In previous blogs we have addressed how expanding one’s self-awareness is the cornerstone to living a more authentic life and becoming a more conscious, effective leader. We reviewed the key steps to increasing self-awareness, which are to identify core values, clarify root passion, and connect with a personal and professional sense of purpose. We also discussed looking at one’s core belief systems, and getting in touch with the fears that keep us all from moving forward.
As we increase our awareness about who we are, and are not, and about what makes people tick, we also need to step back and allow ourselves to re-envision key aspects of our lives that may be ready for a fresh approach. The word we can use best to help at this phase is Vision.
We hear the word vision in many quarters. In its simplest form, it is about where we see ourselves in the future. Vision is about what we want. You can have a life vision that encompasses your entire existence of a life well lived, or you can have multiple visions for various aspects of your life: family, work, health, and so on. In all instances, what it boils down to is what you want, what you most desire. What do you see yourself being, doing, and having in any area of life?
Vision is the clear, concise view of the highest and best future you can imagine, one that passionately calls to you in an area of your life. “Visioning” is a process that enables us to put aside reason temporarily and look beyond the present to a future as we would imagine it to be. We set aside the negative words can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t, and don’t. Visioning is a liberating process, allowing us to see just what we can create in our mind’s eye. As we have learned, thoughts are the prime creative force in our world. Everything ever created, simple or audacious, began in the mind’s eye.
Vision turns into powerful words that describe what you see, and the vision words are creative tools that empower your mental picture to make something manifest. What do you see for yourself tomorrow, next month, next year, ten years from now, and by the end of your life? These and other questions must be asked, because what we ultimately “see” for ourselves comes true.
What we focus on, we create. A truth I have come to appreciate is that the words that immediately follow “I want” in my sentences seem to be what I end up getting. When I wanted to achieve and win, and I was fully focused, I typically got what I wanted. When I did not get what I wanted, I often got what was actually at the center of my “I don’t want” thoughts. For example, if I told myself I did not want to lose, I often lost. If I said I did not want to be fat, I gained weight or stayed fat. If I told myself I did not want to lose clients, I ended up losing some. The secret seems to be that “what” we focus on, we get, whether intended or not. By adding I don’t want, I can’t have, or I shouldn’t get, I created whatever I said I did not want in the first place. If you take a few moments and analyze your thoughts, you may see my point.
Having negative thoughts (thoughts of what we do not want to have happen) will create the thing we do not want. We say “I don’t want to fail,” “I don’t want to be overweight,” or “I don’t want a smoker for a life mate,” but the mind grabs onto the words fail, overweight, and smoker. It sets in motion failure, obesity, and smoking. It ignores the word don’t and goes to work in giving you the noun from your vision. Monitor your thoughts and see how many negatives are present—the cannots, do nots, should nots, and must nots.
If you want something, be clear about it with positive thoughts and feelings. If you want a great job, see yourself in it with all the positive aspects and feelings. If you want a healthy body, see and feel it as if it already exists. The people we admire most, who get what they want, share this mental model—they focus on the positive outcome they desire. They will not allow thoughts of doubt or failure to partner with their vision. If they can do it, so can everyone else. The removal of doubt accelerates receiving what we want, because doubt is often the number one reason why plans, goals, or dreams fail to manifest.
I use the word vision, but you can substitute the words goals, plans, targets, possibilities or wants. Whichever word you choose, the same process is at work. All it takes is clarity, a sense of intention, focus, removal of doubt, action, openness, and continuous movement toward the desired end. Everyone can get what they want if they follow the formula.
The Wheel of Life
I have found the exercise to be very beneficial to help me clarify what I want. You look at the areas of your life and begin clarifying what you want to manifest. The sections of the wheel consist of key areas such as health, relationships, career/work, financial resources, social needs, mental/intellectual growth, spiritual development, recreation/hobbies, location and surroundings, and emotional health. This exercise helps you begin to assess where you are in life.
On a scale from one to ten for each area, imagine what a ten looks and feels like. Get a clear idea of what your definition of a ten is in this moment. Look at your current reality as honestly as possible, and compare it to your vision of a ten. A number will pop from your intuition. Circle the number in the area of focus, and go to the next one. When finished, you will have a greater sense of the areas that are working well and those needing attention.
Do not judge yourself for being where you are in some aspect of life. Life is about checking in on desires, recalibrating where you want to be, assessing where you are, and putting new energy in place to make any improvements. As you accomplish a ten in an area, it is not unusual for a new definition of ten to emerge, thus allowing you to expand and move into new areas of living. The Wheel of Life is constantly turning. Sometimes it stays on line, and at other times, it rolls into new territory. Love the journey, and do not get hung up on the destination!
Health: Physical fitness, overall well-being, energy level
Relationships: Loving, intimacy, meaningful associations with few significant others
Career/Work: Fulfilling/meaningful employment, opportunity for challenge and growth
Financial Resources: Ample cash/investments, freedom from financial worry
Social Needs: Healthy connections with others, pleasure from group activity
Mental/Intellectual Growth: Expanding knowledge, intentional learning, sharpness
Spiritual Development: Inner peace, sense of higher purpose, freedom from fear
Recreation/Hobbies: Pleasurable activities and pursuits, manifesting passions
Location/Surroundings: Pleasing and supporting home environment, stress-free spaces
Emotional Health: Maturity, self-awareness, empathy, connections with others.
After you take this quick assessment, my sense is that one or two areas will be most obvious for you to begin placing new mental and emotional energy toward. Let your future begin taking shape now!
The most direct way to realize a better future is to envision and create it now!