What It Really Means To Create A Vision

Written by on January 2, 2017 in Sense of Purpose

Vision For Your Life~

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.

Sometimes You Just Need to FOCUS 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 …

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

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.

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  1. Kathryn Maclean
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marquita,
    Wonderful post and timely for the new year. Having a vision for the new year.
    Looking back to see what you have accomplished at the end of the year. Taking action with the challenges – what kind of person were you? How did I challenge myself? What fear did I overcome? What did I create? How did I make a difference? All these questions to look back on and reflect upon. Great article!

  2. Amaka Adindu
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thank you for sharing. Great post of vision. Life is blind without one. Fear hinders people from following their vision. Vision is a window to the future though challenging for some due to fear but it is the best. I remember the quote “If you can dream it you can achieve it”

  3. Ruth Bowers
    Twitter:
    says:

    For most of my adult life I’ve had a hard time visualizing what I want for my own life because I’ve let myself be distracted by other people’s visions. This year I’m refocusing on my own vision of what I want my life to look like, and am spending more time doing the things that get me to where I want to be. Thanks for a great post Marquita!
    Ruth Bowers recently posted…Not Using Video for Your Content? Here are a few stats that might change your mindMy Profile

    • I’m so glad to hear that Ruth! You surely are not alone when it comes to distractions, but it sounds like you’ve found a way to shift your focus and that’s wonderful because you deserve to achieve whatever you want out of life – ya just gotta reach out for it! 🙂

  4. Sue Bride
    Twitter:
    says:

    Although I’m not one for making New Year resolutions, creating a vision for the coming year appeals and makes sense. I’m going to use the 5 questions you pose here as the basis. Thank you Marquita. I’ve reached a wonderful stage where I’m content with life and my biggest challenge is maintaining that financially, for myself and my dependents.
    Sue Bride recently posted…11 Practical Methods to Increase Creativity For BloggersMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you found value in the article Sue! Being a big picture kinda gal myself using a theme and creating a vision for the year feels right to me as well. Wishing you all the best for the New Year Sue!

  5. Beth Hewit
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marquita,

    What a really great topic. I think having visions is so great. You can take control and have a hold on what happens next. I think focusing on visions for a year is also a great way to practice. Hopefully giving people enough time to see the rewards of sticking to their visions.

    I’m going to check out the books you recommended

    Thanks,

    Beth
    Beth Hewit recently posted…I’m a Planning MonsterMy Profile

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Beth! I have to admit one of the most effective ‘tools’ I use is simply the background image on my computer. As a researcher and writer, I spend a LOT of time working on my laptop and having a powerful, eye-catching image with my personal mantra in front of me all the time keeps me extremely focused. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, always appreciated. 🙂

  6. Cheryl
    Twitter:
    says:

    I think Vision Boards would be helpful in this process. You can edit and update as time goes on. It’s a great goal setting and reaching tool.

    • I must admit I have mixed feelings about vision boards. I’m a very visual person so I can relate to the concept, but from what I’ve seen people tend to put a lot more effort into finding the right pictures than actually doing anything about achieving their desired outcome. Of course, that’s a blanket statement and surely there are people who rock vision boards. Ultimately I think we each have to find what works best to support our efforts to create inspiration and momentum. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. William Rusho
    Twitter:
    says:

    I agree to have a vision, and a goal to set your sights on. The road there does not mean it is a straight path. We often get one a side road that temporarily takes us off this path. But sometimes, that road is filled with things we would have experience before. As the old saying goes, “it is not important how you got there, as long as you got there.”

    • You bring up an excellent point William! When I think of the life path analogy I can’t help but compare it to the way I like to travel since my favorite kind of vacation is a road trip with only a few planned stops and lots of time and space to explore around those anchors. Some of the most valuable experiences in life happen on unexpected detours!

  8. Sue Kearney
    Twitter:
    says:

    I listen. I listen for the keywords (easy/ease). I listen for the actions and filter them through my keyword. If they don’t match, I don’t do the action.

    My vision has everything to do with being of service, with being mentor to the women who need what I have learned and am so honored to teach.

    I no longer feel like I need to create vision; instead I feel like I am called to weedwhack what gets in the way of me stepping toward my clear vision every single day. Now that’s a job!
    Sue Kearney recently posted…In the stillness: winter’s whispers and new year bring changesMy Profile

    • Haha, love the weed whacker analogy – the perfect image Sue. Seriously, I’m not at all surprised you have such a clear vision, but it sounds like it’s all about your work and I hope that you have a vision for your personal life as well. The truth is our vision should never be carved in stone because that means we’re static and not growing, as we grow then our vision for life should automatically expand as well. And along the way, we need to keep that “weed whacker” handy to rid ourselves of distractions and obstacles. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful insights Sue, always appreciated!

  9. Vatsala Shukla
    Twitter:
    says:

    I use my experiences of the year that is going and what I want to achieve during the coming year to create a Theme Word for the year. This helps me to formulate my Vision combined with an exercise that involves working on my legacy, Marquita.

    It provides the Inner GPS to keep me on track for the year.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Executive Presence & Professional Brand needs a Strong VocabularyMy Profile

  10. Julie Gorges
    Twitter:
    says:

    This blog was packed with gems. Loved the quotes by Anthony Robbins and Alice from Wonderland, and Christine Mason Miller. As I get older, I realize more fully how fast life can pass by. As you pointed out so well, if you don’t have a vision for your life than you can easily get distracted by all the demands in life and simply drift along. Great advice on how to live the fulfilling life we’ve all dreamed about.

  11. My vision is sometimes clear and sometimes a bit foggy. Everyone once in a while I revisit and question it’s direction. But, in the end, it’s always there leading me and helping me more forward in one form or another.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful insights.
    InspiredByMyMom recently posted…20 Inspiring Women We Lost in 2016 : A TributeMy Profile

    • Oh I think we need to regularly revisit our vision(s) for life. A vision isn’t meant to be carved in stone and as we grow and our lives change then naturally so will our vision for the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  12. What a perfect post to start off the New Year Marquita. Having a vision is what fuels are creativity. What brings focus to the things in our lives that feel chaotic. When we have vision we feel empowered, confident and less fearful. Thank you for sharing your wisdom xo

  13. Reba Linker
    Twitter:
    says:

    This post is so timely and so true – our vision is so important – and there is no better time to create than vision than right now! Wonderful post!
    Reba Linker recently posted…Touched by an angel – TIME HealsMy Profile

  14. Donna Merrill
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marquita,

    I created a “vision” and did take action upon it. It was bigger than my logical mind would think.

    What I mean by this is that I had no limits…it took some work to vision that road and know every twist and turn. Then when putting it into action it was better than I could ever imagine.

    So…this is timely for me because I have to back to the drawing board one again and refine things. Sometimes things happen quickly and we need to re-visit things.

    I’m not afraid of doing more. What scares me the most is not knowing the road I’m on.

    What a wonderful article.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…8 Blogging Fears You Can OvercomeMy Profile

    • Good for you Donna! I couldn’t agree more with you about the importance of feeling confident you’re on the right path – kind of like that old analogy about suddenly waking up one day and realizing all this time that your career ladder has been up against the wrong wall! Thanks for stopping by my friend.

  15. Sushmita
    Twitter:
    says:

    Loved the post as always!
    This year is growing and building my Brand with others
    Hoping for the best! Fingers crossed 🙂
    Sushmita recently posted…Why I Love Looking Forward to & You Should, Too!My Profile

  16. Ravi Chahar
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey Marquita,

    It really scares me when I have no clue of the further path. It’s the vision what makes us go ahead.

    I agree with your point of devoting time and efforts. Creating the vision isn’t an overnight thing.

    You should concentrate, analyze, practice and craft it.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    ~Ravi
    Ravi Chahar recently posted…7 Indubitable Signs That You’re Not Ready For Guest Blogging.My Profile

  17. Marquita — loved this post. I’ve thought about my vision for the balance of my life (which I hope is longer than shorter). I’ve worked back from what I’d like to have people say about me when I gone, and that is, “She was a good person.”I I know that sounds very general but being a good person to me means helping other people and making a positive contribution to my various communities. To cite one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Can a Solution Without a Name Solve My Problem?My Profile

    • I think it makes perfect sense Jeannette, and I have no doubt you’ll achieve your desired results. 🙂 I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

  18. My theme for this year would be to ‘Sell More & Chant More’.This way i will be able to reconcile my spiritual goals with the worldly goals.As you mentioned in this article, my deathbed wish will still be in line with the commitments I have to meet for my family. As i chase my dreams to seek happiness, I will also come closer to everlasting happiness by keeping my mind focussed on God through chanting.I wont be bogged down by rejections as i remain aligned with the long term goal.
    Priya Prabhu recently posted…Effect of chanting in a spiritually pure environmentMy Profile

    • Sounds inspiring Priya and it also sounds like you’ve given your focus for the year good thought. Thank you for sharing your theme with us and for contributing to the conversation.

  19. ikechi
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marquita

    There is something great about vision that makes one who is lost to feel alive again. It is sad to go through life without achieving your dreams. I say it is better to try out your dreams than to regret taking the step.

    Thank you so much for a great post. Take care
    ikechi recently posted…The 10 Most Popular Posts That Rocked in 2016My Profile

    • Beautifully said Ikechi. One the one hand, I agree with those who caution that we should be “realistic” but – to me – that doesn’t mean dreaming smaller, it just means planning better! Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  20. Chery Schmidt
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hello & Happy New Year Marty! What a great post to start 2017 out! I love your advice about setting a theme for the year that will serve as our trigger to keep us on track. WOW I am all over this one! Going to pull my journal out and get this one down on paper ASAP!

    Great Share As Always
    Thanks
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Create A 6 Figure Business From Your Lap TopMy Profile

    • And Happy New Year to you Chery! Glad you found the post inspiring and I hope you’ll share your word or theme because I’d love to see how you translate it into action during the year. 🙂

  21. Lea Bullen
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Marquita,
    I’m completely against doing what is expected of you. I think everyone should take the time to figure out what is important to them, creating their own vision of their lives. That’s what you should work towards. Because that will make you happy and fulfilled not someone else’s notion.
    ~Lea
    Lea Bullen recently posted…7 Ways to Pound Your Fears into Motivational Pixie DustMy Profile

    • Haha! Clearly, you have an entrepreneur’s mindset Lea because an employer might just balk at your statement. As I mentioned earlier, personally I have a love/hate relationship with expectations. When I worked in sales the best compliment I ever received from a client was “Working with you is a ‘no-brainer’ because I know I can always count on you!” You see? I fulfilled that client’s expectations so he knew he could rely on me. Then there are the employees who worked for me. It’s a proven fact that people will very often work UP to your expectations for them. And finally, I always maintain very high expectations for my own behavior and to do otherwise would mean that I am living below my potential.

      If you look up the definition of the word expectation all it means is a strong belief that something will happen in the future – that’s it. So much of the associated interpretation about expectations being carved in stone has come from those who write about it and as with so many other things that perspective has taken on a life of it’s own. Oh dear, I’m on a rant! Well, clearly this is why I plan to write about this topic in the future. So glad you enjoyed the post Lea and I’m looking forward to visiting you to read your advice on managing fear. 🙂

  22. Mark
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for starting the year out right, with incredibly your powerful insights & distinctions M!

    I love the way you so skillfully differentiated between “Expectation and Vision.”

    I think sometimes, without meaning to, and or realizing we are actually doing so, we kinda interchange, these two very distinct concepts.

    And as you pointed out, often times, we really haven’t taken the necessary time or effort, to create a practical vision, which truthfully aligns with our values!

    Thanks so much, for helping us understand, and appreciate the stark differences between the two, so often confused concepts!
    Mark recently posted…This Is Why Savvy Entrepreneurs Love The How To Information Business!Part FiveMy Profile

    • I have to admit I have a real love/hate relationship with expectations, Mark, which is why I plan to devote an entire post to the topic later on. I’m glad you found this post of value and I hope it will inspire a few more people to create a vision at least for this year. Even when setting goals I find working backwards gives me a much better path to success and I believe the same principal applies with a vision because it creates focus.

  23. The Miller quote is great: “This is not how the story is going to end.” As a writer, I create all sorts of stories, from blogs to novels to a two minute snippet to entertain my sister.
    But I never thought about applying that directly to my life. What a –excuse me– novel approach to take. Off to ponder it!

    • Glad you found it inspiring RoseMary. I believe, if you dig in a little, you’ll find your entire life is based on narrative … the stories you tell yourself and others about who you are, where you’re from and where you are going. Think about it. 🙂

  24. Hi Marquita,
    you made it clear what it means to create a vision. I like the quote of Tony Robbins. There is a powerful force in us if we have a vision we can feel it. A life without vision is like a boat without a rudder. With a vision, we are able to choose our direction. I like you mentioned expectation which really can make it difficult to find the right way. It is better to be open to the opportunities than expecting a certain outcome. Good, to have always the big goal in mind, but take little action steps when an opportunity shows up. I am looking forward to your next article. Thank you
    Erika

    • Well said Erika! I always try to leave plenty of wiggle room in my plans, in part because – as we all know – life happens. But also because I’m a wanderer at heart and sometimes those detours we hit along our path take us to some pretty amazing places we never could have otherwise dreamed of! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  25. Dave
    Twitter:
    says:

    It feels ironic that as I sit here and look out the window, the layer of fog blanketing the landscape before me obscures my vision, making everything seem a bit murky and unclear.

    Sure as the sun is rising in the east, I know that fog will burn off and things that are not visible right now will be so within an hour or two. Both courage and faith are required to define your vision and stick to it no matter what the landscape presents around you.

    I have a word that has come to mind over the past week in my thoughts that have been spurred by your last several posts. Initiate. I have a habit of coming up with grandiose plans and then become complacent in feeding off the hope of something occurring instead of stepping on the accelerator and initiating action.

    In the last two weeks of this year, I have not necessarily laid out a plan, but I have become much more proactive in utilizing every free moment at my disposal to do something that aligns with a vision that is developing.

    My BHAGs for this year are to submit at least one story per month to a literary magazine for submission, to secure a literary agent for my first novel, to obtain a publishing contract with said agent for my book, and to draft a new novel before the end of the year – all while keeping my weekly blog and online presence active.

    Those are the to-dos. The more important part, who I want to become is wrapped inside one word. Fearless. Not in a reckless or irresponsible way, but rather in the vein of knowing and believing that anything and everything is possible with dedication, perseverance, and focus.

    Thanks for sharing your vision, Marty, and best wishes for an inspired, focused, and flourishing 2017!
    Dave recently posted…Chasing the SunMy Profile

    • Inspired and inspiring as always Dave. 🙂 I believe in you so I’m looking forward to seeing you achieve your aspirations! Normally, I’m pretty decisive about my focus coming into a New Year but this year I was so focused on completing a project that everything else got put on the backburner so I’m doing a little catch-up at the moment. BUT, I have finally decided on a two-word theme for the year which I am officially announcing right here – FREEDOM! Lots of ideas, some pretty scary, but then that’s what makes it fun, right? Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful insights my friend, always appreciated.

  26. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    Having a vision is so important; seeing our dream before we arrive at it. At times we wonder how on earth we will move from the vision to the dream but taking one small action brings us one step closer.

    I am all for thinking big; far beyond what we think and know we are capable of.

    I like the quote regarding Alice not knowing which road to take. Without focus and planning we too would feel like Alice.
    Phoenicia recently posted…New Year, New Goals!My Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Phoenicia! I know you have dreams, as do I, and I believe one of the most important aspects of creating a strong vision is that sometimes we are the only ones who can see our dreams. We can’t sit back and wait for others to motivate us! Thanks for sharing and contributing to the conversation.

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