Have you ever left home without a destination or a plan in mind? That trip might be the most memorable one, but not necessarily a good one. You could lose money, a bit of time, or possibly even your life. It’s the same with your everyday life. If you don’t have a plan, a vision, then it is just a series of uncontrolled events. You can reach the pinnacle, or you can also go down the drain. Unfortunately, unlike failed adventures, you cannot relive that spent time.
In Getting Things Done, Brian P. Moran starts with this very compelling argument: Identifying a compelling life vision—one with which you connect emotionally—is the first key requirement. And there are good reasons for this, like:
- It is a checklist for the effectiveness of your actions and projects. Is your action contributing towards your vision?
- A vision is a precursor to a major change that you will be implementing in your life. And with change come lots of ups and downs. A compelling vision will be your guiding light on days when you don’t feel like working and in times of difficulties and failures in your life.
- When you feel that you are falling into a rut and not growing, recalling your “why” can help you refresh your perspective.
- A well thought-out vision balances your personal and professional life.
Crafting a compelling vision takes time. It is not something that you can just come up with. It is important to craft your vision by assessing it in terms of multiple parameters like:
- Your current life
- Your future plans or dreams
- Importance of material things around you (car, house, etc.)
- Importance of people around you (family, personal or professional relations)
- Your health, status
- Your mindset
A good vision is something that gives you clarity of thought and a general platform to assess what’s going to help you grow. For example, let’s say you are confused between upgrading to a DSLR camera vs buying a one-on-one session with a great business coach. (I know, weird example, but it happened with me.) If your vision is to be a photographer, then the camera will make more sense than the business coach.
Your Vision Should Be Focused Over Three Time Duration.
1. Long-term aspirations
These are your deepest desires, things that seem out of your reach, but you crave them—that beautiful Bugatti car you adore that is the background on your laptop. The status of multibillionaire business-owner. A body like that of a model, which people admire. Doing something to help all those homeless on the street. Anything that you will connect with emotionally, be it for five years, 10 years or even 15 years in future. Nothing is incorrect. These are your dreams and aspirations, but now they have a deadline.
2. Three-year vision
Now that the long-term aspirations are down on paper, what can you do or achieve in the next three years that will take you closer to your goals? You need to get more specific at this point because these milestones will flow into the 12-week plan, our next step.
3. The 12-week plan
These are your top one to three specific, measurable goals and steps that you are going to perform within the period of 12 weeks. These goals need to be tangible and should be divided into actionable steps and milestones. Again, these should contribute to your three-year vision and the long-term aspirations.
One very important thing to remember while creating these plans: No one else is going to gain or lose from your personal goals and aspirations and actions but you. Take your time, but be sure that these are your true intentions.
Recommended Reading: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity (pp. 77 – 87)
It would be incomplete to end this post without giving examples. The best one I can give is my own goals and aspirations. I started reading this book on 7th July 2017. My first 12-week system implementation started on 1st October 2017. So I planned the long-term aspirations, three-year goals, and the 12-week goals between these dates.
- Long-term aspirations
- Build a growing business that lets me use my creativity. I want to be able to work from anywhere around the world
- Develop at least five schools giving free education to unprivileged children
- Develop a for-profit school that nurtures individual creativity in children along with the traditional education
- Become a MasterChef
- Become a lean and healthy person with multiple marathons completed (and six-pack abs)
- Provide an environment of growth and happiness for my family (Dad, Mom, Wife and kid) that inspires others.
- Three-year goals
- Become JOB-free and achieve $100,000 revenue
- Write and publish a book
- Complete a marathon
- Join and work with non-profit educational organisation
- Send parents on a fully paid luxury Europe trip
- The 12-week plan (1st October 2017 to 31st December 2017) (More on this)
- Write 30 articles for blog and guest posts
- Shed 40 pounds of body weight
- Learn and implement persuasion as a skill
So these are my aspiration, dreams, and goals for now. These aspirations or goals will evolve with time and situations.
Your aspirations must grow as you do.
Going through vision-setting sessions after reading The 12 Week Year has given me a whole lot of clarity on what I am doing and what I need to do. I suggest going through the book once and then going through the vision-setting section again before you sit down to work on this.
Once you are done, share your vision plans with the world: here in the comments section. I will be cheering you on from the stands while you win this bout against all odds and take home that trophy of your dream goals. Cheers to seeing you in the ring.