01/21/2011 10:07 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Next Step After Vision

There's this interesting moment that occurs when a coaching client has just articulated a new vision for some part of their life.

Maybe they've just identified what they want for their next chapter. Maybe they've finally said it: they want to head in a brand new career direction. Maybe they've just had the recognition that yes, they really do want to leave the job they are in. Or they've discovered that they want to live at a different pace or in a different environment. Or they've glimpsed a vision of a very different inner way they could live their lives -- more confidently, perhaps, or with more joy. Whatever it is, they've uncovered a kind of treasure -- a clarity, a compelling picture of a possible future.

As they've come upon their true desires, their speech softens and slows. The frantic, chattering thoughts, the long explanations about the current problems with this and that -- all of that is gone, replaced by a calm voice that simply knows what it knows. Insight and vision flow easily from this voice. A kind of peace and magic hangs softly in the room as they speak.

The wisest thing we can do in that kind of moment is... nothing. The wisest thing we can do is say: "Wow, hello," and welcome this sacred guest.

The wisest thing we can do is simply walk out of the room, in a delighted daze, smiling quietly at the new vision that has arrived. Then let it marinate, and unfold, and simply exist.

Conventional planning says:
Step 1: Articulate Vision.
Step 2: Develop a Plan to Implement the Vision.
Step 3: Jump into Action.

But the least wise thing we can do when a new vision is emerging is try to figure out how to make the vision happen. The worst thing we can do is to follow that voice within us that demands to see the linear steps and plan. The worst thing we can do is take on that voice's skepticism and put the vision on trial, cross-examining it with the fundamental question of all dream trials: "Are you realistic? Are you possible? Are you likely to be?"

There is a voice in us that compels us to do that, a voice that, in the presence of a new dream, leaps anxiously like a grasshopper, popping with thoughts like these: "Is this feasible? How will it happen? How will I make it happen? Show me the plan!"

What you need to know is this: that voice is not the one you want to pay attention to. That voice is very afraid. Afraid of leaving the status quo. Afraid of failure. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of you actually opening to the mystery and leaning into the dream. Afraid of giving up of tight-fisted control.

The voice that is compelled to see the plan at the outset is a saboteur. Follow it, and it will stop you from ever stepping on the road to your dreams.

The next steps, after a vision emerges is not to make plan. Not to figure out how.

The next steps are to greet your vision warmly. To welcome it into your heart. To simply let it live in you as you walk about your life for several days. To make friends with it. To let it know you'll be on it's side. To see what it wants to say. To see what life brings you. To marinate in it, walk with it, listen to it, receive it, welcome it, sit still with it.

Those are the next steps.

Tara Sophia Mohr is a coach, writer and personal growth teacher. Visit her blog Wise Living and receive her free articles twice a week.