Imagine you find yourself heading down a road with no map and only a vague idea of what lies ahead. One step at a time, you keep moving along, assuming that, as long as you feel relatively comfortable, eventually things will just work out the way they’re supposed to.
That’s what we do when we take life as it comes, focusing on current tasks, problems, and challenges without having a vision for the future to guide us.
No question, it can seem frivolous to set aside time to think about creating a vision when you’re up to your eyeballs with work, commitments, and demanding relationships along with the noise and chaos of everyday living.
Of course, there are other reasons we avoid creating a vision, and chief among them is the fear of disappointment. If you have no vision for your future, then you won’t have to worry about being let down or risk feeling like a failure.
But consider that the most common deathbed wish of all is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more. ~Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Expectation vs. Vision
The entire notion of expectations is a hot button for many people, and one that I fully intend to explore at a later date, I only bring it up here to clear the misconception that a vision for your future is about creating expectations for a specific path or outcome.
A vision is simply a roadmap that serves to guide you toward making the choices that will help you to create your best life, whatever that means to you. It’s a process of clarifying your core values and highest life priorities, who and what matters most to you, who you want to be, what you want to be known for and the experiences and accomplishments you are aiming for in your lifetime.
Your vision becomes your why.
The harsh reality is that when you don’t develop your own vision, it’s far easier to allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.
Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat. ‘I don’t know,” Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’ ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
It’s worth noting that we are rarely without at least some level of self-awareness when we allow ourselves to fall into this state of living by default. In fact, often we recognize something needs to change, we probably even know what we need to do, we just never get around to taking the first step.
The days, months and years fly by, and while life is okay, occasionally in the back of our mind, we wonder if this is all there is; if there isn’t something more to life. Then one day we wake up and wonder, “How in the world did I end up in this life?!”
But by this time we’re so deep into commitments, routines, and habits that meaningful change feels overwhelming so we just keep on as we always have, living progressively smaller lives to accommodate what we believe is realistic and safe, because we simply don’t know what else to do.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
At any given moment, you have the power to say: ‘This is not how the story is going to end.’ ~Christine Mason Miller
Creating Your Vision
It won’t happen overnight, and you’ll be struggling against that inner voice trying to tell you all the reasons you can’t change things and why you have to just be sensible.
But if you’re willing to do the work, and have faith in yourself, creating a vision that resonates with your priorities and values, will naturally generate energy, passion, and commitment.
Not surprisingly, the most difficult step in creating your vision will be discovering what you truly want and the more complicated and demanding your life is now, the harder it will be to dig down through all those layers to connect with your true self.
So if this is the first time you’ve considered creating a vision I’m going to recommend focusing on the next year rather than attempting a vision for the rest of your life.
It’s far less intimidating and will give you some practice as well as the opportunity to learn more about yourself.
What Do You Want This Year To Be About?
What needs to happen in the next 365 days so that you can look back and feel that this was a year well lived?
Give yourself permission to explore and dream.
- How can you challenge yourself?
- What kind of person do you want to become?
- What fear can you overcome?
- What do you want to create?
- How do you want to make a difference?
Don’t limit yourself to what you think is realistic or possible, or (especially) what others expect of you. This is the type of thinking that keeps you from challenging self-limiting beliefs and discovering your true potential.
Above all, don’t worry about achieving a perfect vision. This is simply about creating a focus for the choices you make and the actions you take. A great way to go about this process is to set a theme for the year that will serve as your trigger to keep you on track.
It is well within your power to live a life true to yourself, but it means finding the courage to admit what you want and need and that requires taking full responsibility for your life. Others have done it, and so can you.
And never doubt even for a moment that you are worth it!
Related reading …
- Guiding Rules For The Life You Want To Live
- It’s Never Too Late To Take Charge Of Your Life
- How Expectations Become Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.