Stop, Think, Reflect…
Will you make a commitment to doing the work of exploring and creating your personal vision?
Will you make personal appointments with yourself and keep them in doing this personal visioning work?
What are you willing to give of yourself to make your vision come alive? What are you willing to sacrifice?
Will you explore your past to discover the times, people and places that gave you energy and desire to be your authentic self?
Who can you go to who will ask you tough critical questions that make you squirm?
Will you stop being a victim of statements… “I don’t have…”, “People do not believe that I can…”, “I am not…”, “There is never enough time to…” ?
Personal Vision - How?
I recently read Peter Block’s The Answer to How is Yes. Added to that reading experience was a retreat that Block lead that made this book come alive. Block claims the how questions are dis-empowering and causes one to look for the
“yellow brick road” and follow it. While benchmarking has value, it should serve as motivation to do, not as the way to do.
There is no right way exploring, creating and living your personal vision. According to Block, the only way is to ask critical, thought-provoking questions and finding people who will ask the critical questions of you rather than give advice. The questions are more transformative than the answers.
Besides the critical questions listed above, grab your journal and noodle these.
Who are my roles models? What draws them to being a role model for me? What do they do to inspire others and me?
What does my spiritual being say to me? Have I taken time to listen?
What are my core values and beliefs? For what do I stand? What keeps me focused and true to my being? Look for a list of values. Look at these words and discover the three words that speak to you. Hold these words close and use them in critical thinking. When you know and understand what you value, then you live a more focused life. Living these values will guide you – the people you want to associate, where and with whom you want to work, the movies you wish to see and the person you wish to vote for in the next election. A principled person can step out of his/her comfort zone.
What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Check out the personal strength assessment from www.strengthfinders.com. Learn more about this assessment from the book NOW, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. You will gain valuable insight and receive another piece of your personal vision puzzle.
What are the themes in my life? What work, activities, service, institutions, museums and people am I drawn? What do others say I do well or inspire them? Meet one-on-one with friends and colleagues and ask them their perspectives on what you do well. If you want to delve into this deeper, hire a life coach as a guide.
Where do you see yourself a year from now? Where do you see yourself three years from now? Where do you see yourself ten years from now? Write down these visions. Describe the environment, the people who are with you, the work you are doing. Do you believe these visions? Do you trust your visions? What can you do to help yourself to believe and trust in your visions?
Develop a strategy to make your vision become reality. Does sitting in front of the television help your vision? Do the people you associate with help fulfill your vision? Are the clubs and extracurricular activities you do helping you make your vision come alive? What “mile markers” or “touchstones” do you need to create to help you know you are staying focused? What financial resources do you need? In Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he writes about the 7th habit as “sharpening the saw.” What are you doing to keep your saw sharp? Finally, what is the downside or worst-case scenario of not acting upon your strategy to help you reach your vision? What potential roadblocks might prevent you from living your vision? What can you do to minimize these potential problems?
This is the plan. This is life.
Get two objects and hold one in each hand. Gather a group of six people, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a semi-circle facing you. Turn to the person on your right and explain that you will be handing them the object in your right hand. When you hand the person the object, you will say, “This is the plan!” Before taking the object, the person must ask, “What is this?” You reply, “This is the plan!” The person who receives the object then turns to the person on his/her right and says, “This is the plan!” Again, before the person receives the object, he/she must ask, “What is this?” The question must always come back to you to answer the question and relay back, “This is the plan!” Hold participants to being accountable to these steps. After the object has reached the third person, turn to the person standing in the semi-circle on your left and hand them the object in your left hand and say, “This is life!” Before taking the object, this person must ask, “What is this?” To which you reply, “This is life!” In the mean time the object working its way from your right will be coming back to you to answer the question, “What is this?” The object given on your left will come back will also be asking, “What is this?”
Watch what happens when the two people who turn to each other with their object and make their declarations, “This is the plan!” and “This is life!”
Stop the activity and reflect on what happened. Ask why it happened. Ask how this activity relates to our personal lives.
Back in 1988, my business partner suddenly died. It was a very tough time and numbing experience. Because of the vision, we had and a vision our staff believed in, we were able to continue serving our clients and customers. We not only survived this trauma, but we thrived as people rallied, supported and lifted us up. This experience forever etched into my mind and heart the need and value of creating a vision and making it come alive.
NOW Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton , 2001, ISBN-10 0743201140
How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gill , 2007, ISBN-10 1592402860
The Answer to How is Yes: Acting on What Matters by Peter Block, 2003, ISBN-10 1576752712
Death of a Salesman see http://www.amazon.ca/Death-Salesman-Volker-Schl%C3%B6ndorff/dp/B00007ELDP (1985) “Why am I trying to become something I don't wanna become when all I want is out there waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am?"
Walk the Talk (the movie) see http://www.walkthetalk.com/free-walk-talk-movie-with-walk-talk-gift-book-purchase-p-261.html “If we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.” Christopher Reeve