Jack Canfield says, “You only have control over three things in your life – the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take.” And that’s all true. But if you’ve never known how to conjure up huge scary vision, this can seem a little cart before the horse.
This blog is a follow-up based on the blog I wrote about “It’s Not the Planning, It’s the Implementation“.
Visioning is different than goal setting.
Having clarity around our mission and vision gives us purpose – and we use this purpose to develop goals of many shapes and sizes.
The more expansive the vision, the more imperative the purpose, and the more complex and expansive the goals.
Today, I want to address three myths about Visioning and share a few ideas on how to actually get yourself to think outside of your self-imposed limits.
In order to tackle the process of doing some visioning work, let’s address three myths that hold us back from knowing how to set huge scary goals.
Myth #1: I have to know everything about how life will play out before I vision and set goals
How this myth manifests:
~Always needing more life info… asking “what if I get married?” “what if I have kids?” “what if there is a pandemic?” (okay, I don’t think anyone actually ASKED that last one, but from here on out, I can bet you we will!)
~Insisting on needing a “how-to manual”
~Claiming that visioning and planning go against our personalities.
What to do or reframe:
~Remember, as I’ve said before, visioning, planning, and goal setting are SKILLS. You are not born knowing how to vision. I dare that ability is actually stolen from us in about 4th grade. You must practice.
~Remove specific outcomes if they have become obstacles. Often times, we think we need to come up with SMART goals in order to understand our vision. A goal can be REALLLLLLLY huge, and therefore mask as a vision or purpose. Ask the important questions of “who do I want to be?” and “how do I want to feel?” if you get stuck. (Another good one is “what do I want my legacy to be?”
~Do some research on visioning and goal setting. Read blogs like this, or check out Tara McMullins Commitment Blueprint. Here’s the deal: people say they can’t vision and yet have never done any research on what it is, how it manifests, and how to begin doing it. Since it’s in our cultural vocabulary, there is some general watered-down idea of what visioning is – and guess what? You’re right. You can’t do that. No one can.
Myth #2: Visions/Goals/Purpose does not/should not/cannot change
How it manifests:
~ We hold onto something, someone, or some idea for wayyyyyyy too long out of fear, pride, or both.
~ We risk allowing adopted values and adopted goals to take over our life mission and purpose.
What to do or reframe:
~ Reframe vision casting into a living, dynamic, expansive thing. Because that is exactly what it is. Just like you are! Let it be a guiding principle rather than a set of checkboxes.
~ Double-check to be sure your goals aren’t too small – often times we mistake huge scary goals and accomplishments for vision.
~ Lean into sensing the impact your vision brings rather than the actions you take will achieve. What do others feel and do because of your presence in their life?
Myth #3: If I don’t succeed at this thing, I’m a failure
How it manifests:
~ Inaction. One never starts because one is afraid to start. Because if one starts, one may not finish, and that would be failure.
~ Resisting investing time or money because of the fear of sunk costs – the guilt or shame that comes from “being wasteful” with time, energy, resources, etc.
~ Hiding our talents our of fear of embarrassment – one doesn’t put oneself out there out of fear of losing face.
What to do or reframe:
~ This is imperative: Take a real good look in the mirror and have a come to Universe talk about where you have been successful in the past, what works for you in terms of the way you have accomplished past achievements, and how graceful and powerful you are at getting shit done. (Seriously though – if ya can’t pinpoint where things are working, you can’t repeat these actions and call upon them to help you in time of need. Forget this false modesty crap – that’s just as arrogant as thinking more highly of yourself than you ought. Just own it and leverage it, and stop trying to fix all your problems with worry over what you can’t do well.)
~ Practice mindfulness about your present circumstance in order to be grounded into your future. What is going on around you? Where are you in terms of what is enjoyable about your current situation? What is not? Feel the cool of the grass under your toes in the meadow while you look to the mountaintop.
How to Conjure Up Huge Scary Vision
Now that we’ve addressed some of those stories you’ve had floating around your noggin, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. How to vision.
Step 1: Know thyself.
It may surprise you to know that you’re amazing, have accomplished an awful lot, and have times in your life you can look back on and confidently say “I felt my best self when ________”.
In the How to Run Your Voice Biz Without Hating Your Boss™️ program, I do an exercise that many coaches do to get you to understand your through-lines. (This is in our Branding module, but HEY! you can use it for lots of other things!)
1. Write down all the jobs you’ve ever had. Like ever. From pickin’ up poop for the neighbors to running your voice business.
2. For each job answer these questions:
….What did you love about the job?
….What did you hate about the job?
….How did you impact people on the job?
3. Find the through-lines. Pay attention to them.
Spending time with CliftonStrengths and getting coached around your strengths, going to therapy, journaling, doing a core values exercise – all of these things will allow you to know yourself and what has given you life and joy.
Journal more. Set the intentional time to reflect and think about yourself. Take more baths (without your phone). Go on a “journal walk” where you walk and think about yourself and how your recent inner days have gone.
Look to the past to determine the future.
Step 2: Explore the Foggy Mist
Vision is not specific. SMART goals are specific. Projects are specific. Tasks are specific.
Vision is not.
Vision is the foggy mist of possibility and power. It is the place where you have a vague sense of knowing the unknown because you have experienced the known.
Right now, release the idea that vision is a laser beam, and allow it to become a sunbeam.
What do you see when the sunshine hits your life? How are you interacting with people? How does your sunshine reflect off the water of others’ souls?
Forget about what makes sense for today.
Forget about what is achievable or relevant or probable.
In fact, forget about anything that seems remotely reasonable and have at it.
Where are you? What are you doing? What colors are you wearing? What is your temperature and who is with you? What feelings are you experiencing?
Float up into the foggy mist and play with possibility.
Step 3: Make a Commitment to the journey rather than the destination.
Slow down to move fast. Top organizations all over the world and their leadership models have realized this: When you slow down, you go fast. Instead of trying to increase effort and output, these teams and businesses increase commitment and process.
Commitment to the journey is a commitment to experiencing each day as it comes while we experience making each day happen. It’s saying “These things are non-negotiable for me, so for heck or high water, I will make this happen.”
This is (finally) where planning would come in. When we focus on up to three things in each quarter, we get them all done. In a year, we have, most likely, done all we need to have reached some significant milestones. When we try to get twelve things done in a year, we are lucky if we get two or three things accomplished.
Allowing the slowness and patience of “three things at a time” does three things:
1. Forces us to be mindful of our everyday lives.
2. Reminds us that our everyday lives are the point. They are the journey. The everydays are the vision in action.
3. Removes the danger of the hustle – it’s hard to make poor choices when we are taking time to accomplish intentional goals.
Step 4: Invite projects that lead you to become the person who has created your vision.
As your Foggy Mist experience gives your inklings of ideas, each time you create a project, goal, or task – whether it be major or minor – you have an opportunity to use that project/goal/task as a litmus test to determine if that particular goal gets you closer to being the person in your vision.
Here’s an example: let’s say your Foggy Mist tells you that you know that someday, you will be known for the way you showed up in your local community and worked toward a better standard of living for all in your town. Then, a dear friend comes to you and asks you to help her head up three trips to the state capitol to speak on homelessness and food distribution for a county six hours away. You can ask, “does the person who is known for showing up in their local community go and fight for a county six hours away?” The answer is probably not. However! The person who is known for showing up in their local community does reach back out and asks for how it can be tied back to her local municipality, creates a partnership with her dear friend, and they go to the state capitol for both.
Vision will always ask you to become a different person than you are today. Vision asks for change. Since it is big and foggy, it requires you to step into a place of creativity, growth, and discomfort. I think this is why it’s hard to do – because how do you conjure up a huge scary vision for a person you have yet to meet?
Step 5: Continue the dance
You do so by continuing to dance. You spin and dip and twirl in and out of clarity and fog, knowing and unknowing, being and becoming.
Remember a while back in this article when I said “Reframe vision casting into a living, dynamic, expansive thing”? This is part of the dance.
The nature of dancing does not change – yet as you practice, you become more precise.
So, you must continue to dance in the foggy mist so that you become more clear on what you would like to experience in your daily life so that you commit to becoming the person you need to be so that you can live out your purpose and choose to do things that fulfill your vision.
I wish I could make Hugh Scary Vision more simple.
I really do. It’s so much more comfortable to simply have a game plan and check off boxes. It’s so much more secure to have a map, or some system someone else has concocted for us that we just show up and execute.
At the end of our mortal stew, we will most likely not be hung up on which list we finished or didn’t, or which project was left undone.
We will wonder, however, the impact we had and what it all meant. We will wonder what joy we brought, or what pain we soothed.
Visioning is the scary act of deciding those things in advance and committing to the process of making it a reality.
My challenge to you this week is thus: Pick a time to set aside… just as you do with planning… and simply play in the foggy mist. Put it on your calendar.
Then, tell me in the comments the day and time that you will practice your dance. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come back again and comment and tell me what you discovered.
All My BeastyBoss,
P.S. If you’d like to join me on the reply as I wax eloquent on this topic, you can hop over here to the FB page and do so.: