If you don’t already have one, it’s time to create a vision for your life.
The idea of creating a life vision can run dangerously close to the hokey world of The Secret (sorry, The Secret fans, but seriously?). So let’s just make it clear at the outset that we’re not talking about wishing for rainbows and kisses and having them mysteriously manifest (as if by magic).
Nope. We’re talking about a concrete vision to keep you on track in your life – like the ones Fortune 500 companies use.
A few examples:
Our vision is a world in which all people’s basic needs – such as shelter, clean water, sanitation, food and reliable power – are fulfilled in an environmentally sustainable way and a company that improves the quality of the environment and the communities where we live and work.
To become the World’s Most Loved, Most Flown, and Most Profitable Airline.
Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
What is ‘a vision for your life’?
When big companies publish a vision, it is a statement about what they want their company to be. When you create a vision for your life it is the same; it will be a statement about what you want your life to be.
You name it! It’s yours for the taking.
Note: Don’t get confused between vision and goals. Goals are things that you want to achieve. A vision is the bigger picture, the framework within which you want to achieve those goals.
Why create a vision?
Kris at Successify puts it this way:
A vision statement is the equivalent of placing a big mountain on the horizon of your journey through the desert. It gives you a point to fix on and move towards.
I love that. Adventure used as a metaphor for life! Now where have we heard that before?
Four INSPIRING reasons to create a vision:
- A vision is a tool that gives your life direction. It’s a landmark upon which you can always rely; it will prevent you from spending your life walking in circles.
A vision will help you make sure you’re living YOUR life, not somebody else’s idea of what your life should be.
A vision can become the “why” for everything you do. Maybe more importantly, it becomes the “why not” for everything you say NO to.
A vision prevents you from waking up in 10 years screaming:
“Aaaah, what the hell have I done with my life?!?”
But wait, there’s more…
A vision is only one step in living your OWN adventure. Without action, a vision is just a fantasy. Next month, we’ll be helping you kick your vision into drive.
With that in mind, here are five tools to help you create a vision for your life.
1. Practice Meditation
For most of my adult life, I had no idea what I wanted. I was like that dog in Up, distracted by every squirrel I saw.
I never considered the bigger pictures of my values, my desires, or what was important to me. It never even occurred to me that what I wanted on the surface was in no way related to what I wanted in my heart.
It’s almost impossible not to become clouded by experiences, friends, family and culture; it’s easy to lose track of whatever it is that lies deep inside your heart.
Do you REALLY want to be CEO of Facebook, an Academy Award Winning actor, or a pre-school teacher? Is a 4-bedroom house, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and an SUV what YOU want, or what advertising has told you to want? Do you want to be a nomadic adventurer, never staying in any one place long enough to put down roots, or has the shiny world of Instagram fooled you into it?
Meditation can help you carve out a quiet space where you can hear your heart above the buzz of everyday life. It can help you tear away the layers of padding and protection life has clothed you in. It can help you to reconnect to the person you really are.
If you’re new to meditation and want to give it a try, start with our free 7-Day Meditation Kick Start →
2. Try Free Writing
Free writing is a technique that fiction writers use to loosen up the cobwebs and draw out thoughts and ideas while eliminating any judgement about what’s ending up on the page.
It’s easy. Just set a timer and then put pen to paper. Write quickly and continuously until the timer runs out.
Don’t judge what you are writing. Don’t think about whether it seems impossible. Don’t pause to get the wording just right. Don’t stop until the timer runs out.
Combining free writing with The Perfect Day Exercise can be a powerful way to create a vision for your life.
“Start with when you wake up, and move through each hour of the day. Jot down thoughts and descriptions of what the ‘Perfect Life’ would be like.
- How would you spend it?
- With whom?
- Where would you be?
- Would you be working, playing, or both?
- What does that smell, look, and feel like?”
When you’ve finished writing, you may find you’ve tapped into your subconscious. The perfect day that comes out of your pen might just surprise you.
3. Get Talking
Not everyone is a writer. I get that. For you verbal folks, a simple conversation can help define/refine your vision for your life.
Who should you talk to?
Find someone who knows you the way nobody else knows you. Maybe someone you grew up with or a particularly insightful friend. Choose someone who isn’t afraid to call you on your shit and tell you when you’re being clueless. Stephen says that he likes to run ideas by someone who is far removed from his daily life, since they tend to have a less biased perspective.
Block out an hour or more to sit with this trusted friend and spill your guts. If they’re far away, get on FaceTime or Skype so you can see each other’s faces.
Tell your friend about the ideas you have for your life (however crazy those ideas may be). Verbalizing ideas that have been swirling in your head for a while can help to make them more concrete. Encourage your friend to ask lots of questions.
If you can record the conversation, do so. Later you will be able to listen back and surprise yourself with the things you said.
4. Vision Board It
So you’re not a big talker or a big writer? Then a Pinterest vision board might be ideal. Just like a traditional vision board, a Pinterest vision board lets you create a visual representation of your future life.
Add pictures for all aspects of your life: home, family, health, fun, career. I created a Pinterest vision board for my life so you can see what I mean. Check it out.
To create a vision board on Pinterest:
- Sign up for Pinterest.
- Create a new board.
- In the board settings, switch it to secret if you don’t want anyone to see it.
- Search for images that represent the things you want in your life.
- Focus on non-commercial items like locations, people, and activities.
Obviously, if you are a paper ‘n’ scissors fan, you can create an old-fashioned vision board on a cork board, but it’s a lot harder to take with you on your adventures.
5. Go Travelling
Not long ago, I wrote a piece for Unsettle about using travel to figure out what you want from life. I used to be completely caught up in the glamour and glitz (read hard work and monster traffic) of my LA life. So much so that it became impossible for me to figure out exactly what I wanted from life.
Everything I didn’t want was staring me in the face. I had to completely remove myself from all of those negative feelings and forces before I could become clear on what I wanted to replace them with.
If travel is the only thing you can think about, read 8 Surprising Ways Travel Uncovers Your Purpose to find out how it can also help you create a vision for your life.
Let’s Get Started
What you see for yourself, how you imagine your future, has a massive impact on the reality that becomes your life.
Amazon and Caterpillar don’t become blazingly successful companies by being vague about the future they want. They spend massive amounts of time and money using tools like the ones above (OK, maybe Caterpillar aren’t Pinterest Vision Boarding) to envision the exact results they want to see.
You can do the same thing for your life. But if you skip this step, you might just find yourself walking around in circles in the desert.
Imagine the world you want to create for yourself. What is your vision?
Let’s make it a reality.
♥ Happy adventures, Stephen & Jane