One of the tools I use in coaching and in the Mentor Roadmap™ mentor programs is a visioning exercise. This tool was also utilized at the end of the Leadership Lansing program to help participants think about where they would like to make a difference in our community. With our fast-paced world, it can sometimes be a challenge to take the time to think and create a vision. As we move out of winter and into the new growth of spring, it’s a good time to think about your own growth. Here are three options to consider when creating a vision:
Write out your vision: Some people express themselves best by writing, or typing on a computer. Here are some questions to consider when creating your vision:
- What do you want to be doing professionally five years from now?
- What goals will you have achieved in five years?
- What new skills do you want to acquire?
- What connections will support you in moving forward in your career?
- What impact do you want to have in your career, your community, your family?
- What two things do you need to have every day, from your work, in order to feel fulfilled?
Fill out a timeline: When coaching clients that are more analytical, I suggest creating a timeline.
Putting everything in a grid helps you see the big picture. I especially encourage people to list the ages of the people close to them. When do you estimate you will be needed to help your aging parents? How many more spring breaks do you have with your children and how do you make the most of that time together? For young families, seeing the end to the time spent changing diapers can be helpful.
A timeline also helps you see when you will start living under the constraints of the school calendar, once the little ones go off to school. The goals category can be professional, hobbies, financial, family, community – whatever is important to you.
Create a vision board: For the creative types, I encourage people to grab a bunch of magazines and create a vision board. This helps you “see” your vision with various pictures or words. Post it someplace where you will see it often to help inspire you – on your refrigerator, at your desk, by your nightstand. It’s always fun to see what people create and how much they really get into the activity.
Whatever your preferred method, spend some time thinking about your future and creating a compelling vision. Seeing the big picture for yourself enables you to be more intentional on a day-to-day basis. Those small steps every week, every month, will help you get to the big vision. Dream big!