“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
The Cheshire Cat
Alice in Wonderland
Do you know where you’re going? And do you keep your eye on that destination at all times?
If you have a crystal clear 12-month vision for your life, then give yourself a great big pat on the back because you’re a member of a very small elite group. Most people have lots of wishes: “I wish I had more money,” “I wish I could lose weight,” “I wish business was better,” – or they have a few thoughts about what they think they want: “I want a second home,” “I want more clients,” “I want another income stream.” Unfortunately, thoughts and wishes do not a vision make.
You might be wondering why a vision is so essential. Consider this: if you go into your garage, get in your car, back out of the driveway, and don’t know where you’re going, what would happen? What if you didn’t know if you wanted to go to Miami or Malibu? You could end up in the middle of nowhere. You must have a destination.
What would happen if you went to the airport, walked up to the ticket counter and asked “Can I have a ticket?” The ticket agent will ask where you want to go.
It’s plain and simple: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” …and you may end up someplace you don’t want to be.
According to Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the second habit of successful people is to “begin with the end in mind.” In other words, start with a clear understanding of your ultimate destination.
So the very first step in planning for your life isn’t creating a plan. The first step – I like to call it Step Zero – is to create your vision, your “big picture” of what you want your life to look like. This picture becomes the foundation from which your goals are designed and the basis for your Best Year Yet plan, so it’s crucial.
I recently joined a newly formed book club. Last week I was driving to our first meeting with 4 other women. One of the women asked what I find to be the biggest hang-up for people when it comes to being happy and successful. I had to stop and think about it a bit because more than one thing came into my mind. Ultimately I shared two thoughts, the first one being this: most people don’t know what they really want. While they may have a general idea, (they want to be successful, they want to make more money, etc.) they don’t really know what they want in specifics. They don’t have a future vision. If you don’t know what you want, how can you ever get it?
Once your future vision is created, you decide what high level goals you must achieve to reach that future vision. Those high level goals then get broken down into smaller goals or sub-goals, which become the stepping stones on your way to your future vision. (Your Best Year Yet plan is your best friend when it comes to this process.)
A couple of years ago, about four months into the year, I decided I wasn’t having my best year yet. Not even close. As I tried to figure out what was going on, I finally had to admit to myself that I had created my BYY plan based on a vision I had created the year prior. Well… things change. Life happens. I needed to create a new vision. The new vision resulted in the tweaking of some of my goals. I’m happy to report that within 30 days, life started looking a whole lot better.
Your vision should be in writing. If you have the picture in your mind, you’ll find it will become even clearer when you put it in writing. If you don’t have a vision at all, there’s no better time than the present to create one.
Here’s my challenge to you: if you don’t currently have a detailed, written future vision for what you want your life to look like in 12 months, get out your calendar right now. Block out two hours sometime in the next 7 days to work on your vision, and make a commitment to yourself that you’ll do it no matter what.
Only when you know exactly where you want to go, can you create the goals and the plan to take you there. When you know exactly where you want to go, the Universe will conspire to help you reach your destination.
Here’s to your best year yet!