How to Develop a Personal Vision
by Brian Ward

Introduction

Are you a visionary? Or do you prefer to spend your time in the here and now, solving problems and getting on with things? Achieving a balance between 'dreaming' about a desired future state and living in the current state is difficult. Many of us have a strong inclination towards one or the other ... very few of us are able to achieve and sustain a balance between the two.

A Tug-of-War

There is a constant tug-of-war going on between dealing with 'current reality' and developing a lofty vision of who we want to be, what we want to do and what we want to have.

This short exercise affords you the opportunity to achieve such a balance. We sincerely hope that you find it of lasting value.

1. Get relaxed

Find a quiet spot where you will not be interrupted. Gather a pad of paper and a pencil. Get seated comfortably. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and let go of all your tensions.

2. Choose a starting point

If you are the type that likes to live in current reality then start there. Ask yourself the question: What about my current reality do I have control over and would like to change? Keep asking this question about all aspects of your life:

a. Family
b. Career/Job
c. Health and Fitness
d. Home/Location
e. Financial
f. Possessions
g. Hobbies and Interests
h. Spiritual
i. Relationships
j. Life Purpose

If you prefer to take the visionary approach, project yourself forward five years from the current date, and picture a perfect day in your life where all of the above aspects are working in harmony. Picture as you arise in the morning, how all of these aspects come together gradually throughout the day, and as you retire for the night how grateful and at peace you feel for having all of these aspects work for you. Picture it as though you were living it right now, and use words in the present tense to describe it.

Now, without further ado start writing! If you prefer to draw, then do that as well, but try to capture your vision or current reality in words.

3. Prioritize

Whether you are dealing with current reality and trying to change it, or visioning a brand new future, you need to set priorities. For each aspect, compare it in turn with each of the other aspects and make a choice. Is A more important than B? C? D? etc. Go through all of these and come up with a list of prioritized areas. If an area is low on the priority list it does not mean that it gets tossed out. Instead it receives attention later rather than sooner.

4. Plan and take action

Take the first item on your list and develop a plan around it. If it is Financial, talk with a financial advisor. If it is a Career issue, talk with a trusted friend or someone who understands your career goals. In any case, talk it through with a coach, mentor or expert in the area. Search out books, educational programs etc and study them. Whatever you do, get started. As you develop and implement your plan, you will notice that the other aspects of your life will become involved. Don't worry about this. As you draw in these other aspects, you will continue to maintain a focus on your prioritized areas. This is as it should be.

5. Review and revise

Review your plan regularly, gradually weaving into it all of the other aspects of your life. Your plan and the actions taken as a result will become interwoven over time, reflecting the many faceted aspects of your life. At least once yearly, review your plan in its entirety and adjust your priorities. As you do this you will achieve a greater focus in your life, while at the same time acknowledging the complexities of this world.

Final thoughts

Most dreams remain just that ... dreams. Setting some tangible goals and getting going translates the dream into reality. It was once said that 'a goal is a dream taken seriously.' Realizing your personal vision takes uncommon persistence and determination to achieve your goals, and with that thought we leave you with the following quote by Calvin Coolidge:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." - Calvin Coolidge


Brian Ward, C.H.R.P., is a principal in Affinity Consulting. He specializes in assisting leaders and their teams develop and implement quality management systems that are client focused, team directed and outcomes based. He can be contacted at brianward@affinitymc.com .

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