All successful businesses have an established vision, don’t they?
Absolutely! After all, without a clear vision, they can’t make future-focused decisions.
A compass is just a useless paperweight unless you know in what direction you’re headed.
Having a vision provides a sense of purpose and direction. You have one for your business, but it’s just as important to provide the same focus for your personal journey.
So . . .
Do you have a firm grasp on what you want your future self to look like?
In other words, do you have a Personal Vision?
Well, before you answer that, consider the following research . . .
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert explains how using this psychology of “your future self” can help you find success. Have a look at his TED Talk here; it’s short (at 6:37) and well worth watching.
Another TED Talk that graphically shows the results of this research is The ‘End Of History” Illusion. Also well worth the 4 minutes to watch.
In his research, Gilbert asked a group of over 7,000 participants if they believe they are the same person they were 10 years ago. Most could discern how they had changed. They generally found it quite easy to see changes from our former to our current selves.
He then asked them how different they expected to be in the future. The results were that they consistently underestimated their potential changes.
People tend to have a much better memory than imagination. So, despite being able to discern changes in ourselves from the past, we adopt a fixed mindset when it comes to our future development and change.
We appreciate historic changes but downplay future changes. We think that we are a culmination of our past, but undervalue the potential in our future.
We overestimate the value in our TODAY and underestimate the change of time over the next 10 years.
We are “works in progress” who mistakenly think we are “finished products”.
We may be the culmination of our past experiences, but we need to acknowledge the extent to which our future experiences will change us too. Sticking with this fixed ‘mindset will result in us using who we are now as the ultimate measuring stick of who we’ll always be.
So, if you think that ‘who you are right now is who you’ll always be’, then you’re wrong. You’re underestimating the changes that your personality will go through over time.
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So I’ll ask you again . . . do you have a firm grasp on what you want your future self to look like?
Do you have a personal vision of your future self that is Bold, Positive, Realistic, and Specific?
Will you be directing your own life, or will end up as an actor in somebody else’s story?
When you see your future self as a different person, with different perspectives and preferences, then you can make present decisions based on what your future self would want. These decisions may differ significantly from what you would choose if you only considered your present desires.
I have always had a vision of my future self. Usually benchmarked between 10 and 15 years in the future. My milestones were always based on my birthdays, in 5-year increments.
In other words, when I was between 30 & 34, my vision was my future self on my 45th birthday. When I hit 35, I amended my vision to reflect myself on my 50th birthday.
What should your Vision contain?
I believe your vision must be a comprehensive snapshot of your future reality. In it you must identify at least three specific future traits, components, or features of yourself and your life; in each of the following areas:
- Family and personal social environment
- Health & Fitness
- Knowledge & Education
- Personal finances
- Career / Business
Identify 3 aspirational individual characteristics in each of these 6 focal areas. This will give you a comprehensive future vision of 18 specific goals/aspirations/objectives.
Document these and be sure to look at your list at least once a month to remind you of where you’re headed. Some people choose to create a “vision board” as a reminder, but I just put it into a spreadsheet and keep a shortcut to it on my desktop.
I hope this will help encourage you to create your own personal vision if you don’t already have one.
In next week’s article, I will let you know how I take my vision and convert it into workable and realistic action plans that can be applied to your daily life.
Until then, happy trails & keep the entrepreneurial flag flying.
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