Let’s Talk About…Vision

With every passing day, what position are you moving yourself towards, asks Davina Greene.

Davina Greene is The Personal Strategy Coach. 
Interested in building your Personal Strategy online? For a first-of-its-kind self-management experience, coming later in 2018, go to mystrategy.me!

“Where do you see yourself , work-wise, in 5 years’ time?”. Click. What mental picture did you take just then? That snapshot is part of your Career Vision.

“When you start your own family….” – click! Is your facial expression one of “Oh, yes!” or one of “Huh?!” when someone takes your picture in that moment? Whichever it is, you’ve moved a little closer to understanding your Family Vision.

It sounds so easy, but it is very often the biggest flaw in a person’s personal strategy that they don’t actually know what they want – they know, in essence, what they are running from, but not what they are running towards. “I don’t want to spend my life at a desk!”. Great. So, what do you want instead? “I don’t want to be an ‘uninteresting’ person!” Great. So, what are you interested in trying, what alternative story do you want to be able to tell?

First things first: I’m a firm believer in acknowledging the good things where they exist, especially when they took no effort to achieve, and so – unless you had wished to live in a disease-riddled warzone – congratulations! You’re already off to a pretty modern, ordered, privileged start to achieving whatever you want to achieve. Far, far ahead of the people in this world whose vision is to walk down their own street one day without a bomb going off beside them (I’m also a firm believer in perspective, you see). That aside…

Some people want to be the fastest person on the planet. Some people want to get married and have babies and a dog. Some people want to earn lots of money. Some people want to do something world-changing at some point during their lifetime. So, as you can see, there’s no formula to this – it’s all about the individual and what they want from their life or work in order to feel satisfaction. We’re very comfortable with the notion of sportspeople and their sense of Vision; we love a good story about the athlete meditating upon the idea of being the first to cross the line at record speed, and then doing just that. However, when it comes to ourselves, many people find the notion of visualisation a bit airy-fairy. And yet in business, we regularly review our Vision and the steps being take to get there, in a totally-not-airy-fairy way. Every Company Vision involves steps, sub-goals and milestones; you don’t just say “I want to launch a market-beating product in Brazil”, then wake up the next morning to find that the Vision Fairy organised it all for you overnight. There’s effort to be put in, to reach this optimal future state you’ve pre-selected. As individuals, we need to be less cynical about it on a personal level to get the most from it. At the same time, we need to understand that designing a Vision we’re never going to put any real effort into is a waste of time. Vision for the sake of vision? Don’t bother.

Having a bigger, positive Vision can make difficult times seem a bit easier, under “silver lining” principles – for example, while we can all agree that it’s a bit crap to be broke all the time, it’s not so bad if you’re choosing to be ‘day-to-day broke’ because you’re saving for a house. On the other hand, seeing changes happen without understanding the greater Vision can be terrifying (anyone else a bit freaked out by A.I., and robots that can run? Anyone know who’s in charge of monitoring all that? Me neither. I wonder what they’re picturing…).

Whatever Vision takes your fancy, avoid clinging to just one acceptable future – you can’t control everyone and everything, so be open to changes. Be SMART with your Vision, as you would with any goal. Be imaginative, be creative, stretch yourself…but don’t let it become a fairy-tale notion.

Key points       

Make sure your Vision is yours, and not borrowed from someone else. Mean it.

Scare yourself a little! Try the “on my deathbed” or “hit by a bus tomorrow” approach, to nudge your real Wants towards the surface.

Rip pages out of magazines where their content, tone or mood speaks to you in some way. Even if you can’t quite understand why, right now.

Don’t be overwhelmed. It is a big question – let your mind wander, for days, weeks or even months.

 

This article was first published in Irish Tatler magazine.