As a child growing up you imagined your life one way. You kind of think it’s just going to turn out that way. I mean from your point of view why wouldn’t it, right?
Just as long as you do what is expected of you, you’ll get what you expect in return. The only thing is, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Unless you clearly know where you’re going, you’re not going to get to where you want to be. As a child you don’t really know where you’re going, all that is sorted out for you.
When you get to high school you contribute more input, you think a little further ahead. You tell your counselor what interests you then they pick from a list of preselected classes for you to take.
You end up selecting a profession based on your basic understanding of it or the results of an aptitude test. It’s not really connected with your dreams or desires.
When I was younger I always saw myself owning a business, but I studied law in school. Why? Because I displayed the characteristics of a lawyer: persistence, good negotiator and the like.
I began taking legal classes, but not because I gave up on my dream of being a business owner. I just thought that one could turn into the other, but I wasn’t clear on how.
Was I going to work up the corporate ladder and become a partner, maybe start my own law firm? Or simply save up my money and buy a business later? I wasn’t sure. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t even know if owning a firm was the type of business I wanted.
At the time, I didn’t sort any of this out. I just knew that there were ways, so it wasn’t impossible. That’s all the info I thought I needed.
In the middle of applying for law schools I realized that it wasn’t what I truly wanted to do. Just because you like doing something here and there doesn’t mean you would enjoy making a living out of it. Sure, I love being right (who doesn’t?) and proving my point but I don’t want to argue all the time.
I had just been doing what I had to do, what was expected of me. But I didn’t get what I expected.
There I was – a twenty-something with bills and a degree that was mostly unrelated to my dreams. So I did what everyone else does. I got a full time job to pay my bills.
For years I was working a dead end job that wasn’t getting me any closer to my goals. And how would it? I barely remembered what my goals were. I got caught up with the daily activities of life that I didn’t think too far beyond that.
Then it occurred to me that the things I was doing weren’t helping me get any closer to my vision but I was helping someone else with theirs. Then I tried to figure out where I went wrong.
I always knew what I truly wanted to do but I wasn’t clear on it. I needed a clear vision of the outcome so I could connect the dots.
So I used vision goal setting to put things back into perspective. It went something like this:
1. Writing helps
First I wrote out my vision. I typically tried to keep things in my head but it just made things confusion and added to the stress of trying to remember the details. Writing things down made it easier to sort through.
I described what I wanted to have or to become. At first this can be difficult, putting all your dreams to words and trying to make sense of it. Just jotting down the basic ideas then adding to them later ensures that you have everything out and covered.
I simply wrote about the things I wanted. That’s it. No language about what I didn’t want. If I thought about something I didn’t like, I wrote about what I wanted instead.
I didn’t have time to focus on the negative. I felt like I had spent plenty of time on that already. Besides that’s not what this was about.
2. See it
I focused on one part of my life, in this case my job. I visualized how I wanted it, which was basically how I had written it.
It made me feel good. I got excited and happy. That’s how I knew I was on the right track.
Previously with the whole lawyer thing I didn’t feel that way at all. Not that it made me feel bad. I just wasn’t thrilled about it. I definitely didn’t want to live the rest of my life feeling blah.
While figuring out my career aspirations were pretty simple, my home life was a bit different. I never really thought about the details of it before.
Of course I wanted to have my own home but what I thought I wanted didn’t feel right.
Townhouses always appealed to me but something just wasn’t right. The vision of that didn’t do anything for me. So I had to make some changes.
I realized that I had grown out of that ideal. It would have worked great for a certain situation, but I just didn’t see myself in it. I found something else that better suited me.
4. Daily review
This was probably one of my biggest early mistakes. I would dream of something, think about a goal and never revisit it. I couldn’t come up with a plan of action because it was treated as a passing thought.
Even if I knew what to do, it was only a few steps, not a clear plan. Then when I did things that I didn’t want to do that were related, I would stop or procrastinate. It was easy to do this because I forgot why I was doing it, why I needed to follow through.
Constantly reviewing my vision and how I would get there made it easier to work on each step. It reminded me what to do next and the progress I made so far.
If you want your life to reflect your goals, especially if you want a life that is different from the one you have now, you need to have a clear vision. Having a clear image of your outcome makes it easier for you to actively work towards achievement.
Constant review of them keeps it on the forefront of your mind. This makes you less likely to get caught up in the rigmarole that becomes everyday life.
I’m so happy I figured it out, although some help would have been nice. Without doing this I wouldn’t have realized what I really want to do.
After assessing my desires I discovered the link between what I was doing and what I wanted to do, helping people. The former just wasn’t the way I enjoyed.
Now I help in a more meaningful way and I’m living up to the vision of my prophetic younger self.
How did you picture your life when you were young? Are you living that way today? Are you where you thought you’d be?