How to create your life vision and why it is so important
It took me feeling stuck and unhappy, to really get clear on how I wanted my life to look and feel. I was 27 and a director in a global financial services company; earnt a 6 figure salary, had a large team, managed a $5m budget and travelled the world – everything looked great on paper, but I still had this itch that something wasn’t right. I had gone from school, to college, to university and straight into a graduate scheme – and hadn’t really come up for air. I’d never really thought about what my passions were, what really lit me up and how I really wanted to feel in my life – I felt like I was now being smacked in the face with that reality!
Cue lots of inner work and working with a coach to delve deep into all aspects of my life, how things were going and what I wanted things to look like years down the line. The biggest blocker for me was feeling stuck in my career and wanting a change and to be my own boss. I knew I also wanted a family at some stage, so wanted to create a career that was flexible, but still allowed me the creativity and ambition to grow. Fast forward a few years (and a baby) and I handed in my notice and took my side hustle Career and Life coaching, full time!
Creating a life vision, is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you live a happy and fulfilled life, that is aligned to your values and purpose. Life is never a linear line and at times it might feel like a game of snakes and ladders. There will always be something unexpected that will pull the rug from under you (hello covid-19). However, having a clear vision of what you want your life to look and feel like and then breaking it down into goals, will mean that you are moving along a journey that is both intentional and aligned to what you want your life to look like.
I see many of my coaching clients looking to make big changes in their post lockdown world. Although this year has been tough and awful in equal measures, there have also been some glimmers of a slower paced life, less social engagements, more time spent outside and with family – which clients want to keep in their lives. Incorporating this and getting clear and intentional on your life vision will make this a permanent reality.
Whilst I believe we can’t control everything and nor should we want to (there is beauty in the imperfection after all); I feel it is important to have a life vision that you are working towards which is one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams.
With a clear vision in mind, you are more likely statistically to succeed far beyond what you would have, without a vision. Having a vision also means that you are less likely to be swayed by other people’s visions or versions of success, which could set you off path.
So how do you do it?
Don’t expect to have a clear and detailed life vision overnight (it took me many years and is constantly evolving), as they can take time and energy to hone and test out. You’ll need to nurture your vision and perspective, as well as apply logic and practicality on the application of making your vision a reality. The best and most successful visions stems from your hopes and aspirations, as well as combining your values, principles and purpose. It should energise and inspire you to make it a reality!
Understanding what you want out of life seems like an easy question, but can be anything but that. We probably rarely take a step back to assess our lives and what we like about it and what we don’t. These are some of the tough questions you will need to ponder, if you are truly going to create a life that you love and that grows and evolves as you do.
Here are some questions to help you get closer to your life vision:
· How do you want to be spending your time?
What are the things that are really important to you? Think about a week calendar and write a list of everything you would like to be doing (being realistic that you probably have to work etc). This could be working for x35, exercise x4, sleeping x56, having a bath x2 etc.
· How do you want to feel the majority of the time?
In society we tend to focus so much on the doing, at the expense of feeling. How we feel is equally as important as what we do – so have a think about what that would look like to you? Calm, relaxed, energised, rested, motivated etc
· What is your purpose?
Living a life aligned to our purpose is proven to make people happier individuals and studies have shown that people with a purpose in life are likely to live longer.
Understanding your purpose – why you do what you do and what you are meant to achieve, is key to align to your life vision. Your purpose can be absolutely anything – from helping people to being a catalyst for change.
· What are your values? What do you value most in others?
Our value system is our foundational belief system and understanding what values we hold paves the way for the life we live. Examples of values are: honesty, integrity, determination, kindness. Have a think about 10 values you hold highly and what your top 5 core values are.
· How do you want to work? And how would you feel energised about work?
Our careers form a large part of our lives, whether we like them to or not! We spend a huge proportion of our lives working and work is a big part of our identity (I know that is very true for me). Take a step back and think about how your career fits into your life? (not the other way round). Does it align with how you want to live your life? Are there ways you can do things differently? We aren’t always the driving forces in our careers, as we tend to let things happen, but taking back some control will make you one step closer to living a life on your own terms.
· What is your legacy? What do you want to be known for?
Potentially a slightly morbid question, but an important one none the less. Really thinking about what you want to be known for and what you want others to say about you is a good exercise to understand what you want your mark to be on the world. Thinking bigger than yourself is a great way to link our lives to that of the broader planet.
Some tips as you go through this exercise:
· Ask why – dig deep into why you want certain things to help ensure it is really what YOU want and not what is expected of you by others
· Tap into your creativity – consider all ideas, even ones you think might not be possible
· Allow yourself to dream – some of these things may feel a long way off and that is fine! It’s a journey to get to your dream life and it’s good to have aspirations that seem more tricky to achieve as that helps us to strive
· Try and focus on what you want, not what you don’t want (although some people may find that easier – and then can reverse it)
Now you have some thoughts and ideas related to your life vision – have a think about some principles of what that could look like. Examples could be as follows:
· I want to have a balanced life where I make time for what is important for me (and I prioritise that without fail)
· I want to feel relaxed and calm most of the time
· I want to work flexibly around my children or hobbies and not the traditional 9-5
There you have it – a first look of the principles around your life vision, based on how you want to spend your time, how you want to feel, your purpose, values, career dreams and legacy. I go through these exercises with my coaching clients and always see so many a-ha moments! This is not an easy or straightforward exercise and will take time and reflection to hone it, but just know you are now much closer to making your life vision a reality.
I’d love to know how you get on so please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org