How To Make Your Vision Real
Bold Vision starts as a powerful internal process. It begins by listening to your heart’s desire and then imagining that possibility for yourself in the quiet of your mind. Once you have that Vision and you are ready to make it happen, you have to move it from your mind and put it out into the world.
If you have been dreaming about something for a while, and are now ready to take that leap, consider these three powerful and intentional actions for making it real:
- Write it Down
- Set A Date
- Declare It
The Magic of Writing It Down
Making Your Vision Real starts by writing it down. The external process and action of writing down your deep desires brings clarity and focus to what you really want. It cements our ideas. It takes those floating dreams in our heads and those tugs in our heart and actualizes them right in front of us. Seeing it in writing makes it suddenly feel real and gives us that sense of possibility. I like to do it in the form of a Letter to Myself or a Vision Board, which is a visual image and/or collage representing all the things I want to create in my life. This written declaration is a Vision Statement.
Whatever form this takes, make sure to write it all down, include everything you really want in the ideal Vision for your life and date it one year from now. Maybe you feel like you need more time. For me, a year seems like the perfect balance of time to work things out, but not too far off that it feels too distant. I address the letter to myself and try to write quickly without too much thinking (freestyle is best since our rational minds tend to get in our own way). I also make sure to put my Inner Critic aside for this exercise and keep everything in my Vision Statement positive and possible! I write about all the things I envision creating in all aspects of my life, and I write it as if my bold Vision were already a reality. That is why it is very important to write this letter in the present or past tense. If you write it using the future tense, for example, “I will create my dream job next year”, then your Vision might just stay in the future, and always in the future. Writing it as if it already happened or is happening now really helps you connect with the feeling that IT IS REALLY HAPPENING and it is really possible.
Besides writing down everything you want to do and have, make sure to include how it actually feels to have your Vision. I find this experience really lights a fire in a person’s belly as they connect on a visceral level with what it feels like to have their Vision in their body. And that feeling alone can be game-changing and something that we can no longer ignore.
When you have included everything you want to include, I recommend you post that Vision Statement in a visible spot (i.e. on your bedroom wall) as a constant reminder of where you are headed. Alternatively, consider my favorite method, which is mailing that letter to yourself with instructions on that back of the envelope to only open it one year from now. You may be pleasantly surprised when the time comes to open that letter and you discover how far you have come towards making your Vision your current reality. I just experienced that myself after recently making a big life change and moving to San Francisco. When I opened my sealed Vision Statement one year later on the specified date, I was amazed how much had actually come true in that short, intense past year! It just reaffirmed my belief in the manifestation of Vision when we WRITE IT DOWN.
The Power of Setting A Date
Something significant also occurs when we commit to setting a date for creating what we want in life. By naming a time period, you are bringing your attention, focus and commitment to making something happen accordingly, that might otherwise just continue to wait for some future day or some future time. Even if you declare a specific date and then put it out of your mind for awhile — you have set an intention of time and possibility that puts things in motion. That is why I find it so powerful to date your Vision Statements. People often share their Visions with me, and I always ask them “By when?” or “What date are you going to take that next step?”, or “When are you committed to doing it?”. I find it fascinating that when I encourage someone to set a date, even though initially caught off-guard, people tend to always have a clear date in mind. It can feel scary to verbally commit to a time frame for our Vision, but we know when we want what we want. Similar to writing it down, by setting a date, you are bringing your full intention to these occurrences. This declaration of time tends to unleash a series of powerful events and connections in the direction of our Vision. It is especially potent when you share your Vision date with others, who can support you in being accountable to that.
Setting dates can be effective for almost any aspect of your Vision. For example, sometimes if I’m feeling stuck about a situation in my life, I may set a date to have clarity, make a decision or create some kind of change by that declared time. Other times, setting a date could be the beginning of the physical manifestation of your Vision. I declared that I would do whatever it took to launch my social venture in 2002, even when I had no idea how I was going to make that happen in such a short time. I continue to be amazed at how things tend to happen just by that commitment and declaration of time. And it is true that not every Vision has happened on my timeline. However, the intention of really going after my dreams with a date in mind, always puts me that much closer that much sooner to having what I want. Otherwise, those bold Visions tend to remain “in the future”.
The Impact of Declaration
Finally, the third most important action in Making Your Vision Real is to verbally declare it, as if it is already happening. It takes courage to declare to the world what you want, especially when you have no idea how to make it happen. But that is the point. By taking the risk of authentically sharing your deep desires and Vision, you are inviting the world to help you make it happen!
14 years ago, when I was in transition and unemployed, I declared to a group of friends from around the world my bold idea for starting an organization that would provide study abroad scholarships, language and leadership training to underserved youth, within the next year. They all loved it, but were just dubious and had no idea (neither did I) about how I would ever make that work, find the money to get it started, turn it into a viable career, make it financially sustainable and create the change I envisioned in the world. It turns out that my bold Vision actually did happen (slowly but surely and through many challenges) with the founding of OneWorld Now! in September 2002. I think of it whenever I doubt myself about what I want to create next.
I practice declaring aspects of my Vision to the people around me on a daily basis. It is a practice that has taught me the power of our words and intentions. Earlier this year, I started declaring that I wanted to deliver a TEDx talk somewhere in the world in 2015, and sure enough, a few months later, I got invited to speak about Vision at TEDx Sao Paulo in Brazil! It is surprising what opens up when we get intentional about what we want and name it out loud.
So once you are ready to Make Your Vision Real, write it down, set a date, and declare it. The world is waiting for your Vision to happen. You got this!
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