As human beings we have the unique capacity to imagine infinite possibilities of what could become our future. In many ancient cultures it was required of men to have these visions at various stages of their lives. Men would take part in rites of passage ceremonies lead by village elders at the time of their adolescence, middle age and into their elder years. They were put into conditions that would connect them with nature to help free themselves of their past, be open and inspired to envision limitless possibilities for their own future. Unfortunately, many of these ceremonies didn’t survive in our dominate culture. So we’re left to design new devices to achieve the same result.
Vision, foresight or prospection in positive psychology share the same purpose and benefit – to see the possibility of a positive and meaningful outcome. So much of our time is spent wondering on potential future events. Unfortunately, our primary frame of reference is what happened to us in our past, particularly our failures. We are driven by fear. So it’s natural for us to avoid risk of failure, pain, frustration, or anger. This instinct is baked in our old reptilian brains. However, dwelling in our past and fears often sabotages what we see as possibilities for ourselves and the world we live in.
We all yearn for a life full of meaning, purpose and satisfaction. Practicing foresight or prospection, is a creative practice, which encourages us to consider the infinite possibilities. Possibilities which can be inspiring, intense, meaningful, and deeply fulfilling. Possibilities that can go beyond material reward, instead give purpose to our skills, talents and passions. Possibilities that create change not only in our personal lives but for each of our relationships and communities.
LEAD WITH VISION
Effective leaders, have clear visions of what’s possible, the potential impact it may have, who it would involve and who it could benefit. They see the long journey ahead of them. They can see the potential of other possibilities born from it. It becomes so real they can begin to make plans, projections and involve others. They see how they can commit their skills, talents, and resources to bring life to it. They align everything about who they are and how they live to ensure it has a chance to exist. It becomes their higher purpose, the meaning behind why they exist.
In the absence of initiation ceremonies, we have to learn new ways of breathing life into our personal visions. Here is some food for thought I share with clients when developing their own personal visions.
- Create space. Meditate or sit in silence or go for a hike in nature. Create a space in your mind and spirit that brings you into the present moment. Connect with yourself deeply so you become free from what holds you back. Your old stories, fears and worries. You’re creating an openness to receive the present moment in silence. It’s in this open space anything is possible and by connecting with nature you gain access to infinite creativity and potential.
- Observe what’s happening in your world. There’s no shortage of complaints about what’s happening in the world. Instead, come from a place of curiosity and wonder. Investigate how we got here. Read about your history, your ancestry. Listen to stories from your families and friends. Practice empathy and compassion. You might just open up to a bigger need in which you can serve.
- Craft your big agenda. “What do you want your life to be?” “What could your legacy mean for others?” “Who are you becoming?” This is the moment to dream big on what would a fully resonant life look like. Dream it out loud. Write it down. Read it. Revise it. What you’re describing is not a destination but it’s the road you wish to be on.
- Connect with your values. We often confuse values with tangible or material gain, such as money, or a title. These feed your ego and are fleeting. Values is what we rely on to make good decisions and tough choices. We feel our values light up when we succeed and we dishonour them when we fail.
- Allow it to shape your life. Make it a habit or a way of being in which your vision takes root. Review your vision regularly. Share it with others and incorporate it in everything you do. This makes the possibility of your vision real.
I’ll address to other observations in upcoming posts. However, if you’re inspired to develop your own personal or company vision and need coaching don’t hesitate to reach us to find out more.
Men, you can also check out my Conscious Living for Men series. I’ll be conducting on going workshops to delve into topics such as this and more.