In the corporate world, we hear about tasks forces pulled together tasked with the creation of vision statements. We see plaques and signs around the workplace with these fantastic statements about what the organization is to achieve.
What is the purpose of these expressions? Are they just meaningless statements that look good on paper or do they carry significant weight in the pursuit of a future state?
How can they support you in your personal growth?
Your Vision is an expression of how you wish to grow.
At a very surface level, a vision is a statement of what you wish to achieve at some future time. It sounds straightforward to simply knock out a statement like, “I want to be rich with a mansion on a cliff, a hot wife and three beautiful and talented kids.” I’m guessing that we have all created some version of this. Before long the vision becomes nothing more than meaningless words with almost no impact on how we live life day after day and year after year. If you notice my tagline, “enVision. engage. enLiven”, envision a way of life that really energizes you is really the first step to creating lasting change. Read on to learn more.
If your Vision merely rests with the page on which it was created, then it offers little of its potential power.
How can you make your vision more than just words? If you have ever been involved in sports, you may be familiar with mental imagery or visualization. It is the practicing of a skill or routine by imagining it. A number of studies on basketball free throw shooting show that mental imagery of the act of shooting alone improves performance. Similarly, the process of creating your vision and the daily habits that support it will energize the action needed to bring your current state in line with what your mind now expects. This is called cognitive dissonance. It is a mental state of incongruence that your mind needs to bring back to homeostasis. Thus, you are creating a state of mental discomfort to force your brain to align your actions to your vision.
Create your vision in a way that makes sense for you.
Not everyone will create a vision in the same way. For example, in my coaching practice I offer a free-form writing activity and a set of guided questions for clients to answer. I created that process because that is how I work, so it makes sense to me. But, I also urge clients to create their vision in a way that makes sense for them. Some examples include creating a vision board, whether physical or virtual, or arts such as painting, drawing, or music.
Whatever your means of vision creation, these tips will make the scene come to life and support a mindset of inevitability.
- First of all, speak of the ideas as if they are now in your life because the core brain does not distinguish between what is real and what is perceived. If you experience anxiety, you know what I mean.
- Use words, colors, and pictures that truly express the passion you feel.
- In addition, aim high. Surrounding yourself with higher expectations leads to higher outcomes. Don’t settle your vision on “good enough”. Your vision is for greatness. (If I can take a moment for some self-disclosure, this is where I struggle. I tend to set “reasonable” outcomes for fear of failing. I know that falling short of a grand vision is no failure at all!)
- Use specific language. Vagueness is a tool for non-commitment.
- Finally, stay unattached enough to the outcome that you can flow with it as life dictates. Understand this as a creative process. The need to adjust is not failure. Quite the opposite, this is adaptability, a characteristic of highly successful folks.
In a quote from his 1903 autobiography, President Theodore Roosevelt shares these words from Squire Bill Widener, “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” This speaks very well to the point that we can only start from where we are. Hence, you don’t have to understand every step between where you are and your vision. The path will appear as long as you continue to step with purpose. I think of the video for Billie Jean (I realize some of you weren’t even born yet) in which Michael Jackson dances down a path that alights before him.
Your brain will believe what you tell it. Tell it what you want it to know.
However you fashion your vision, an accompanying spoken narrative provides another mode for your brain to process and understand the life you are creating. Read or recite your vision statement daily. As mentioned, your brain will believe what you tell it. Therefore, tell it what you want (and be mindful of that negative self-talk – that’s another topic for another time).
Let me share a practical tip that I use to keep my vision as a consistent part of my routine. It is just like brushing my teeth. For instance, every morning at 6 am, I schedule calendar reminders as my daily fuel. These reminders consist of prayers that guide me, my vision, my mission, and for a time my elevator speech so it became second nature. They pop up on my iPhone lock screen as the first thing I see when I look at my phone. I read the statements every morning and now they are second nature. To keep them infused with power, be sure to evoke the vigor of emotion. Don’t just read them as you would the weather forecast, feel your chest expand with excitement as you speak these words. They set the stage for your life of continuous personal growth and fulfillment.
In conclusion, tell me about your experiences creating a vision. I’m interested in what has worked for you and what challenges you have faced in the process. If you have not yet developed your vision, I invite you drop a line with your thoughts and question. I would love to start a conversation with you.