply making a plan. Whether you’re getting the keys to your new home, a big bonus check at work, or starting a business, you’re visualizing your future.
Done right, you can create the life of your dreams. In fact, I bet you’re already visualizing — you just don’t know it yet.
The key difference between dreaming and visualizing comes down to a simple script flip.
Instead of thinking, “Wouldn’t that be nice?” tell yourself, “That’s a done deal.”
Now doesn’t that feel better? Can’t you just feel the confidence and power that comes with knowing you’ll get it done, rather than agonizing over whether it’s possible?
And here’s the thing: Once it’s done, you have a framework to tackle your next big dream. Then the next one and the next one.
You Don’t Need a Long-Term Life Plan
While I’m a big believer in creating a clear vision for yourself, sometimes life just doesn’t work out the way we want. And that’s okay!
A failure might be a cosmic redirect, guiding you to a better, bigger purpose.
You don’t necessarily need a long-term vision to achieve success. Sometimes you just have to take the first step and gain clarity from there. Bring your A-game to everything you do. Trust me, a clear vision will eventually emerge.
Do you think I had a clear vision of what my business would look like when I first started? Of course not!
I loved so many things, it felt paralyzing. I couldn’t envision my life more than six months into the future. Not having it all figured out didn’t keep me from starting, though.
Instead of one grand life vision, I started with mini, immediate goals, like:
- Fill my hip hop classes and experiment with new choreography.
- Get my first coaching client.
- Write a consistent weekly newsletter.
I didn’t have a long-term vision. I just took the next right step every day and did the best I could. I worked hard at each of my passions until I eventually found convergence for myself and my passions. (Hello, multipassionate entrepreneur!)
How to Envision the Future & Still Live in the Present
At first glance, training yourself to be present contradicts the whole notion of planning your future. But it’s not! You can absolutely balance being present with planning ahead.
You just need to know the difference between planning and worrying.
Planning keeps you in the present moment. Worrying takes you out of it.
For example, think about rain on your wedding day.
Worrying about rain is a future-based anxiety about something you can’t control. Planning, on the other hand, is about being prepared just in case it rains. It helps keep you in the present, because your preparation lets you set aside your worries about what will go wrong in the future.
Any time you find yourself worrying over your vision for the future, stop. Bring yourself back to the present, and redirect that energy into planning.
Where Will Your Life Vision Take You?
Look, achieving your goals is awesome, but real happiness comes from growth. Embracing the challenge of working towards your goals is far more fulfilling than achieving and checking them off your list.
A compelling life vision gives you a reason to meet those challenges head on.
Again, you don’t have to have every step figured out. Conjuring up a vision for your future stimulates your imagination. It’ll help rediscover old dreams and ignite your passion so you can head in the right direction.
Now, let’s turn this insight into action.
Grab a journal, and take 5 to 10 minutes writing your life vision statement — in reverse. Imagine yourself on your deathbed, and describe the kind of life you want to look back on.
What will you have achieved? What will you have spent your time doing?