Photo by Maren Wilczek
Some people seem to have a very clear vision of where they are going and where they want to get to in life. Whether or not they make it seems to be less important than having an end point to aim for. In contrast, many people don’t have a clear set of goals and find the idea of creating them quite daunting. For the people in the second camp, they often slowly get a sense that they are failing to achieve their potential. And, I find, this can lead to a negative spiral, a catch-22, where you never know if you are on track if you have no clear destination.
Richard Boyatzis, an expert on intentional change says that “we become what we dream” and that in order to do that, we need to be clear about who we wish to be and what we want to achieve in our lives. He is fully aware of how overwhelming it is to allow ourselves to dream and has come up with a series of tools that shift out out of the negative spiral and open up the creative side of our mind. There is one thing I'd recommend doing - one of Boyatzis' “Dreams of the Ideal Future” exercises - that can be very effective at helping with this. It’s also very simple. You just need to list 27 or more things you’d like to do or experience before you die.
I would encourage everyone to have a go. You may not get to 27, and that’s OK. Its less about specifics (e.g. places you’d like to visit) and more about experiences (e.g. go for a walk with a future grandchild or give a speech at your child’s wedding). It may help to explore what you would have liked to have achieved at different future life milestones, like having gone skydiving by your 75th birthday or climbed Mount Everest by the time you are 50.
I really encourage you to play with this. Time is a curious quality and most people don’t have a good sense of how quickly it passes, especially when you are focussed on other things. My vision for the future is to help people find their happy path in life and at work because being unhappy is just a sign that something needs to change! And if you want some help with seeing your future more clearly, give me a shout.
McKee, Boyatzis and Johnston, Becoming a Resonant Leader: Develop Your Emotional Intelligence, Renew Your Relationships, and Sustain Your Effectiveness, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Mass. 2008
25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues learn how to bounce back better than before from the challenges life throws at us from time-to-time.