How to Aim High: Steps 2 and 3 to Create Your Personal Vision

04/11/2013 10:27 am ET | Updated Jun 11, 2013

Several weeks ago I shared the step one of three to aim higher in your life by writing your personal vision. Yes, I know it's difficult to raise our sights when there's so much to do right in front of us, so you may ask, "Why bother?"

Because it's essential to paint the big picture if you want to have your life matter in the way you know it can. Walking along the straight and narrow, a step at a time, won't get you where you really want to go. Satisfying as it is to complete the "to do" list, it's not enough. Aiming high means exactly that -- look up, grab your magic wand, and imagine your life five years from now.

While just thinking about writing a personal vision can stir up a load of self-doubt, a friend reminded me just recently of a great question from Robert Schuller, and I suggest you ask it of yourself: "What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail?"

Over the years I've used a three-step process to guide people to their personal vision. Step one is to ask the question, "What is the purpose of my life?" (If you haven't taken this step already, see my last blog post to get instructions about how to do so.)

Step 2: What are my values and key strengths?

Personal Values

Becoming more aware of your personal values helps you to understand what really motivates you. Why, for example, do you read articles like this? What are you looking for and why? Best of all, reminding yourself of these values opens up your thinking and increases your confidence in the possibility of making those biggest dreams come true.

What really gets you out of bed in the morning? Why do you work so hard? What drives you to do what you do? Who are you and what values do you want to demonstrate in your life? To help get you started, here are some of my most important personal values:

• Loving kindness
• Compassion
• Integrity
• Patience
• Honesty
• Faith
• Trust

Key Strengths and Skills

What qualities in yourself have you come to rely on? What do you find easy to do? What abilities do you have that allow you to produce results and make things happen? What are you good at? Here are a few on my list:

• Discipline and determination
• Belief in the goodness of people
• Intuition and quickness
• Sense of humor ~ take things lightly
• Personal and executive coaching
• Writing and speaking
• Make big ideas simple for others to understand and put into practice
• Know who people are -- even when they forget

Step 3: What is my personal vision for the next five years?

I suggest you jump right in with this one. Open a blank document or get a fresh sheet of paper and start writing whatever occurs to you when you ask yourself this question. Really, anything and everything that occurs to you -- no editing and judging. Again, trust your natural wisdom -- you don't have to finish it now, just get started.

For example, describe your vision for your marriage in five years, your family, your friends, your finances. How about your work life? What would you love to be doing by 2018 and what would you have achieved in that career by that time? Be as specific as you can -- remember it's a vision, a picture. Paint it clearly so your destination is clear to you.

Bottom line, what difference do you want to be making in five years' time?

Three rules for a powerful personal vision:

  1. Keep your "magic wand" firmly in your hand -- dream as if anything is possible, because it is.
  2. Don't worry about how you're going to make this happen or whether it's possible -- focus only on what your life looks like in five years' time.
  3. Write your personal vision in the present tense, e.g., "my sons are thriving," "my wife has robust good health," "I have enough money, such that I never have to work again unless I want to," or "I am able to be generous in ways I never would have thought possible."

Avoid the word "will" at all costs -- the future never gets here, you know.

Please leave a comment below or write to me: I'd love to hear your thoughts about aiming high and creating your personal vision.

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