Time spent creating a crystal-clear picture of our vision for our own future is one of the best investments we can ever make. It starts with asking one question: “What would my extraordinary life look like in five, ten, or 20 years?”
The answer will bring your dreams to life. It will show you who you want to be, what you want to accomplish and how you want to live in the future. It will help you clarify what matters most and be proactive in how you define what comes next. A clear vision helps you take charge of your future, versus simply reacting to what life throws at you. Creating this kind of clarity will give you the courage to start new ventures, make tough calls and pursue your passions.
To get clear on your life’s vision, these five strategies are critically important:
- Write it down
The act of putting your dreams to paper will help open your mind to the possibility of greater things. Once aware, your subconscious mind will lock in and quietly work towards your envisioned future. The more descriptive you are, the more likely you’ll create a picture you believe in, which can become a powerful tool in directing your future decisions.
Start by picturing your ideal future and imagining it as vividly as possible. Jot down the details of what you see—both in your personal and professional life. If it’s helpful, start with bullet points and then add specifics. Don’t get bogged down in the details about how you’ll make it all happen. Right now, you’re simply imagining what your most extraordinary life could look like. You can always make tweaks along the way, and ideally, you’ll revisit it regularly as a working document.
- Share your vision with someone you trust
Surrounding yourself with others who also dream big is essential. When you share your vision with those who believe in both you and your ability to achieve what might seem like a wild dream, you start to internalize that it can happen. Once you let your mind see your limitless potential, it’s amazing what you’ll achieve.
Your trusted partner/s can also play a key role during tough times. They’ll be the ones who won’t let you give up when you face obstacles or setbacks. They’ll be your go-to group for support and encouragement.
- Expand your vision
After writing your vision down and sharing it with others, revisit it and ask yourself if your vision is big enough. Our future is only limited by what we can conceive. During your conversations, did you discover ways to make it even bigger? How might you stretch yourself further than you imagined? Let possibility and “what if” thinking guide you to make your vision even bigger—beyond your current realm of possibility.
Big successes don’t just happen. They start with setting inspiring goals, writing them down and then raising the bar of our own expectations. A willingness to always think bigger is the key to making our dreams a reality.
- Keep it visible
Find a place to keep your vision so you can read it every day. The more you read it, the more your mind believes it. I keep mine in the front of my briefcase so it’s with me wherever I go. You might choose to tape yours to your mirror, put it in a frame, or even create a digital presentation to view on your laptop or phone. Choose the option that works best for you and keep it central—so it’s there to encourage and guide you when you need it.
- Set interim goals and revisit your vision regularly
The key to making a powerful vision come true is breaking it down into shorter-term goals that move you down your desired path. Setting quarterly and annual goals help you break your required actions into manageable chunks that can be worked on each week or month. On a weekly basis, ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing today building toward my long-term vision?” Each quarter formally, revisit your progress and make tweaks along the way. Mark the review dates on your calendar to ensure you’ll make it happen!
The power of dreaming big through these steps is that we shift away from just reacting to what happens and hoping things work out and shift towards a bolder, more proactive approach to making our dreams come true. Time and time again, the most successful people in the world follow this approach. Achieving our dreams is never easy: it requires grit and commitment. But it becomes exponentially more likely when we paint the clear picture of what we want in our future life, and then build a plan to get there.
Peter Ruppert is founder and CEO of Fusion Education Group, which operates over 75 Fusion and Futures Academies for grades 6-12 in one student, one teacher classroom environments. A 20-year veteran of the education industry, he’s opened over 120 schools and acquired more than 25 others. Peter has been president and CEO of organizations in the private school, charter school, and early education industries, and sat on his local public school board for 5 years. His new book is Limitless: Nine Steps to Launch Your One Extraordinary Life. Learn more at peteruppert.com.