Think of the people who created extraordinary businesses from the ground up; people who have achieved extraordinary success – Bill Gates, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey to name a few – what did it take for them to realize their vision?
They were willing to operate in the unknown – to be at risk, to operate in faith and trust. And they never stopped pursuing that vision. Some people have a very strong vision for themselves and their lives. It comes naturally for them. Others of us, not so much. We have some vague ideas, maybe. Some hopes and wishes, but a vision? Mostly not. So if your vision isn’t there for you, if it’s not clear, how do you create and realize your vision? Well, you’ve got to do some thinking. It’s an exploration. An exploration of you and what’s important to you. It’s an exercise, and it takes a bit of work. Once you invest the time, however, you’re on the path to an extraordinary life with freedom, power and prosperity. In this article, we’ll look at the basic steps for generating and realizing a vision. In later articles, we will explore each aspect more closely.
1. “Big thinking precedes great achievement” (Wilferd Peterson)
How big can you imagine? When you’re creating your vision, ask yourself the questions that get you thinking of the bigger picture of your life. It’s not just about what you want now, but what is your life for? What is the legacy you will leave the world? These questions can be tough to answer, and they require an exploration of what is really important to you. Questions such as:
- What do you want out of life?
- What do you think it will take for you to achieve that?
- If you were to achieve it, what difference Vision 20 would it make for you, your family, your community, and the world?
“In the long run men hit only what they aim at.” – Henry David Thoreau
2. Divorce your beliefs
That marriage is over! You’ve got to be willing to let go, say good-bye to the beliefs that have kept you from articulating and pursuing your vision. Your beliefs that tell you, “I don’t have time to think about the future,” or “I need to deal with today’s problems.” Your beliefs limit you, and tell you it’s not possible to achieve your dreams or vision anyway. Don’t let your beliefs stop you from fully exploring and acting upon your vision. Don’t deny the exploration because you don’t know how to get there. The thoughts you have today create your future. Be willing to look at what that vision is, despite what you believe could happen. Be willing to dream, to imagine.
3. Get the picture
Picture your vision in your mind’s eye. Imagine feeling successful and accomplished. Imagine the sights, the colors, the smells, the sounds, the tastes, the feeling. Imagine what your life will be like if your vision were fulfilled. Here are more questions to ask yourself as you are creating your vision:
- What is success to you?
- What does living an extraordinary life mean to you?
- What kind of person would you have to be to achieve it?
4. Write it down
Your vision is so important that you want to sit down and take the time to write it out for yourself. You’ve got to describe it, imagine it, think it. Let your mind wander. Be willing to think big – bigger than you think you are capable of. The vision is beyond what is reasonable and predictable. Write about your relationships, your home, your activities, and your community. The more detail you write down, the more real it becomes, whether you believe the vision is possible or not.
5. Create your vision daily
Commit to creating your future now, ongoingly, in the moment. There is only now. You create the vision with your thoughts and feelings right now. You cannot wait for the future. Practice creating the vision in your mind every day. Be the fulfillment of your vision in the present. Bring it into the now. You don’t realize your vision by waiting for it to happen. You create it with your thoughts and words and actions – now.
“The only way to predict the future is to have the power to shape it.” – Eric Hofer
6. Share your vision
Sharing your vision with others makes it more real for you. You become it when you speak it. You won’t want to look like a fool, so you will be in action. The more you tell people about what you envision, the more willing you are to take the actions to produce the results.
7. Take actions – now
This is the most important piece. You must take actions to fulfill on your vision. You take action now. You take actions with no guarantee of success. You live at risk, with faith in your vision, and you take actions consistent with what you see for yourself. Your vision will not become reality only through thinking. You have to take actions to fulfill on the vision. You have to take actions consistent with the life you see and create for yourself in the vision, and you have to be willing never to stop or give up.
“If your vision is big enough, at some points along the way you will fail to achieve the results you desire. When you master discipline, you will not let failing stop you – you will keep going even when the results you want are not the results you produce. You will not quit. Your vision will keep you in the game. That is the key to extraordinary success” – Richard Giannamore.