This is Part 1of a 2-Part blog mini-series. Click here to read Part 2 – Lessons From My Godson and Michael Phleps.
There are few things more fulfilling than working with selfless, responsible, high performers. They see the challenges as opportunities. They’re not the sorts to place much emphasis on new year resolutions. They don’t need a new year to start afresh, or pivot, whichever the case may be.
I’m fortunate to be around such people much of time. They have to rub off on me at some stage, right?!
Not quite. Being like that is a choice. Anyone can do it. You can make a choice right now. Which category do you fall into?
Are you a) well-intentioned or b) intentional?
If you were a well-intentioned person, then you’d mean well, but you’d rarely follow through on your commitments to yourself. You’d look outside of yourself for motivation for change. You’d need an event like a seminar, book or reading of an article like this to initiate change, but soon after your motivation would wane.
You’re more likely to be intentional. You initiate change because you’re intrinsically motivated to improve and succeed. You create and maintain momentum because you commit to a process (not just an event) such as this:
1. You know how you will measure and track progress before you take action.
2. You review progress periodically and objectively.
3. You check if you’re on track tweaking your course and/or refining your goal.
4. You repeat the process. All the time, you’re raising your awareness of your own performance. You’re improving. You’re growing.
Efficient vs Effective
As an intentional person, you’re more efficient over the short term than the average person. But there’s no point in being good at doing the wrong things. You need to be intentional about your long-term success too. This ensures you’re doing the right things, being effective.
In order to sustain your effectiveness, you need certain foundations to be in place.
Get your starting place right
You can’t get from A to B if you don’t know where A is first. If A represents your Current Reality, then ask yourself the following:
- Where are you today in terms of life and career?
- What’s right for you? What’s not?
- What do you want to do more of, less of, or keep the same?
- Peeling back a layer or two, consider what you did to create the best and worst of your current reality.
That’s the first part. Get your starting place right.
With your stronger sense of self, now you can more confidently articulate where you’d rather be instead. Moreover, you’ll know what needs to change in you, for things to change for you.
Know where you want to end up
Sounds obvious, but few people have a clear vision of their ideal future. Many have vague ideas, but that simply doesn’t suffice.
Our minds see in pictures. If we don’t consciously implant an ideal image of personal success in our subconscious, it will work against us instead of with us. It will focus on fears and doubts that will undoubtedly keep the handbrake on your progress. It will protect the status quo. It is wired to do so.
It’ll be like using a Renault Clio to try and tow a lorry loaded with iron. You wouldn’t invest in a company with no vision. You wouldn’t work for a business that doesn’t have a coherent and credible plan for success. You wouldn’t get in a car without knowing your destination.
So why would you waste your time, life and talent working randomly instead of intentionally?
This doesn’t mean you remove spontaneity from your life. It just means you go after the things that excite you most. It’s what living is all about!
How do you create a clear vision?
I am sharing with you an incredibly valuable tool. Before you start to use it, make sure you’re intentional about seeing the exercise and process through to the end. Don’t burden yourself with good-intentions, they’re pointless.
An Ideal Day – Visualisation Exercise
This exercise is critical to your professional growth and personal success for the following 2 key reasons:
- Everything that has ever been created has been created twice: first in someone’s imagination and then physically. Your ideal day begins in your imagination. In time, it will become emotionally charged. Then you can make it happen in reality. If you don’t have a clear, concise and compelling picture of what success looks like in your business and personal life, you will rely on luck, hope and the actions of others. That’s because of the 2nd reason…
- You and I think in pictures. Think of someone you love…an image of that person pops into your mind. Think of your phone number…you see the numbers typed or written. You and I are wired to think in images. Now grasp the implication of your mind not having a clear, concise and compelling picture of your future success.
If you don’t consciously create a vision for your mind to follow, it cannot create that ideal reality for you. But it will carry on and create some reality regardless. That’s life. Just like a gardener has to be intentional about the flowers she plants, or she succumbs to the idea of weeds overgrowing the patch instead.
So be intentional about it. Otherwise, you’re giving that responsibility to other people and other forces who influence you subconsciously. To be blunt about it, that’s kind of a waste of your life.
Here’s how to do it. Follow it rigidly, or loosely, but enjoy it. It’s your life!
Pick an important date or event which is between 2 and 10 years away.
You’re going to put pen to paper and write as much as you can about what makes this day or event absolutely ideal.
Everything that is important to you in your life is as you want it. Consider, but don’t limit yourself to the following areas……
- Spouse, children, family, friends, business/career, financial security, personal growth, health and fitness, hobbies, lifestyle, physical environment, fun, adventure, learning etc – whatever else is truly important to you.
- Consider your current level of satisfaction in each area, rate it out of 10. Then ask yourself, “what does 9 out of 10 look like?”
Be clear on the outcomes in each area and what they mean to you:
- Why is this important?
- Who will benefit from it?
- How will they benefit?
- Considering those benefits, what positive ripple effects could be experienced elsewhere for you and those closest to you?
How are your values being played out? Those things which are non-negotiable for you in life. They define who you really are as a person – they’re how you ‘show up’. Describe them being active in each of the areas above.
Some useful things to consider……..
Go into detail – if this is going to be your inspiration, then we need to get crystal clear on key matters. Maybe ask yourself some of these questions to help tease out more clarity about your ideal world:
- What is happening?
- What do you see?
- Who is there?
- What are people saying to you?
- What are you saying to them?
- What does your week’s schedule look like?
- What are you planning to do in the coming weeks and months which sheds further light on your life at this time?
- How has your career changed recently, and over time?
- What are you proud of having achieved in that process of change?
- How have you developed?
- How do you feel?
- What else is happening in your life which is to the fore of your mind?
- Who are the key people in your life?
- How much time do you have to yourself?
- Where are you spending your time?
- How do you relax?
- What do you do to challenge yourself?
- What physical shape are you in?
- How will you continue to drive this happiness moving forward?
This is your ideal day – include anything you like – these questions are only designed to make you think deeply. They are not prescriptive and your wider thoughts and feelings are still sought. The more you own this and the more personal it is, the greater the sense of purpose you will have and the greater your motivation will be.
Your vision will keep you focused throughout the inevitable low points of your journey.
How it works…….
- Your subconscious mind creates any image impressed upon it by your conscious mind. It does this over time by modifying your beliefs, actions and behaviours.
- Your subconscious mind CANNOT decipher images that come into your conscious from the outside world via your eyes, from the images that are created in its conscious by your imagination.
- This means that by repeating the process above, your mind will begin to believe the vision and your thoughts will be influenced in a positive way towards your success.
- Your thoughts, as we know, dominate your feelings and emotions, which drive your actions and behaviours which impact directly on your results.
What can you do next?
- Schedule time now – 60-90 minutes. Can you begin right now?
- Return a day later, or as soon as you can, and begin from scratch – do not review your previous work.
- Repeat as often as possible for the rest of the first week. By starting afresh, you demand more from your subconscious.
- Once you’ve got a draft of all the important areas in your life, consider diving deeper into specific areas for more clarity. Especially if they have a greater importance to you or greater influence over the other areas.
- Keep going until you feel that you are writing that same thing over and over again. And until it is crystal clear – your ideal day.
- At this stage, you should be able to recall the majority of your vision anyway. But by revisiting it on a regular basis, especially before you go to sleep and when you wake up, you impress the ‘new you’ on your subconscious.
- This means your thoughts, feelings and actions become subconsciously aligned with experiencing your success.
In Part 2, I’ll help you work back from your vision in milestones. That way, you identify the challenges in reverse order. You consider how you might navigate them.
You’ll be thinking in a more resourceful and empowered way. You’ll be tapping into the mind, success and confidence of your future self. You’ll be thinking at a different level.
That’s what’s going to lead to vastly improved performance and results.
This is the type of content I write about in my regular emails. To read more about what you can do today to improve your own performance and lead your millennial talent more effectively, click here to sign up. You’ll also get a free report called “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”, which sheds further light on the topic.