Do you want to feel more positive about the future?
Do you “live in a perpetual state of triage, doing whatever seems most immediately pressing while losing sight of any bigger picture”?
That’s a quote from an article in an old Harvard Business Review I was reading last week. I love the analogy of some people behaving as if they are in triage. Of course it’s the right thing for an emergency room doctor to rush around trying to sort out what’s urgent right now – treat the ruptured spleen first or the punctured lung? But for the rest of us, the pressures are rarely so acute.
Too many people get inundated with the pressures of day-to-day work and life. It’s easy to hurtle around dealing with immediate work demands, chores at home, bills to pay, and children to clothe, feed and entertain.
But those who are truly successful (and happy) tend to have a longer-term vision of what they want to achieve and values that describe who they want to be.
Having that longer-term, bigger picture view of what they want from their lives sustains them in the present. Wrapped up in the idea of vision are words like purpose, passion and meaning – the things that most people agree are important but that usually get scant attention when we’re busy.
So here’s a challenge for you. When will you take time to reflect on your vision and values? What would you like your life to look like 5 or 10 years from now?
Go on. Have a bit of a daydream.
I did the exercise again recently and the first thing I noticed was that it was fun. I felt buoyed up, optimistic. More practically, it reminded me that I most love some parts of my work like developing leaders and speaking at conferences. I want more of those kinds of projects and I have realised that I could be more focused on getting them.
So what about you? If everything went really well for you in the next 5 to 10 years, what would you expect your entire life to look like? Not just your work, but also your home life, your health, your intimate relationships, friendships, community activities, spirituality, hobbies and sports.
In the Visioning chapter of my E is for Exceptional book, I talk about the importance of having a Balanced Vision rather than just a narrow vision that focuses too heavily on what you want your career to look like. A Balanced Vision should be like a multi-legged stool. When you have lots of legs under a stool, it helps it to stay level even if one of the legs should snap. But if your stool only has one or two legs, that’s obviously a much more precarious stool.
Many people find that imagining a positive but realistic vision can be both enjoyable and useful. It can re-energise people. Many people find that they discover things about their lives that they could change very quickly and easily too.
Will you give it a go? Soon?
Let me know how you get on.