I love this exercise. I love it because it gives you an opportunity to tap into your creativity, to open your mind, to do something different. Some might argue that it allows the left brain and the right brain to interact … though a recent study published seems to suggest that the split between the left brain and right brain way of thinking is a myth (from The Guardian). My clients love this exercise too because they get the chance to do something that some of them haven’t done since they were a child.
We are coming up to the end of the year. For many of us, that means reflecting on what we haven’t managed to achieve, however it is never too late to get started. So let me share a vision that my daughter created when I wrote about this previously:
Can you work it out? My daughter wants to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, as a dancer. Today I am proud to tell you that we are several steps closer! I kept her vision picture by my desk as a reminder. Like any good coach, I encouraged her to break down this goal into smaller steps. This is what we came up with:
- find out about local dance classes
- enrol her
- attend the classes
- take exams
- more practice
- appear on Strictly Come Dancing
She has not appeared on Strictly Come Dancing just yet …. however as a result of this powerful vision, we did find out about local classes, enrol, and she is taking her second exam at the weekend. So we are well on the way. Absolute proof that if you have a vision, if you can see what is happening, if you can hear what others are saying, if you articulate your goal, you CAN make it happen.
Over to you then … let’s create a vision of where YOU want to be in 3 or 6 months’ time.
- First I want you to come up with your goal. A goal needs to be specific, it needs to be positive and it needs to be personal. So rather than “I want to get fit”, rephrase as a goal that you can measure so that you know when you have achieved it. For example: “I will run a 5k without stopping by the end of March 2015”. Check out an earlier blog for ideas on positive thinking.
- Now find some coloured pens and pencils or crayons, and two sheets of paper – A4 is great, A5 works too. On the first piece of paper, I want you to draw a picture that represents your goal. Think about the goal that is the most important to you right now; the goal that you really want to achieve (not the one you feel you ought to achieve); the one that you personally will gain the most from. Think forward to 3 months or 6 months – when you have achieved that goal. What do you see? hear? feel? think? What are others saying? No words, no writing. A picture. Make it visual. Take your time. Use colour. Maybe paint if you don’t have pens or crayons. Add as much detail as you want. You don’t need to be an artist – this is a representation, your representation of your goal.
- Next draw a picture that represents where you are now in relation to that goal. Again, no words, no writing, just a picture.
So you now have two pictures – one representing your goal when you have achieved it; one that represents what you see, what you hear, what you feel, what is happening around you when you achieve that goal. Your other picture represents where you are now in relation to that goal.
- Take your two pictures and put them both on the floor with space (2-3 metres) apart. OK you might feel a bit silly doing this in the office so maybe choose a quiet few moments at home.
- Stand by the first picture which represents where you are now.
- Think about your goal – look at the second picture on the floor in front of you and ask yourself “what is the first step that I need to take?” Say it out loud and as you do so, take a step towards your goal. Now ask yourself “what’s the next step that I need to take?” Again, answer out loud and take a step towards that goal. Keep going with the steps, answering out loud what it is that you need to do to reach your goal.
- When you have reached your goal, the representation of your goal, congratulate yourself on a fantastic achievement.
Once you have done this, put these pictures up somewhere you can see them every day: maybe on the fridge, on your desk, on a wall. As I explained, I had my daughter’s one on my desk. My personal ones – I have scanned these and they are part of my computer desktop so I see the pictures every day.
My daughter’s vision is not quite at the reality stage yet but we are a lot closer towards her goal than we would have been without that clear vision.
Please do comment and share your goals. A goal shared with others will be achieved more quickly because you will feel accountable. That’s how coaching works too.