Have you ever got in the car to drive without any real idea of where you are going? It can be nice sometimes – when you’re unwinding, on vacation perhaps, driving the narrow roads of [insert dream destination here].
But how does it feel when you have no real idea of where you are going in life or career? From my experience it is frustrating, suffocating, confusing, and overwhelming. When I was in this position, I felt I couldn’t breathe; I had a weight on my chest – in fact, it manifested itself in anxiety, shallow breathing, and at its worst, panic attacks.
Having clarity in your vision, purpose and goals are critical to a life and career of fulfilment – something you relish. Even organisations must have this clarity – without it, an entire staff and senior management wallow about, unproductive, confused, frustrated, and ultimately risking financial loss as opportunities for success slip away.
Part I: Vision
Creating clarity of ‘the big picture’ - your vision, is vital to your fulfilment. Painting a detailed picture of your vision gives you a clear idea of what you’re working towards. It helps to support your decision-making process – when faced with a decision, is the one presenting itself aligned to the vision of your life and career? Will that decision advance you towards that vision?
On my Facebook page recently I shared an activity that helps you create your vision. It is a visualisation technique and I use it all the time in my coaching with clients. It is surprisingly powerful and clients find it enlightening, empowering, and exciting, as though the fog is lifted.
1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position in a relaxing environment with no distractions. I find early morning on waking or before I sleep a good time. If you can, you might want to create a really inviting environment with candles and dim light – it’s entirely up to you. Equally, if you have great concentration, you might be able to try it commuting on the train in the morning – whatever works for you.
2. Build up a picture in your mind of how you want to live and work. Ask yourself:
What am I doing?
Who is with me?
What is around me?
What is home like? Where is it?
What is my workplace like? The environment, the people…
What are my relationships like?
What does my life look, smell, sound, feel like? Going into this detail can activate the ‘felt sense’ – a bodily awareness of a concept. The more specific you can be, the more detailed and clearer vision you will create – you’ll be able to live and breathe it!
3. At this point, do not put any time frame on this vision e.g. “In 5 years’ time, I want to…” You are creating the foundation on which to build.
4. Be adventurous with your vision of how you want to live and work. Forget “can’t”, “must”, “should”, “ought to” – these are limiting beliefs from years of conditioning that frankly serve little or no purpose. What if you lived and worked exactly as you wished? What would that look like? Dispense with any limitations and see how big your vision can become.
5. Your vision can change too, as you develop, mature, as it makes more sense. Allow this.
6. After you have completed the exercise, write it down in a journal or on your smartphone notes. Some people who are more visual may feel they want to create a vision board – you can do this physically on the wall or virtually, using Pinterest. Keep it visible or on hand. If you’re aural, voice record your vision on your phone or record a video to listen to or watch regularly.
It took me several attempts to create a vision that excited and inspired me; one I was truly determined to work towards. I find it powerful to think that this image of my life and work was deep within my subconscious, untapped and just waiting to be activated. It just goes to show; we all have the answers – we simply need to ask the right questions. I was able to do this with the guidance of a coach.
I continue to visualise on a regular basis – not every day, but probably 3 times a week – to remind myself of what I am working towards, of what I must keep in mind when decisions need to be made.
Have a go at this exercise – I would love to hear how you found it. Go over to my Facebook page and feel free to share there.
If you’d like to ‘Press Play’ on your life or career in 2016 starting with creating your vision, contact me for a complimentary no-obligation 30 mins Skype Discovery session at firstname.lastname@example.org