4 Keys to Creating a Vision
Unprecedented results are possible when we live in a clear vision, but the struggle to create one is real. It requires commitment, courage, risk, curiosity, and surrender. As humans, we are wired for comfort. We like to look good, feel good, and be good even to a fault or the death of the life for which we long.
- We might know that we are heading toward financial ruin, but we are willing to live in the comfort of our current spending habits that make us temporarily look and feel good.
- We may realize that the relational distance between ourselves and our spouse is growing, but the thought of finding a way through the difficult conversations that keep us stuck doesn’t feel comfortable. So, we settle for the day-to-day niceties while the distance between us increases.
- Or, maybe our bodies are telling us that our stress level is taking its toll and we need to change how we are doing life, yet we don’t immediately know how to produce different results.
We fear that change might require time we don’t have or produce less than desirable outcomes because what we “tried” in the past hasn’t seemed to work. The future we see coming toward us if we enter the battle scares us so, rather than digging in, we settle for the same “normal” daily routine. We have learned how to manage this and hope that magically we will make more money, find new connection, or stop being so anxious.
We exchange momentary pleasure for long-term pain as we experience disappointment or boredom with our predictable lives. Even worse, we find ourselves dealing with our worst nightmares like bankruptcy, divorce, and disease.
But, we don’t have to!
The good news is that a vision can change all of that! It has the power to pull us through the pain of transformation or move us out of our comfort zone and into a life worth living. As humans, we want to be called up to our next level and experience our human spirit rising to the challenge and overcoming. It is the story of heroes and why Hollywood is a multi-billion dollar industry. All of us long to be the hero in our story and experience our deepest desires, seeing that we have what it takes to make them our reality.
A vision is the roadmap, or the hero's action plan, that will lead us to those experiences. Now, I am not referencing a map scribbled on a napkin that winds up getting us lost along the way or leads us to give up. No, I am referencing a vision that holds us through the pain of leaving our comfort zone and supports us through the battle for a future worth having. That kind of vision requires intentionality and is made up of four important keys: specific results, future-based language, a near-term completion date, and clear action steps.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of those keys.
1. Specific results: What result do you want to produce? What in your life is currently not working for you? Are enemies like anxiety, lack of connection, or a shortage of discipline blocking the life for which you long? No problem, welcome to being a human. Those are the daily enemies we all face. However, they are meant to strengthen and grow us rather than defeat us. They are the daily workouts that increase our character, grow our commitment, and cultivate love. It is the hero's journey, for which we are each created.
So, getting specific about what life will be like if we overcome these obstacles is the first key to a powerful vision. For example, let’s say I am in conflict with my teenager. As much as I don’t like it, most of our conversations end in frustration on both our parts. A specific result I want to produce might be: To make a difference in her life and experience deep connection.
2. Future-based language: Notice that the result I long for above doesn’t talk about what isn’t working for me currently. Instead, it is calling me to a future worth having. When creating a vision, it is really easy to focus on our shortcomings or base our destination on our fears. For example, as I sit in the guilt and pain of another disappointing argument with my son/daughter and write a vision, I might be tempted to write a vision something like this: “I am not fighting with my teenager, and I am a better mom/dad.” That isn’t a vision of a future worth having but rather a picture of my painful past. As humans, where our focus goes, there our energy flows. Focusing on our past will simply bring us to repeat the very things we want to overcome. So, a future-based vision takes what I desire and communicates it as though it is my reality now. I take my desire and establish my vision to be: I am deeply connected and making a difference in my teenager’s life.
3. Completion date: Life is short and obstacles are going to consistently come into our lives. We need to face the current challenge so that we can be prepared for the next one. This means we need to call ourselves up by establishing a specific, near-term date by which we commit to producing this result. Using the vision above, I might decide that three months is the length of time needed to see how I am getting in my own way, take action, and produce new results. So, if today is January 10th, I commit to producing this result by April 10th, 2018.
4. Clear action steps: Current relationship tensions do not happen by chance. We make the best choices we see available according to how life occurs to us, based on our beliefs about ourselves, past experiences, and the future we fear. I can speak personally to this as this was my experience with my daughter about five years back when she fell in love at eighteen and wanted to get married soon after. Our conversations were ignited by fear, anxiety, and disappointment. I feared she was making a poor choice, I wasn’t ready to let go, and I was disappointed, feeling I had not done enough in parenting her. She was afraid that we didn’t trust her, felt unloved in my painful reactions, and was disappointed that I couldn’t share her happiness. All of that lay under the surface, unseen. It was challenging to recognize it in the day-to-day circumstances, such as her deciding to leave college to get a certification license. I feared for the future heading toward her and had an extremely hard time controlling my emotions in the day-to-day opportunities. I needed action steps like these to hold me in the chaos of the moment and call me to the outcome I longed for in our relationship:
I love without judgment.
I listen generously.
I trust in my daughter’s greatness and her ability to create a life worth living for herself.
I have weekly dates with her to laugh and connect.
These types of actions steps allowed me to take account at the end of each day of how I was showing up in my desire to be connected and make a difference in her life. They could hold me in the chaos by giving me tools that would move me out of my comfort zone and into humility, peace, and love. (If you are thinking I am a great mom, please let me be vulnerable and say I didn’t have the understanding and discipline to create this vision when we were walking through this season with our daughter. It didn't come until after she was married, and I realized I could either settle for an empty relationship with her or fight for a future worth having, and thankfully I choose the latter. I am so excited to tell you a vision works!!! We just came from living with her and her husband for two-and-a-half weeks, and it was a life worth living! Our time together was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined possible a few years earlier).
Now, back to a vision. If I take the four steps above and put them together, this becomes my vision.
Today's date: January 10th, 2018
By: April 10th, 2018
Vision: I am deeply connected to and making a difference in my teenager’s life.
I commit to:
Love without judgment.
Be a generous listener.
Trust in my child's greatness and her ability to create a life worth living for herself.
Have weekly dates with her to laugh and connect.
A vision like this can pull you through the pain of transformation and into the result you long to have in your relationship with your child. This applies to whatever result is most needed in your life right now.
What if the challenges, disappointments, and conflict in your life are actually blessings in disguise, beckoning you toward the life you long for? Are you ready to embrace your hero’s journey and make a difference in the lives of those around you? I promise you, you have what it takes. Your life worth living was born in you. You simply need a vision to start calling it forth!
Another great bit of news is you don’t have to go it alone. If you want someone to stand with you as you create your vision and fight for your life worth living, as a transformational coach, I would be honored to do that. Simply reach out and let’s chat.