Have you ever heard yourself say something to the effect of, ‘I’m too old,” “I’m too young,” “I do not have enough degrees,” “I have too many degrees,” “I do not have enough experience,” “I have too much experience,” “I’m too pretty,” “I’m not pretty,” ‘I’m not aggressive,” “I’m too aggressive,” and so forth?
If we are not aware or conscious enough to listen and notice what types of mental chatter or verbal chatter we engage in every day, then we can find our thoughts and words overpowering our actions instead of empowering our actions.
Creating or finding the perfect job is similar to the Scarecrow’s journey in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and his search for a brain. All along, what he was searching for, he was searching with. So before, you can decide that your work environment is the best or the worst, or you want to switch jobs, career paths, and or go back to school, you have to be clear on what you want.
- Consider reading:Director's Message: 5 Biz Success Tips
- Consider reading:Director's Message: The Heart of Patient Enrollment
Having a vision for your career and life are beautiful things. It makes your dreams feel more concrete and obtainable. It gives you focus, direction, and a barometer upon which to make decisions. With a vision, you live with intention and purpose because you know where you are going. Without the direction of a clear vision for guidance, it is unlikely you will feel fulfilled because you will not base your decisions on what you want and where you are headed, but instead you will base them on circumstances of the moment.
Envisioning what you want and believing it to be true is one of the greatest of all tools at our disposal. We get what we think about — good or bad. But don’t forget that all necessary component — action! You don’t need to figure out every detail of the “how.” You just need to take action and move toward your vision in faith. The rest will work itself out.
So what’s stopping you? Is it the SYBD syndrome? According to Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, SYBD stands for “sit your butt down.” If you do not hit the pause button on your 24/7 life, then how do you know that all of your activities are leading in the direction of your ultimate vision, goals, destination, and happiness. Think about it another way: Have you ever left work and arrived home, only to realize that you cannot remember the drive? Or that it seemed like your car knew exactly which direction to go and you were in a state of being in autopilot? Is that the type of blurred life or career you seek? If not, SYBD, and take a few minutes to complete the following exercises.
Over the next few issues, I will provide a framework, and actionable exercises to support you in creating a vision that will move you towards your desired goal. So let’s begin projecting your tomorrow and heading toward it.
- What is your professional vision? Using the mind and body, thoughts and actions to tap into the essence of who you are and what you want for your life.
- Set a career plan that is a well-defined roadmap that will get you from where you are now to where you want to be; with actions, timelines, and milestones.
- Take action no matter what, strengthening your resolve by preparing in advance for how you will deal with setbacks.
- Ask, believe, and receive, expecting that your vision will indeed manifest itself into reality.
What is Visioning?
Before quitting your job or enrolling in a degree completion program, it’s crucial for you to take stock of your current professional situation. Where are you in your career right now?
Visioning is the process of creating a picture in your mind of what you want for your life in the future. This includes all aspects of your life — health, finances, relationship, career, and more. Visioning uses both mental and physical tools of your mind and body, such as the thoughts and actions to create and realize your goals.
It’s been widely acknowledged by experts that there is power in defining, declaring, and then committing to what you want your life to look like. Your vision is the articulation of your desired future.
A clear vision will help to set a desired course for you. Without this direction to guide us, we often fail to acquire the quality of life we want and expect.
Exploring who you are and what you want
The following exercise will help you in the professional visioning process. The goal of this exercise is to identify your objectives for the year. This exercise helps you to connect with what you want, as opposed to what you think you should do. When doing this exercise, balance what you would love to have happen in your life with what you believe can happen.
- Pretend that it is one year from now and you are writing a letter to someone you care about who would want to celebrate your success.
- Share what has transpired and what you have accomplished during the past year in your business and personal life.
- While you may write whatever is compelling to you, important areas to address for business/career are:
- Revenue/income generated
- Who you serve
- How you spend your day
- How many hours/days you work
- Your work environment
- What you are good at, what types of services/work you do
- Anything else that is important to you regarding your business/career
Step 2: Set a Plan
OK, so now you have a much clearer picture of what you want in your life, what matters most, and where you would like to be. Now map out a path to follow so you may achieve your professional vision and develop your career map.
Remember life is a marathon, not a drag race. Don’t create additional pressures by pushing yourself to accomplish too much, too soon. This is supposed to be fun! This is about you pursuing the most important things in your life. So take it easy and pick a couple of areas that you want to go after first. Manifest those, and then come back to your list and pick a couple of more goals to achieve. Take it step by step and you will get there more quickly and easily.
What’s most important?
When you did your visioning process, you wrote down many thoughts and ideas. Some are long-term, and some you can begin to focus on immediately. Some were big stretches, while others just may require some simple changes. It's time to sift through all of your discoveries and determine what’s most important.
What do I want to work on now?
There is not enough time in the day to work on everything that you want all at once; you will need to prioritize. What changes can you make immediately? And what action steps can you take now toward the visions that will take longer to achieve?
For instance, you may decide to convert the spare bedroom to an office, get into a size 8 by summer, and travel to Italy next spring. The first priority is an immediate change. The second will be a series of changes over time, which you can start now. And the third is a longer-term vision that is just as much a priority, but will involve more preliminary steps such as researching trip options and setting up a savings plan.
What are my first steps?
After you have answered #1 and #2, the next step is to determine what’s first. For the things you want to pursue now, write down what you will do and when, e.g., I will clear the clutter from the spare bedroom this weekend, join a gym by Friday and buy a travel guide to Italy by the end of the month. When you complete these action steps, write more and complete those!
Put it in writing
Write down your vision and the goals that will support you to accomplish that vision. Carry them with you for constant review and inspiration. Post your goals everywhere so you are always reminded of them. Put them on your bathroom mirror, the steering wheel of your car, your daily scheduler, the refrigerator, your bedside table, etc. Be creative and have fun with this.
Phrase goals in the present
Phrase all goals in the present tense, as if you have already achieved them. “I have $50,000 in my savings account in May” as opposed to “I will have $50,000 in my savings account in May,” or “I want to have $50,000…”
Avoid negative words and images
Say “I am fit, healthy, and energized” instead of “I will not be fat and tired anymore!” Instead of saying “I am not in debt,” say, “I have an abundance of money to pay all my expenses.”
Visualize and speak your goals in clear terms. Say things like “I weigh 130 pounds by exercising five times per week and eating a healthy diet of 1,800 calories of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables” instead of “I will lose weight this year.”
Set measurable checkmarks
Plan for some places along the path to check in and see how you are doing. Be aware of your progress and note whether you need to increase your efforts or make adjustments along the way to stay on schedule.
The goal must be achievable, or it will only lead to frustration and failure. For instance, if you make $50,000 per year, and your expenses total $4,000 per month, it is unlikely you will achieve a goal of saving $500,000 this year without a plan for making additional income.
Review, re-evaluate, and re-write:
After a while, you will begin to see whether your plan is taking you to where you want to go. Adjust your plan along the way based on your experience. This is not the same as quitting or giving up on your original goal; it is the crucial step of “fine-tuning.”
In the next issue, we’ll explore Step #3: Take Action, and Step #4: Ask, Believe, and Receive.
Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director, RDH eVillage