None of us knows with any sort of certainty what outside forces are going to impact our lives. However we all have the power to work towards our own clearly defined desire for the future. Without an inspired, desired picture of what we want to accomplish there are huge implications in the present.
Without clarity about the direction you are headed, that list of ‘to-dos’ in front of you, can become tremendously hard to stay focused on. Procrastination is so common and not surprisingly it may have a lot to do with the fact that you don’t have a super compelling reason for why the things on your list are there in the first place.
A future vision that gets you excited, will impact you today.
Without a motivating, crystal clear direction it is easy to back burner the tough stuff. A picture is worth a thousand words and the process of developing an inspiring image of your desired future turns out to be more important than you might suspect.
A meaningful, clear image of the future can serve to not only compel you to reach higher, and think bigger but it sets you up to drive harder and take-on whatever is necessary to get there. A vision that builds on what really stimulates you will not only incite you to work effectively towards that end, but will make you feel stronger, more confident, and happier.
If you are waking up in the morning dreading the day, think about where you are headed. How energizing is your vision of the future? If you aren’t sure what you want to achieve in the longer term you have an important opportunity in front of you.
Sorting out a vision for my future sounds great, but I don’t even have time to eat lunch!
Designing a vision is not often an easy process. And yes it does take introspection, some creative thinking and time. Some people are more naturally visionaries, but everyone can benefit from investing the time to think through what would be worth taking some risk to accomplish in the long-term. Without investing the time there are huge implications for your personal satisfaction in the day to day.
But I am NOT Creative
A blank piece of paper can be daunting whether you are an artist, a writer, a programmer, or a CEO. If your natural inclination is to skip ‘the vision’ and get right down to business, I encourage you to take the time to do a bit of introspection and planning. Anyone can learn some techniques to becoming a more creative thinker
Start with what really matters to you. What do you care about? A great vision will build on your values. Where do you want to have a meaningful impact? What gets you going?
Visualization involves a bit of art and science, and visual based techniques can help us link possibility thinking, intuition, and current realities.
Visioning is a common strategy in sports. Olympic skaters imagine themselves going through the steps and landing a perfect jump. Visual thinkers create pictures or models of a problem in their mind, play with the visual, move it around, refine it, and use it to raise more questions.
A drawing or model helps push thinking further. Albert Einstein imagined himself traveling through the universe as a “man in a box” on a ray of light. This vision helped him develop the theory of general relativity.
Try out one of the following creative techniques designed to open up your thinking:
- Envision an article written in the future about you. What would it say? In what publication would it be written?
- Draw a picture of your desired future in a diagram, sketch, model, or in a photographic montage.
- In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron suggests writing a journal to help develop ideas.
- Imagine yourself receiving an award for a major accomplishment. What is the award for? What has been accomplished?
- Mind Mapping in another powerful technique that can help generate ideas and expand thinking. The process involves expanding on ideas using key words and branches. The objective is to make a thorny,complex or murky issues easier to understand, explore or talk about. The ‘map uses words, lines, colors, images and links to draw out associations and stimulate thinking. Try it out by writing one word that really motivates you and draw a circle around it. Put some spokes or branches radiating from that word and start freely associating that word with other thingss that come to mind. Keep repeating the process by putting circles around your new words and adding spokes. You never know what will come up!
Visual tools and techniques are the most effective when they are set in the right framework. One of the keys to good visioning is asking good questions. The combination of questioning and visual techniques can bring out the “creative thinker” in even the most task-oriented person. Are you focused on the right questions
We are often too close to our own situations and challenges. A properly trained coach can help you paint a better picture of the future. A future where you can make more of a meaningful impact, feel confident about your work, and maybe even lose track of time, because you are loving what you do so much,. You have the power to impact the world in new, important, and exciting ways and the time to think about it is right now!
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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