Note: A longer version of this article appears in Working Mom Magazine
In the last four years, I’ve been in a constant state of re-invention.
One year we sold our house in the city and moved to our dream house on an island – population 3500. The next year my husband and I started a quirky Internet business, which got so much attention we got bought out in less than a year. Then we had our second child and we moved countries. And then I started this website, PR in Your Pajamas. Who knows what’s next?
Some decisions may seem drastic but were consciously planned, and some decisions were more spontaneous but still purposefully aligned with my values. Every year began with a personal vision, which have led to numerous incredible and often unforeseen experiences.
So it seemed fitting as I write this at the beginning of 2010 to help YOU explore and define your personal vision for the coming year.
Your personal vision defines what and who you want to become at a set time in the future. A vision ensures that you stay focused on your plan to achieve your goals, and keeps you on track so that you don’t deviate from the course you’ve set.
Think of your vision as a compass or guiding light to lead you through the storms and rocky terrain you’ll encounter towards your destination.
So, in developing your vision this year, ask yourself:
What do I want?
It may sound like a simple enough question, but it’s one of the toughest to answer. Often we are too busy running on auto pilot to consciously think about what we want. Just remember that success rarely happens by chance, but rather, success happens by design. If you have no plan for your future, then you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.
Do you really want to be living someone else’s life?
Without a vision, you may tend to become an aimless drifter. Someone with no definite goals for the future and no long-term direction. Without direction, you’ll easily be caught up in mundane activities like paying the bills, watching your favorite TV shows, going shopping, and generally going through the daily motions. You’ll be caught up in a stressed and monotonous existence instead of designing your destiny and truly living.
So ask yourself again.
What do I really, really, truly want for myself ?
If I could have the kind of life that would make my heart sing, what would it look like?
At this point your heart may be beating a bit faster. Can you really have that kind of life?
Yes, I believe you can. I’ve done it and I’ve helped a lot of clients lead passionate and fulfilling lives. And it starts by defining what that life could look like.
As an example, here are some parts of my vision and related goals this year:
• Learn to swim and finish a beginner’s triathlon by May
• Manage time more effectively to end my work day when my son comes home from school
• Spend quality time with my husband by planning three weekends away without our children
• Attend at least one in-person conference to further hone my skills or personal growth
• Teach marketing and/or coaching strategies through speaking at 10 – 12 events this year
• Create worldwide joint ventures for my company using the power of social media
Give yourself permission to dream about your ideal life, even if it’s just five to ten minutes a day and ask yourself these questions:
1. What do I want more of in my life?
2. What do I want less of in my life?
3. If money were no object and failure wasn’t possible, what would my career or business be like?
4. What relationships do I need to nurture, or let go of?
5. What is my relationship to money?
6. My secret passion or dream that I never mention because it’s too big to even think about is…
7. What am I most afraid of?
8. What accomplishments or measurable events must occur during my lifetime so that I will consider my life to have been satisfying and well-lived; a life of few or no regrets?
9. What could I do that would bring more joy into my daily life?
10. What am I grateful for?
These questions are just a starting point, so take into account all major aspects of your life – Friends and Family, Fun and Recreation, Career, Money, Health, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Your Husband or Significant Other.
If you like to write, put your thoughts down in a journal. Buy a pretty journal so that you’re inspired to fill its pages. If you’re the creative type, develop a vision board using magazine photos and other cutouts. If it’s easier to talk it out, grab a coffee with your best girlfriend and take turns designing your dream life. Make it fun!
In a future post I’ll be addressing how to set goals so exciting you’ll be jumping out of bed in the morning!
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision can change the world.” – Joel Barker
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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