Last post, I distributed a note touching on six key steps to taking control in uncertain times.  For the next six weeks, we will dig a little deeper into each of those six steps, reviewing one each week.  This post, Step 1:  Creating a Clear Vision.

As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up somewhere else.”  So, where do you want to be when this all shakes out?  That answer lies within you.  Taking the time to create a clear vision of your life and business.  It provides an opportunity to conceive the personal and business life you want so you can build the plan (and belief) to achieve it… Or to say it another way, as Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” once said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  Your vision is what you conceive for your life and business and it sets the corner stone of your foundation.

So, how do you create a clear vision?  What needs to be included in that vision?  The following list of questions will guide you to define a vision that is truly meaningful for you.  The questions are divided into several areas which should be considered.  You may think of other areas in your life that you want to consider, but these are the basic areas that make up a successful and balanced life for most people.

Find a quiet place and set aside about an hour to accomplish this task.  Make sure to write down your answers.  You might even want to put on a little relaxing music or grab a fresh cup of coffee or glass of wine.  Or, you can simply do this as a mental exercise, but in our experience, as with any part of an effective action plan, if it is not written, it isn’t effective.

Let’s begin by picking a date sometime in the future.  We recommend a shorter period of time, such as six months.  What matters most is to think about what you passionately want your life and business to be like – six months from now, hopefully when the current crisis is behind us.  Then, through these questions, write your answers as if you have already achieved it.  Use words or phrases such as, “I have,” “I am,” “is,” etc.  Avoid using words like, “want,” “think,” “will,” “hope,” or “wish.”  For example, instead of, “I want my income to be $100,000 per year,” or “I hope to be employed at…” say instead, “My income is $100,000 per year,” and “I am employed at…”

Sit back, relax, dream…  And dream big!  There are no limits to a vision.  We will paint it with a brush of reality later.  Consider each of the following areas and paint a vivid picture of your life and business.  You don’t have to answer all the questions, but it will help if you consider them all…

  • Financial: Think about the financial areas of your life.  What is your annual income?  How much money do you have in savings and investments?  What is your total net worth?  How are you spending your money?  Create a clear picture of the home and possessions you have?  Are such things important to you?  If so, why?
  • Professional: Visualize success in your  Where are you working?  Who are you working with?  What kind of company are you working for?  Do you own your own business?  Describe the relationship between you, your business associates and staff.  What do they say about you and what is it like to work with you?  How much time do you spend at work?  Describe a typical “day in the life” for you as you work in your profession.
  • Business: Picture success for your business.  What does that look like?  What is it like for your staff and co-workers?  What goals has your business achieved by that date?  How has the business weathered the storm or even grown?  How have your staff and co-workers benefited from managing through this?  What are your clients like?  How do they feel about you and your services?
  • Recreational Time: Focus on your free time.  What are you doing with family and friends?  What are you doing for yourself?  What are your hobbies?  Describe your ideal time off and vacations?
  • Physical Health: What is the condition of your body?  Are you healthy?  Are you physically fit?  How often do you exercise?  What do you do for exercise?  What about your diet?
  • Your Relationships: Think about the relationships you have with family and friends and where you would like them to be?  What is the relationship with your spouse or significant other?  How about your kids?  Siblings?  Other family members?  Co-workers and business associates?  What would you want your friends or co-workers to say about you at your funeral?
  • Personal Areas: Will you go back to school?  Will you get additional training or certifications?  Learn to play an instrument?  Where are you spiritually?  Do you desire counseling or help in dealing with a past hurt?  How and where will you challenge yourself to grow personally?
  • Community: What does your relationship with the community look like?  Are you involved in causes?  What are they?  What community activities, clubs, charities or associations are you involved in?  If your community was operating perfectly, what would it look like and what would be your part in making that happen?

Now ask yourself WHY?  Why do you want these things?  Consider each area above and create a vivid why statement for each.  Dig deep on this question.  These why statements are the tools for sustaining you through the tough times.  They are the compelling reasons for doing what must be done between now and the achievement of your vision.

Now, here are a couple of other tips to consider:

  • Resist the temptation to share your vision until you have answered all the questions yourself. Though usually unintentional, others may paint your vision with a brush of their reality that could limit your thinking.  There are no limits to visioning, and this vision is YOURS!
  • You may need to take a couple passes at this, as a true vision for your life and business will take time, reflection, review, and edits. That is OK and expected.  Just committing it to paper puts you in rare company!
  • This is not necessarily easy. If it was, we would all be living much better and happier lives.  If you find it difficult, you are not alone.  Do it anyway!  It’s a growth opportunity and we all improve with practice.

Having used this process for 17 years in my practice, I know it can help you create a clear direction, your own “true North,” to best navigate these uncertain waters.

As I have mentioned previously, should you wish additional help or guidance on this exercise, I’m here for you, free of charge or obligation.  Click Here to schedule a consultation.  I truly hope you will make the time to create your vision of recovery from this situation.  You WILL feel more empowered, energized, and determined; and there is no time like the present to get started.

Look for Step 2 in our next post on creating clear values and a powerful sense of authenticity!