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The next three posts on Less Ordinary Living, are about Thinking Big and creating a powerful, clear vision for the next decade (and beyond). At the end you’ll have a no-holds barred plan for the future, which will help you make the most of your personal and professional potential, and feel happier and more confident. Please take part over the next three posts and encourage all your friends and family to do the same.
I’ve been trying to think big over the last few weeks and the biggest challenges I’ve faced are my own thoughts and emotions. I’ll suggest a big dream like running a marathon and raising money for charity and… BOOM – I start thinking about how hard the training will be.. POW – I feel afraid that I might fail and let all my sponsors down. It’s easy to think ourselves out of the life we’d like or to get afraid of failing.
A technique I’ve found particularly helpful in overcoming these challenges is to create a vision of the future. Most of us like to daydream and start imagining what life could be like. We create an image of a life where we are fabulous happy and have time to do all the things we’ve always wanted to. I’ve found that if I can grant myself permission to dream for half an hour without any critical thoughts I can really start to think big.
Visualisation is an incredibly powerful tool in preparing for the future. Professional sportspeople use visualisation to prepare for a big race or tournament. Neurological studies have found that the same parts of the brain fire in the sportsperson’s brain when they visualise as when they actually compete. So visualising helps us practice the future and train our minds to focus on what we want to achieve. I’m trying to take time to visualise my vision as much as possible and finding it helps to quieten some of the negative thinking and fear that arises.
One exercise I’ve found particularly helpful for this process is the Party.
In this exercise you find somewhere comfortable and set aside 30 minutes.
- First, you make an agreement with yourself that you’ll allow yourself to dream without judgment or fear.
- Now close your eyes and start to imagine that you are at your 90th birthday party and are surrounded by the most important people in your life.
- Everyone has gathered together to celebrate your life (so far!) and to talk about you.
- Start to imagine who is at the party, where it is being held and take a minute or two to walk around and just soak it all in. Don’t worry if it takes a while to see it – that is natural.
- Once you are ready, let the toasts begin, as the most important people in your life talk about you
- Some people might talk about the amazing things that you’ve done in your life – how you travelled the world, gave your time to a charity, were a loving family member or parent.
- Others might recall some of the great times they spent with you – the parties, the holidays, the projects, the businesses they worked on with you, or just the quiet times.
- Others will talk more about the kind of person you are – your best qualities – kindness, love, compassion, dynamism, sense of humour.
- Take some time to enjoy the party and listen to what everyone is saying – what are the most important things that are coming through about you.
- Once you’ve heard everything you need to hear, call the party to an end by thanking all the guests and being grateful for their role in your life.
- Now take a little time to write down the key ideas in a notebook or journal – think about some of the key achievements, the good times and importantly how you applied your best qualities.
This exercise helped me to really get an understanding of the vision for my life. It clarified my priorities, identified a few really key things that I’d like to do, and helped me to work out what kind of person I’d like to be today. I’ve used it several times to firm up my vision and to get a clear picture of the life I’d like to lead.
So, step one of the Thinking Big process is to create your vision of the future. Don’t feel you need to get out your crystal ball and get every detail right – and don’t feel that this will tie you to achieving the exact vision you create. The vision is guide for how to act each day and the direction to take – but just a guide. Often life will create opportunities we couldn’t even have dreamt of. As your vision develops, spend time with it and learn to quieten the doubts and any negative emotions that arise.
Congratulations – you have taken the first step to creating your vision for the future. Next time, we’ll look at how to plan for the next five years. Take a minute to subscribe by clicking here to make sure you don’t miss the next two parts.