Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others (Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels)
Your vision for your goals is the starting place for all the results you produce in your life. So if you are looking for change in your current circumstances and outcomes, the first thing you need to clarify is what you see. Life stewardship – how you manage your time, talent and treasure – cannot be done well unless you have a clear and compelling vision that drives your actions.
When you can see clearly, you can avoid expending a lot of unnecessarily wasted energy. You are also more resilient when obstacles come in your path.
One definition of vision that I find helpful can be found in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. It states that vision is “a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination.”
Your imagination drives vision.
Think about the difference between humans and animals. Animals are reactionary creatures that do things in response to their environment. They cannot short-circuit these programmed responses by themselves.
We, on the other hand, can completely circumvent our instincts because we can dream up alternate realities to our current situations. And figure out ways to make them happen.
Vision is the collection of those alternate realities that you dream up despite your current situation.
While the instincts of animals make them reactionary, our imagination makes us revolutionary. Any change we make to our natural inclinations starts with a vision we imprint on our sub-conscience.
When you are thinking about the vision for your goals, there are three areas that I recommend you consider so that you can activate all the elements of your imagination. These are:
The environment dimension of your vision is how you imagine physical spaces. How the places you will be in willl look, feel and smell like. For example, when you have a vision to purchase a new home, get very specific. Get specific about what colors the rooms will have, and how you will furnish them. This helps to strengthen your vision.
The more vivid that picture becomes, the more powerfully it works. Your sub-conscience will kick in to put you on a path the get there.
The relationship dimension of your vision is how your imagine your interactions will be with other people. So you can develop a vision of a more fulfilling relationship with your spouse in which the two of you handle conflict better.
You can make this vision more compelling by finding role models of other couples that have already mastered this element of their relationship and find a way to spend time around them. Or you can read books that paint a clear picture of the elements in a healthy marriage so you can identify what needs to change from how your currently relate.
The techniques dimension of your vision is about the tools and strategies you are going to use in your newly imagined life. It could be as simple as having a vision that you will use a budget, if you haven’t used one before. Making it very clear in your vision what that budget will include, what tool you will use to manage it (online or offline) and how often you will look at it is all part of building up the technique dimension of your vision.
The most important aspect of your vision if you want it to truly drive your outcomes is that it is written down. A vision that only lives in your head does not become concrete enough to truly drive what you do on a daily basis because your imagination can work against you and constantly morph the vision and make it fuzzy.
The clarity of your vision comes from the writing of your vision. Remember, you have the power to edit it at any time you want, so there is no reason to fear or procrastinate from writing it down.