Is a visualization exercise more than wishful thinking?It can be, without actions a vision can fade but without a vision actions eventually become muddled. Without a vision it's far too easy to get lost on the way to our goal. Worse, if we feel lost it eventually leads to us becoming indecisive. Once indecision tears into our lives it leads us down a dark path of all our progress being halted. If indecision effects us deeply we tend to look for a guide, someone with experience to help us along our path. This usually comes in the form of an external force, a friend, a coach, or the like. It helps in the short term but can become a crutch in the long run if we aren't careful. This is because an external force will not always be there to point the way for us. So, utilizing a third party to manifest decisiveness in ourselves doesn't develop the skill set for manifesting decisiveness in ourselves. How can we become the masters of our own decisiveness?
Visualization is an Exercise to Plot the Path
There's little more we face in life as sinister as the motivation destroying tornado of indecision. It's a subtle force that sneaks slowly into our minds. At first we don't realize it's influence but in time it builds into a mass of power until it becomes a cyclone that crashes through our lives. In the wake of indecision's chaos confusion reigns that diminishes of any sense of self-confidence we have. Everything around us feels like a mess, we don't recognize our surroundings and it makes us think we're lost. It turns us around when suddenly we find that we're wandering aimlessly through life despite our best intentions or goals. What's worse is that we know how to beat indecision, we make a choice! Get up and do something, anything! Yet, when indecision has us in it's hold, knowing what we must do does not equal taking action. Indecision stops us because it veils any action we might take as just another step down a road you're already unsure of.
...if you do not know where you are, then you can't know where you're going...To find our way we have to stop and take a moment to check our compass, find our true north, and verify we're headed in the direction we desire. When we do this indecision loses it's grip! Our steps gain back their purpose and a growing haze is lifted. Give visualization a try with this exercise!
Special Gift: A Visualization Exercise from the Inner Circle
Once you’ve reflected on your year, the next step is to start looking forward. Our mission is to help you live a life you're proud of. So it’s time to think about what you’d create in a life that makes you proud. A proud life is a balanced life that’s fulfilling in all areas. So if you could wave a magic wand, what would you love to create in the year ahead - to build a life that makes you proud?
STEP 2 OUTCOME
By the end of this step you’ll have a comprehensive list - categorized into areas that matter to you - of what you want to create for your life. This list provides a clear vision for your future. It’s a reminder of what you really want to strive for. It’s a reference point where you can sense check any decisions - to ensure your choices, actions, and hustle take you closer to where you want to go.
ESTIMATED TIME: 60 minutes
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Life Focus Worksheet
TOOLS NEEDED: Life Focus Worksheet
To get to this stage you have to have reflected on the year that’s passed to give yourself a baseline to spring from. The next step is to visualize what you’d create for your life if anything was possible. Here’s why… By visualizing, you can use your imagination to create a new future. And because you’re using your imagination you don’t have to think in the way that you usually do. Instead, you can let go of any limiting beliefs and give yourself space to dream.
This is hugely powerful. When you think without limits and let go of any preconceptions of what you can or should do, you start to explore the things you really desire. You become a shade braver and bolder with your goals. And when you then articulate them on paper, you set the wheels in motion to make them a reality. In this way, visualization can provides a road map - a vision that can direct your brain’s focus. As a result, your future actions, decisions, and observations all work together to help you discover the insights and opportunities you need to make things happen. Have you ever wanted something so much that it consumed you? Then, as if by magic, you met the right person, read the perfect book, discovered the missing insight, or solved an ‘impossible’ problem.
That’s the power of visualization. It kick-starts a chain of action It unleashes your subconscious mind It provides the inner compass that takes you closer to the things you desire. It’s why Step 2 of your Best Year Yet uses visualization to tease out the goals you long to achieve.
How To Visualize
When it comes to visualization, here are some tips to help you get the most value from this step. Firstly, aim to banish all your preconceived notions about who you are and what you’re capable of. We get it! This probably won’t be easy! You live everyday under the pressure of perceived limitations that have come to define you.
You tell yourself there are:
- Things that you’re just not good at
- Successes you could never achieve
- Ways of existing and socializing that's just who you are
- When you start to dream outside these confinements, things can get scary!
- But awesome things can happen when you shrug off those old preconceptions and start from a place of openness about what’s really possible for you.
It’s a little like starting a whole new life in a whole new place - where you get to define exactly who you are (and what you do). And because the people you meet don’t know any different, they accept your story outright. This is what visualization looks like. It’s the ultimate view of a life you love. A life that’s lived on your terms - where you’re not squeezing yourself into someone else’s framework and where you go after those meaningful goals that will bring you joy. So how do you visualise a life that would make you proud? Let’s move onto the activity instructions and start visualizing yours...
Step 1 already got this process rolling. Thanks to your reflection, you’ve identified things you enjoyed in 2017 (along with the things that didn’t go so well). As a result, you’ve already begun to think about what you want to create more of in your life (and what things you wish to let go.) So building on your Step 1 foundation, we’re now going to visualize what your life would look like if you could wave a magic wand and have everything and anything you desired. There are two ways you can approach this activity.
Method 1: Use the Life Focus worksheet
You’ll notice the Life Focus worksheet comes in three formats: There are two versions already complete with eight categories And another one that’s blank - so you can focus on the categories that are important to you When it comes to your areas of focus there’s no wrong or right answer - there are only the areas that matter to you. So the first part of this exercise is to determine your categories. Either use the categories provided, create your own, or use a combination of both. Once you’re happy with your categories, now comes the fun part. It’s time to dream :-) Taking each category in turn, if you could wave a magic wand (and have absolutely anything you desire), what would fill each section?
To complete this task:
1. Set yourself a limit of three minutes per category
2. Grab a pen
3. Write down whatever comes to mind Don’t censor yourself.
The benefit of working to such a short time-span is there’s not enough time for your logical, analytical mind to trip you up and keep your thinking small.There key here is to dismiss what you currently believe is possible for you and instead dream as big as you dare! As Henry Ford famously said,
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.”
Here’s the thing about your brain… It will look for answers to whatever questions you ask. Ask different questions, get different results. Just allowing a possibility the space to breathe can open up all kinds of opportunities that you previously didn’t imagine were possible. And remember you don’t have to achieve everything tomorrow! In fact, it may take you a number of years before you create everything you desire. But that’s part of the fun.
Life is about the journey - not just the destination. And anyway you never really ‘arrive’ because every time you achieve a goal you simply open the door to an entirely new target.
Method 2: Sticky Note Method
Here’s an alternative take on the visualization task. This is the same goal setting process that we use on our team retreats and it’s hugely effective. The principles remain the same. This is about thinking big and reaching out into the world of desire and possibility.
To complete this exercise:
1. Grab a pack of sticky notes and a pen
2. Think about what you want for your life
3. For every idea that you have, write it on a different sticky note
4. Give yourself 20-30 minutes to do this
5. Once finished, categorize your sticky notes into different life areas
6. Then add them to the relevant sections of your Life Focus worksheet The key difference with this approach is you get to think about your life as a whole instead of category by category.
Did you like this exercise? There's more inside the members only community!
DON'T LEAVE THE YEAR TO CHANCE. STAY ON TARGET
When we reflect on our lives having someone we trust to work through the details can give incredible insight we might otherwise be blind to. This is because those around us aren't caught up in the habits and cycles our mind engages in. When we share our visualization with others it helps clear paths and reveal truths we might otherwise miss with our singular viewpoint.