I am going to admit, I was quite skeptical of this whole vision concept at first. I wasn’t sure how writing down my dreams or creating a vision board could actually help me manifest what I want for my life. It took me a while in my professional career to write out my first 10-year vision and even longer to truly believe in the power of visions.
On Friday night I updated my vision board to reflect my business and career as a coach. I dusted off the vision board I created several years ago (picture college dorm room bulletin board, magazine cut-outs and thumbtacks) and took a moment to reflect before updating. I was struck with the realization that parts of my vision came true. I enjoyed a bottle of Dom Pérignon and flew business class on an international flight (my first vision board draft included a lot of materialistic inspiration). More important than the materialistic items I desired, I recognized the words confidence and fierce. I read these same two words daily in my short-term vision statement. Growing confidence and fiercely believing in myself were absolutely paramount to launching my business.
Friday’s vision board exercise was memorable because I shared the experience with our daughter. My heart swells when I remember how she feverishly flipped through magazine pages and cut out images of food, animals and flowers. She exclaimed with excitement, “this inspires me!” and glued images to paper to complete her first vision board at six years old. What an incredible bonding experience! Inspired by our Friday night vision board session, I want encourage more people to dream big and draft their visions.
I am grateful for the powerful perspective I now have on visioning. After drafting multiple long-term and short-term visions, I can now identify two limiting beliefs that caused skepticism early on in my career.
I think it’s easier for us to dismiss an idea rather than lean into and explore an idea. As humans, we are wired for comfort and familiarity. Exploring ideas, following nudges and leaning into intuition all require growth, change, risk, and all of the uncomfortable things we try so hard to avoid. It was easier for me to dismiss visions then to face the reality of what it would take to make them happen. Thankfully, I was forced to overcome my initial vision dismissal because I was required to submit a draft of my 10-year vision for a leadership development program.
Even with the assignment deadline to push me through dismissal, I still struggled with writing my 10-year vision. Perfectionism reared its ugly head and I was paralyzed at the thought of the project. I overthought the answers to where I was living, how I was living, the kind of work I was doing and the type of life I was leading. Stressing over the prefect answers kept me from putting pen to paper until I was in flight on my way to the leadership development program. I recognize now that I was paralyzed by perfection. In my mind, what I wrote as my vision was final and I had to make it come true. I was confusing vision with commitment. I have the perspective now to know that visions can and should evolve as you grow. There are aspects of my initial vision that I am still passionate about achieving but my work and role has changed dramatically since that first draft.
Letting go of perfection and realizing a vision is a roadmap was so freeing and allowed me to dream and write. Like most practices on our personal growth journeys, we can improve the art of visioning by engaging in it more frequently. Your vision is likely to ebb and flow based on how you grow personally and professionally and that’s OK. What is important is that you start putting out into the universe what it is that you want so you can start working towards your dreams.
When we packed to move, I found a legal pad with notes from 2011. In that notepad I outlined a very rough draft of my coaching practice. I noted the topics I would discuss with clients (goal achievement), a list of potential initial clients and how I would earn an income from coaching. By writing down my ideas to start a coaching practice I must have put the balls in motion to get to where I am today. I waited 8 years to launch, likely because I dismissed the idea without trying and sought perfection before taking action. For the record, I did not remember this notepad existed when I actually launched my business. I can’t help but wonder, am I where I am today because I started visioning eight years ago?
During my Q2 goals review, I re-read several of my old visions. While my journey has changed, I am still able to celebrate that I’ve achieved parts of these visions. I’m a believer and no longer a dismisser of visions! I love inspiring my clients to imagine their visions, so I wanted to share some insights with the hope you can envision the life of your dreams. I recommend three visioning formats.
For my 10-year vision, I like to dream big by answering these questions.
Where do I live?
What kind of home do I live in?
What type of work do I do?
How do I feel each day?
What excites me?
How am I enjoying life?
What am I doing to make an impact?
I review my long-term vision during my goal setting session at the beginning of the year and during my review sessions at the conclusion of each quarter.
I purposely hung my vision board in my office so I stare at it daily. This visual reminder of the life I want helps me minimize overthinking sending that follow-up email, asking for the business or obtaining a referral. I can look at my vision board and make a decision. Which is worse…taking inner personal risk to grow my business to the next level or not working as hard as I possibly can to bring my vision to life?
I incorporate reading my short-term vision statement into my morning routine. I re-write my short-term vision statement each quarter using the information I learned from my quarterly review. This quarterly re-fresh allows me to be incredibly intentional around the habits I want to build, the mindset I want to develop and the goals I want to achieve by the end of the year.
If you are new to visioning I encourage you to pick one of the three formats to begin practicing the art of dreaming big. If you are well-versed in visioning check in with how often you connect to your vision. If you’ve lost interest it might be time for a re-fresh. As you continue to learn new growth strategies and goal achievement techniques be aware of dismissal before doing and paralysis by perfection. These two limiting beliefs can hinder more than visioning. What can you achieve when you believe in the power of visioning?