A long-held belief states that in order to embrace the future, you must have a clear vision of what you want to create.
BUT… in an uncertain world where change comes quickly and predictions seem futile, is it still relevant to commit your life to a vision? Is it possible to alter visions without feeling like you are giving up your dreams?
I agree it is important to know where you are going. Knowing your desired destination makes decision making easier. The picture can inspire you to keep going even when days feel dark. Your vision can activate courage. The activist and poet Audre Lorde said, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I’m afraid.”
Visions are still vital. I also believe they need to be regularly assessed based on shifts in both daily life and personal desires. Innovation is opening doors while world events are shutting some. This doesn’t mean opportunities are decreasing. As the adage says, “One door closes, another one opens.” Even a crisis can both narrow and expand possibilities. You don’t want to give up on the dream you’ve worked hard to achieve but how you live out your dream might be expanding or changing over time.
In the book Abundance, space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler document how the fast-growing technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics were unimaginable by most people a decade ago. Diamandis says no matter the problems we face and losses we suffer, we have to believe we can discover new ways to live, collaborate, and improve our world.
We need to have visions AND believe there will be possibilities worth embracing that continually arise.
When trying to envision your future, consider using these practices, and repeat them at least annually if not more in times of accelerated change (like now!).
3 Practices to Flex Your Visions
- Discover what gives you fulfillment right now. Instead of focusing on external things you hope your future will produce, such as money, a great company to work for, or what you want to buy, pay attention to what you are grateful for having or doing right now. Are you finding more happiness in helping others? Are you creating or expanding a community meaningful to you, deepening your spirituality, discovering your appreciation of nature, or loving the time you have to learn something new? What do you crave more time for, knowing it will lift your mood? Use your insights to define what you want for yourself going forward.
- Include who you are in your picture. Envision your future self, the person you want to become. Who do you want to be next year? How would you like to be with people, and yourself, differently? What would help you grow into the person you know you can be? Catch yourself saying “but” and coming up with excuses for not committing to growth. You might not change the world but you can develop yourself.
- Practice being present to what is showing up. Sometimes we miss opportunities offered to us because we are stuck on goals we made when life was different. What advice are people most asking you for? What makes you angry that you want to change? Are you being asked to collaborate with others in new ways, doing things you didn’t know you could do? You might expand your range of possibilities when you pay attention to the gifts the present has to offer.
Doing one or all three of these practices – define what is fulfilling right now, design your future self, and be more present to what is showing up – will help you feel more in control of your life now as well as the future.
Holding onto dreams is important. Adapting them to your changing inner and outer world is even more vital.
Remember – sorting this out with a coach can help you stay focused and brave.