“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.” ― Helen KellerIn our previous post on self reflection, we discussed the importance of self reflection—i.e., taking the time to review what you do throughout your daily life and why you do it. From this practice, you have now most likely identified some gaps in where you are right now and where you want to be – sometimes called “The Gap Analysis” But before you get too excited and charge headfirst into bridging those gaps and eliminating the things that are not working, it’s helpful if you first create a vision or a roadmap for yourself. Most people wouldn’t start a journey without having a map or a confirmed end destination, and this concept applies to this process. In this post, we will delve in depth about the different aspects of creating a vision for yourself, setting goals, and following them through to achievement.
SETTING A VISION“If you don’t build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.” - Tony Gaskins 'Click To TweetBefore you make your roadmap, you first have to clearly envision your end destination the place where you end up. The term “vision” might sound daunting, but it shouldn’t be. “Vision” is simply defined as “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom,” and we can all do this quite easily. Your vision is where you want to be and your path for how you’ll get there. Depending on what you want to achieve in life, this may be a simple or f you identify the gap as being significant it will be quite detailed. There is no right or wrong vision because it’s personal—something that only you can decide for yourself— and this process is to help you recognise that importance of creating your own unique vision. To begin laying out your roadmap start by thinking of the basic ideas of where you want to be/get to. Make this 1st step an overarching, big picture idea; it should be something that you can flash up in your mind instantly. For example, maybe your vision is to be debt free by the time you’re 40, to be working only 30 hours a week, to have 8 weeks vacation each year. Whatever your vision is, it does need to be something a bit more tangible than “rich” or “famous” or even just “healthy,” because vague visions don’t work. In order to be truly attainable, it needs to be solid and specific—something that creates a clear-cut image in your mind. Try reading Jeff Goins – The Art of Work http://artofworkbook.com/ Crafting your own vision may take a little time, and that’s completely okay! There’s no need to rush the process, because this should be something that’s important and meaningful to you and the chances are if you have not really thought it out before its a skill that you need time to hone. If you are a more visual person, you can use a Vision Board to better articulate what you want (“a picture is worth a thousand words,” after all). Or you can create one online bh connecting and sharing yours with other people using Dreamboard. By sharing you create some transparency and a layer of accountability which is always a good thing. “The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Why is it so important to set a vision?
“Create a vision of the life you want is one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. The best way to look at it, is using your vision as a compass to guide you to make the best decisions, and take the best actions that will help propel you toward your bigger and fuller life. A Life Vision Statement will create a clearer path for your life.” -Patricia Young: From “7 Easy Tips for Creating Your Life Vision Statement”Quite simply: the way you think determines your reality. Your beliefs and way of thinking will eventually begin to manifest themselves in the world around you and in what you attract into your life. When you create a vision it also motivates you to push against your self-imposed boundaries. In our last post, we asked you to think of 2 or 3 instances in your life when you set a specific goal of something you wanted to achieve, to think about how hard you worked towards it and how good it felt to achieve that goal. Using these powerful emotions and sense of achievement, combined with the knowledge that you can do anything you set your mind to, you apply this technique to your new vision. The self-reflection that you’ve completed will help you identify what matters most to you in life, and suddenly your vision moves from ethereal to tangible.
How to create your own vision:
- Do you know your purpose? Don’t overthink it and don’t get too esoteric; your purpose doesn’t have to be “finding the cure to cancer” or “ending world hunger.” Your purpose is just the motivating factor that gets you up each day; it’s the thing that makes life feel meaningful and important to you. Your purpose is based on your values and beliefs about yourself and the world around you. If you are stuck, here are 9 questions to help you.
- What have your personality tests revealed about you? As you get to know yourself better, you will be able to create a purpose and vision that is aligned with your own talents and personality traits. Don’t set your vision based on anyone else’s values except your own.
- What did your Venn diagram look like? Remember from our last post when you found the “sweet spot”—the overlap between the things you’re really good at and the things you really enjoy doing? Create a vision for yourself that enables you to spend as much time as possible in that sweet spot of your Venn diagram.
When you’re brainstorming what to do/be/have/give, consider what you would do if you had no limitations: For example, what if money and health were not obstacles for you?
Also, think about the people you admire and what it is that they have, do, and are that you want to emulate. You might even want to ask one of these people to be your mentor, to help you think through these areas (at least partly), and to tell you what he/she has found to be effective for them.
You’ll want to give yourself a peaceful environment so you can truly brainstorm. And, you do want to brainstorm, which means: you write it all down, and you throw out nothing, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. When you try to mix brainstorming and practicality, you always lose the benefit of brainstorming. You’ll have time later to be practical with your list.
-Taken from “Succeeding in Life Through Setting Goals” by Bruce Keener
My personal example:Let me share my own personal example of how I created a vision for myself and planned a roadmap to reach my goals. I really wanted to work in a casino onboard cruise ships and I set my vision around this and about how achieving that goal would feel and look like. I was told that it was really hard to get this kind of job, as being a croupier was a specialised skill and even harder still to get a job on a cruise line. Instead of listening to the negative feedback I took an 8-week course to learn how to deal, practicing my chip handling skills at night and on weekends (I put the extra effort in). I only applied to work on cruise lines (including turning down other good jobs whilst I waited). I even took a menial, low-paying job while I waited to be accepted to a position on a cruise ship, knowing that if I took a really good job it would distract and deflect me from reaching my ultimate aim. Did it work out? Hell yes! For 9 years, I worked on cruise ships, travelling the world and visiting some of the most amazing places on this earth. I did have one downside when the ship sunk but I lived to tell the tale and have some great anecdotes to tell at parties. When you have a vision and are yet to reach it, the road can sometimes seem long and your goal far away, however for me it was worth that initial short-term sacrifice I made to make my dream come true.
The 4 Levels of Competence“Create a vision for the life you really want and then work relentlessly towards making it a reality.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart Everyone will tell you—success doesn’t happen overnight and they are correct however very soon after setting your vision, you will move through the these different stages as you progress towards actualizing your dream. It may not seem like success initially but it is progress. In psychology, this is called the “conscious competence” learning model—this model breaks down the process of learning a new skill into four different stages: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious incompetence. When portrayed as a visual pyramid, it looks something like this: (Picture from Wikipedia) Let’s break down each of these stages and take a more detailed look at what they mean and what they look like in daily life. Unconscious incompetence: This means that you are behaving incompetently, and you’re not even aware of how your actions are incompetent. You don’t even notice that what you’re doing isn’t the best or most efficient way to do something—you are unconscious of your own incompetence. The length of time spent in this stage will look different for everyone, but before you can get out of this stage, you have to have a strong desire to learn and move forward. Let’s use music as an example: Perhaps a singer or musician performs a piece of music incorrectly, but they think they’re doing it well. We’ve probably all heard a singer at karaoke or open mic night who might think she is absolutely nailing it, but in reality, she’s completely off-key, and she doesn’t even know it. Conscious incompetence: In this stage, you’re still performing incompetently, but now you have become aware that what you’re doing isn’t working well. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to stay very long in this state; from here you can quickly start identifying what’s wrong, learning from your mistakes, and make the necessary changes in order to progress to the next level. To continue with our musician example; at this stage, the singer knows that she’s off-key and she knows that she’s hitting the incorrect pitches, but she may be unable or unwilling to change her voice to sing the song correctly. Moving out of the “conscious incompetence” stage (whether in your personal or professional life) means that you need to be open to constructive criticism and to thoughtful suggestions from others who recognise that you are not performing a skill to the best ability. This probably won’t be easy to do! When we allow certain habits to become ingrained in our lives, we often continue with that practice simply because it is comfortable and familiar, regardless of whether or not it is the best way to do something. If a flute player has practiced a piece of music and has learned how to play the wrong note in a certain part of the music, it may be difficult to retrain your fingers to do something different in order to hit the correct note. Conscious competence: You are now behaving competently and you are able to execute the desired skill, but it’s probably still a bit difficult for you. You have to think a lot about what you’re doing and about the right way to do it; you have to concentrate intensely on performing the skill competently. Anyone who has ever learned a new skill has been familiar with this stage of learning: when you’re knitting and you have to focus closely on each step of creating a stitch, when you’re learning a new language and you speak very slowly because you have to think so hard about using the correct words, when a teenager learns to drive a car (or even when an adult gets behind the wheel of an unfamiliar car!) and is consciously aware of each step in the process of driving a car. If you continue diligently in the conscious competence stage, constantly practicing your skill correctly, then you should pretty quickly hit the final stage: Unconscious competence: Once you reach this stage, the new skill or habit is now automatic, and you can do it without thinking about it. The skill is easy for you—you might be able to do it simultaneously while performing another task; you might even be able to teach it to others. You can knit a scarf mindlessly while watching TV, you can drive from home to work and back without having to think about what you’re doing. In “The Four States of Competence Explained,” Examined Existence discusses these four states, and they also recommend adding a 5th stage: Conscious Competence of Unconscious Incompetence—i.e., using your own state of “mastery” to help others progress away from their incompetence.
Knowing vs. DoingKnowing and doing: they’re two completely different things. Just because you know something doesn’t mean you’re doing it on a daily basis. For example: Everyone knows that cigarettes are unhealthy – but why do so many people still smoke? Because the mind and the actions aren’t aligned with each other, that’s why! Sometimes, we just get stuck in a rut just because it’s familiar to us. We might know that our current patterns aren’t making us happy and successful in the long term, but we don’t want to deal with the discomfort of forming new habits and making changes in order to achieve greater happiness and success. In our last post, we talked about cutting out negative thought patterns and bad habits, but it’s not so easy as reading a single blog post and then immediately changing your life. You have to always be on guard; don’t let yourself slip back into negative habits just because it’s the easy thing. Doing new things and building new habits will be difficult at first. It will be different and foreign and uncomfortable—just like we mentioned above in the four levels of competence, learning any new skill will require a lot of concentration at first. It takes time. Linda Adams uses the four levels of competence to talk about both progressing through pilates classes as well as learning how to use communication skills between leaders and employees within a company in her article “Learning a New Skill is Easier Said than Done.” But even when it’s difficult, you have to keep pushing through until you get to that fourth level, where the new skill is easy and natural for you. Creating a vision for yourself constitutes as knowing what you want out of life. The next step after that is doing what you have to do in order to get what you want. You have to get out of your head and start being active in what you do to achieve success. Daydreaming is a good start, but it isn’t enough; you have to take conscious steps each day to live out your vision. So how do you do that? By setting strategic, smart goals. Did you know that even astronauts set goals!
“Everything in this world is created twice: First – creation in your mind, followed by the manifestation in reality. Without the mental creation, there will be no physical creation. When you set a goal, you already accomplish the first creation. You have set into motion a decree for yourself and the forces of your universe to materialize the goal in the physical reality.” – Celestine ChuaTaken from “6 Important Reasons Why You Should Set Goals”
SETTING YOUR GOALS – Using The “GROW” MethodOne popular method for setting goals is the GROW method. Many business coaches use this method because it is simple, easy to follow, and has a great acronym (okay, just kidding about the last one!). “GROW” stands for:
- Current Reality
- Options (or Obstacles).
- Will (or Way Forward).
You create creative tension when you clearly articulate your vision and your current reality, and the gap between your vision and your current reality becomes apparent. This gap creates an emotional and energetic tension that seeks to be resolved. -Cath Duncan, from “A User’s Guide to Creative Tension”
“The gap between vision and current reality is also a source of energy. If there were no gap, there would be no need for any action to move towards the vision. We call this gap creative tension.” – Peter SengeOPTIONS/OBSTACLES: What are the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving your goal, and what are your options to overcome those obstacles? This is the time to get creative. If you don’t have the money or time to do exactly what you want just yet, then try some lateral thinking. What short-cuts (or “hacks,” as they are commonly called) can you think of that will speed up the process? Eventually you’ll want to move past basic problem solving and into the actual creative process, as Patricia Seybold talks about in her post about innovation on Customer Think:
Innovation doesn’t arise out of problem-solving, but out of creativity. It takes you to a different place. In industry, innovation often involves different business models, different materials, different processes, different disciplines. Typically, the “problem” doesn’t get solved; it vanishes. It doesn’t show up. It’s no longer relevant.As your obstacles diminish, you’ll be free to move on to the next letter of the acronym: W. WILL/WAY FORWARD – What’s the easiest thing you can do to begin and to build momentum? How will you make new habits to overcome your obstacles, and how will you track those habits? It should start with small decisions and small changes. You might not be able to quit your job overnight, but you can start re-prioritizing your life in little ways. Get a clear idea in your head of what success will look like, and be both optimistic and realistic about a time frame to achieve that success. Making your way forward to reach your goal is about making small decisions on a regular basis. Changing slowly will increase our chances of success; trying to make too many big changes in your life too quickly is likely to result in burn-out, and may make you feel like giving up. Instead, as you master one or two new habits at a time, you will then be inspired and confident to move on to making another change, and then another, and so on until you’ve reached your goals. For example; if you want to run a marathon, you don’t go from running 1 mile a day to suddenly running 20 miles a day. Instead, each week you add a little more distance to your runs, and you work on strengthening and cross-training exercises in between. When 1 mile is comfortable to run, push yourself until 2 miles are comfortable, and continue until you’ve slowly worked your way up to the 26 miles of a marathon. This process and path to success is similar for nearly any other goal you set in life.