Vision…If You Don’t Have it, Get it!
Have you ever had a big goal for yourself that you worked your ass off to accomplish, but no matter how hard you tried, you could only get so far? Like there was some kind of invisible wall that was blocking your path and regardless of how many times you started over and no matter how many different directions you came at it from, you still smashed face first into it every damn time? Yea, me too. And I don’t know about you, but I am stubborn as fuck and don’t at all appreciate being told I can’t do something or being stopped from doing something. I ain’t no quitter.
Having a vision and having a dream have always meant the same thing to me. I thought they were interchangeable. How wrong I was! While they’re definitely very similar, they differ in one crucial way: a dream is, ‘I want to own an oceanfront house with my husband’. A vision is seeing yourself sitting on the back porch beside your husband with a cup of tea in your hand and your dog curled up at your feet, watching the sunset over the ocean. See the difference there? The first is a kind of big picture, could belong to anyone, sort of idea. The second is very specific and very personal and puts you into that dream, making it yours. It evokes super strong feelings of what it would be like to be there. Which is absolutely essential to getting where you want to go.
My problem was that I was constantly thinking in a big picture kind of way instead of visualizing myself living the life of my dreams. I couldn’t see myself in it or imagine what it would feel like to live it. Which is why I could only get so far in working towards my goals. While I knew that all of these things – world travel, weight loss, buying and amazing home, etc – were possible for some people, subconsciously I didn’t really believe they were possible for me.
It has taken a shit ton of mental and emotional work to break down and dispose of these bogus beliefs. The key factor in getting there has been in learning how to build a vision for myself. There have been a bunch of other tips, tricks, and tools that have helped for sure, like affirmations, meditation, and surrounding myself with successful people who see my potential. But without a clear vision, without having developed the ability to picture myself living the life I want and knowing what it would feel like to have achieved these goals, I would still be slamming up against that invisible wall, unable to move forward.
Without that vision, it was way too easy to give up as things got hard. My dreams were not real to me so once my willpower ran out, there was nothing driving me, kicking my butt to stay on track.
It has been incredibly exciting for me to discover, in studying the lives and characters of a variety of wildly successful men and women, that the only difference between them and me is a crystal clear vision of success and an unwavering commitment to pursue it and see it realized. That’s it! It has nothing to do with talents and abilities. Everyone has those or can learn and develop them. It’s not desire. That’s a fundamental part of human nature. It’s certainly not money. So many of our world’s greatest leaders and most successful people came from nothing. It’s vision and a commitment to that vision.
Once I learned that, I got my ass in gear and figured out how to create a vision for myself and made a decision not to quit working towards it until I got there or died trying. Learning this skill was really not that hard, as it turns out. Here’s what it came down to, for me.
1. I took all of my dreams and goals and wrote them down as ‘I am’ statements. For example ‘I am 130 lbs, fit, strong, and healthy’ or ‘I am making $10,000/month and have more than enough to provide me and my family everything we need.’
2. I sat down and spent a good chunk of time picturing myself as each of these ‘I am’ statements. This is the bit I had the hardest time with. But I kept at it until I could feel what it would feel like if it actually happened. Don’t skip this step! This is what makes it a reality in your mind. Do this often, every day if you can. It gives such a boost of motivation and the more you do it, the easier it gets.
3. Read books. Lots of books! Books by successful people. Books about successful people. Books about leadership. Books about people who have done what you want to do. It’s a never ending source of inspiration. Devote some time to it daily!
4. Find and connect with successful people. Talk to them. Ask questions. Learn their stories.
One of the most surprising and exciting things I learned about these successful people I was reading about and meeting was that they had not achieved immediate success at their first attempts to hit their goals and dreams. Not one of them! I think we have the tendency to make these people into extraordinary superhumans in our minds, believing they possess extra talents and giftings that the rest of us ordinary people don’t which allow them to be perfect and accomplish great things with ease. The truth is, most of these people went through many ‘failures’ and derailings en route to success. What every single person shares, while their journeys may be very different, is that they never allowed their current circumstances to distract or discourage them from their visions of success.
This is where my single minded stubbornness really comes in handy. That’s what keeps me fighting every day and working my ass off when I’d really rather be sitting in my jammies, binge watching all 10 seasons of Friends, drinking my weight in wine. Once I learned that the key to my success was having that vision and refusing to take my eyes off it, no matter what my circumstances may be, no matter how far I still have left to go, I knew that all I would have to do was make the decision and be ridiculously stubborn about it. Just don’t quit. That’s the only way to fail.