What's your vision?
How many times have you said the below phrases or variations of them? How many of you have been able to achieve them, but even more importantly maintain them?
- ‘I want to lose weight’
- ‘I want to make loads of money’
- ‘I want to change the world’
- ‘I want to find someone nice to have a relationship with’
Now, what do you think the above are? Long-term goals or a vision of life? For most of us, the above are long-term goals. What if, instead, they were your vision for a better life?
"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." - Helen Keller
In the coaching world, vision is one of the most important things we can ask from a client. As a coaching client, vision is one of the first steps you will take to start mapping out your journey of success.
Setting a vision
However, setting out a vision of life can be one of the most difficult things you can do. The moment you decide to set out this grand vision of how your life should be, you find excuses as to why it’s not possible, or you simply give up. Why have dreams when they never come true? This is where the problem lies. You don’t believe that you can get what you want so there’s no point in even dreaming about it. You feel that you are stuck in your circumstances, and you don’t have a clear map on how to have the life you want. You have become accustomed to the day to day grind, and change is too scary for you to even think about. Deep down inside, there’s this feeling that there’s something missing, and that you can do more than just survive at life. But how?
The author Simon Sinek created The Golden Circle, a simple model to explain what makes inspired people and organisations successful and influential. There are only three words in this model – why, how, and what.
According to Sinek, we are going about it all wrong; we start with the what, i.e. the external reason for something to happen - losing weight, making more money etc. Then, we move onto the how; the strategies we will put in place to achieve what we set out to do.
Finally, we reach the why. Sinek’s approach is to start the other way around: inside – with the why. This is the true why, the thing that is so compelling that you will be able to move forward no matter what happens or how many obstacles are in your way. This makes perfect sense, and it’s where we as coaches can see the most lasting changes in clients. Once a client knows their why, creating a vision becomes easy.
To find your why, you have to ask yourself what the main driver is of what you are doing or planning to do. For example, if you want to lose weight, why is that? Saying ‘I want to lose weight to look good’ may not be as compelling as saying ‘I want to lose three stone by the 30th June to gain more energy and be able to spend time playing with my children without feeling out of breath and tired’. When you first start asking why, don’t be content with the first answer that comes to your head. Keep asking yourself the question until you find the main reason for your desire for change, and you feel an emotional response in your body.
Once you have the why, it’s time to home in on your vision. Consider the following when creating your vision - the answers to these questions should answer your why directly:
- What kind of people do I want to surround myself with?
- Where do I see myself in the next five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years?
- What kind of life do you want to have in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and even age 100?
- What legacy do you want to be known for?
- What’s the most important thing you want to be able to say on your last day on earth?
- What are the greatest things you could achieve?
Defining what matters to you
Now that you’ve answered the questions, you come to the tricky bit – defining what matters most to you in life. Your answers here won’t be perfect, but they will be a clear indication of who you are and what you aspire to be. After this, you will be able to describe what changes you want or need to make in each area of your life.
You can start with a simple list such as:
You can keep adding to the list as you go along, or remove areas where you think you have made improvements.
The next step is to put together a vision statement, which is the overall description of what you want in your life; which goals will help you achieve it as well as a list of areas that matter most to you. Finally, if you want to make sure you follow through with your vision, you will need to put a system in place where you review your vision and goals regularly. You will also need to keep your action plan up to date to make sure you are on track.
Having a clear vision can be the step that changes your life from good to extraordinary. What is your compelling vision?