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Want a prosperous future? Envision it first.
I had the honor of hosting a workshop the other day, centered around attracting loving relationships, in which I asked the participants to write a Disney movie based on their ideal life in 10 years. Judging from the group’s reaction, you would have thought I asked them to rewrite War and Peace. There was a little indignation, a little defensiveness, and many blank looks. One woman told me that there was “no way” she could envision what her life looks like in 10 years. The future is just too unpredictable.
I was amazed at how hard it was for people to even allow themselves to start to dream. (And that resistance is worth exploring, in a different post.) Talk about handicapping yourself right out of the gate.
I let them get away with projecting a year ahead … but truthfully I regret that I let that happen since, as a coach who has left the comfort of a “regular” job to leap into the unknown, I know how important it is to have some vision of your future in your mind … and why I won’t be doing you any favors by allowing you to avoid this exercise.
Here’s why it’s so important to your prosperity:
At Harvard University, there was a sociologist, Dr. Edward Banfield, who studied people and their success (in this case, in their careers) for FIFTY YEARS. And do you know what he found? The most successful people in our society have “longtime perspective.” They think 10 and 20 years into the future, and make their decisions each day based on this long-term horizon. It’s technically called “Future Orientation” and it requires that you idealize or imagine your ideal future in every respect. And that “future-oriented” people create action plans on how to achieve this ideal.
This study also found that:
- the more you think about the future, the more optimistic and positive you become.
- the more you develop a vision of where you want to be in the years ahead, the more likely it is that you will take the steps, each day, to make your vision into your reality.
- the more future-oriented you are, the better decisions you will make, and the faster you will reach your goals.
In a recent Harvard Business Review blog, Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter said “a clear destination is necessary to guide the journey of change.”
Envisioning the future unleashes passion and offers new possibilities. It sets the stage for creative action for people, corporate teams and social activists alike; it establishes the blueprint for creating compelling personal, organizational and social change. Visioning helps you open up to the expanse of possibilities and the alignment with your core values, connects you with what’s waiting to be born. Born in the heart, your vision becomes alive through action.
Your soul yearns for happiness … and you deserve to be happy, so why not allow yourself to envision your greatest life.
So, close your eyes and let your imagination soar, what does the Disney movie version of your life look like? What does the future hold that’s exciting and fulfilling for you?