As many of you know I’m a fan of creating goals and getting organized around them. The word goal is a dirty word for many people. Writing out goal lists can leave us feeling like losers if we don’t accomplish what’s on our list. Or, if we accomplish our goals too fast we might feel like we aren’t dreaming big enough. Writing out goal lists can feel like tedious homework, too analytical, and too focused on the outside stuff especially when it comes to our careers and relationships.
How may times have we written goals that went something like…..
- Find a husband/wife/life partner by the end of the year.
- Make $70k this year at my job.
- Run a marathon.
- Travel to Paris.
- Eat super healthy.
- Buy a new desk.
- Get in shape with a personal trainer.
- Cook more at home.
- Fall in love.
- Go for more hikes.
- Learn Spanish.
- Become an Internet sensation. (ok….maybe I’m the only one here!)
There isn’t really anything wrong with a list like this per se, but it does feel boring and sterile and way too focused on outside accomplishments. It’s just not creative or visionary at all.
Instead of writing out your standard yearly goal list we’re going to create a VISION! All great leaders craft visions for the future and with good reason—it gives a continued source of energy and inspiration. A thoughtful vision is our North Star. When we have a guiding force that we refer to daily it helps informs every aspect of our life. The decisions we make, the goals we set, who we date, what we eat, how we take care of ourselves, how we communicate, what we buy, where we hangout .
Creating a vision is not an easy task. It will challenge us to the core and that is part of why it is such a powerful practice. Here are the steps:
- Start by going inside. Ask yourself what it is your heart desires and start from that place.
- Spend time in silence, listening, getting in touch with yourself.
- When you feel ready, pull out your pen and paper and start crafting your vision.
- Write until you have nothing left to write.
- Write down whatever is on your heart, write what YOU want, not what you think you should want or what you think other people want for you.
Remember, your vision is nobody else’s and the more meaning it has for you the more energy it will give you to keep pressing forward in those moments when things get hard, because they will. I want you to DIG DEEP, like deeper than you ever have before. I want you to imagine a fabulous life for yourself and get in touch with what gives you the most energy—what excites you. Your list should not feel like a giant to-do list for 2014, it should feel organic, flowing, intuitive, intensely personal, incredibly meaningful, and above all it needs to LIGHT YOU UP.
It is crucial that our vision LIGHTS US UP. I cannot emphasize this enough. For years I had trouble creating a real vision because I was ultimately afraid to fail. We will fail. And we will pull through. Focus on the internal. Write down feeling words that get you amped on how you want to live your life. When we focus on the internal instead of the external we have a real shot at creating more drive and inspiration within ourselves. That internal focus ultimately leads to genuine happiness and a foundation for life that is unshakable in the truest sense of the word.
Vision first and the goals will follow. When we focus on the vision the goals come naturally. Our vision keeps us strong when there is difficult work ahead, we keep going because our vision reminds us of who we are, what we stand for, and again, it LIGHTS US UP.
So, there you have it. Get down to business and create your vision. Make a giant poster to hang in your home or office, keep little Post-It notes with key words on them (words that ignite your passion) and place them where you can see them often, create a vision board if you want. It is important that we read our vision daily, preferably first thing in the morning. Stay connected to your vision and trust that you have everything you need to manifest it.
Take this framework and go for it. Craft a vision that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and life your life to the fullest no matter what. And finally, the last part is speak your vision out loud at least once a week. Share it with a friend. Tell it to the ocean, or your cat, or your community. When we speak our vision it has even more power to guide our lives in amazing ways.