Crafting Your Life Vision

Crafting Your Life Vision

By Megan Dalla-Camina, Women Rising Founder & CEO

Welcome to some sacred space to think about what you want for your life. This may be something you haven’t given yourself permission to think about in the longest time. You’re not alone in that. This piece is about a 9-minute read, and it is so worthy of your time and energy – I mean it’s your life we are talking about – and I always want to do the topic justice and serve you with substance, not fluff. This is your tested guide to create the vision that you truly want for your life. So pour yourself a cup of tea. Settle in. And here we go.

THE QUESTION:

Do you have a vision for how you want to live your life?

THE INSIGHTS:

Poet Mary Oliver asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I know this is a big question, particularly in challenging times like these when the world and the future feel so uncertain. I have some simple and tested strategies for you below to help you bring clarity and vision to your life, but first, a few stories from other women you may relate to.

I’ve been witnessing hundreds of women over recent months grapple with this question as they begin the Women Rising program journey, as life vision is the very first lesson.

There are various responses that I read in the comments and unpack on the coaching calls, but they are mostly a variation of these:

“It sounds so simple and would think most of us already have a vision. Only to realise there are many of us here just running a rat race without no clear purpose and vision.”

“Made me reflect back in time and think - was this the life journey I had in mind as a girl growing up. When did life take over?”

“Is anyone else's mind blank when you sit down to think about what you want?”

“I’m very surprised that I have never sat down and thought about where I really want to be.”

“I felt empowered when reflecting on these questions. And then the debilitating guilt kicked in. Thoughts started clouding my visioning: Am I being selfish? Am I ungrateful for everything I do have? What about my husband and kids? Why haven't I mentioned the dog anywhere? This guilt overtook my thinking.”

“I had to be very mindful of the guilt and not allow it to censor my true feelings, thoughts and dreams. That in itself was a light bulb moment.”

“I've been on autopilot for too long and I've drifted from the path of what I wanted for my life, forgetting what truly makes me happy.”

“I haven't thought about what I want in a long time and found it hard to figure out my own dreams, which made me feel pretty sad.”

“I have lost myself over the past decade to the busyness of life with my career and children.”

“I'm going to be completely honest/vulnerable here; I watched this {lesson} just after announcements of case numbers, lockdowns etc. I watched it with tears in my eyes. It is really hard to try and think about this big picture-dream-the-dream stuff at the moment.”

“Surprisingly very challenging to step off that treadmill, block out the distractions and take this time to think deep and ask the tough questions. Feels good to have made a start!”

Having worked with thousands of women over the past decade, the stories are remarkably similar with consistent themes:

  • I thought I had a vision but realise I have no clue
  • I’m too busy running on the treadmill to even think about it
  • I feel guilty thinking about myself
  • I’m not worthy of having the life I want
  • I’m so sad when I think about the life I want that I’m not living
  • I don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed

If you feel any version of the above, I want you to know that you are not alone. This work can be challenging. It can be confronting. But let me share something else with you. It is essential. Even when you are busy. Even during Covid. Especially when you feel overwhelmed by a life and schedule that may be sucking every ounce of joy from your bones. You deserve to have a life that you love, it’s not just a pipedream (believe me, I used to think it was).

There is a simple pathway to create clarity and bring more of what you want and truly desire into your life. Let’s look at the strategies which are highlights from what I teach women in the Women Rising program (which means you can trust that they are tested, evidence based, and work).

Important note on this: If you are struggling with the impacts of the pandemic right now and how it may be impacting the vision you have for your life: you can have two visions - one for what life looks like here and now, and then the bigger vision for when life is perhaps freer from the restrictions and challenges we are facing. Don’t stop yourself from dreaming at all because like looks different right now. You can still do this work for yourself. Just know that you may have two versions, and that’s perfectly ok.

THE STRATEGIES:

Step 1 – Permission to dream the dream

A super important starting point is to give yourself permission to dream the dream. Focus on the ‘what’ not the ‘how’. Don’t spend your time and energy future tripping as so many of us as women do. We’re so busy fast tracking trying to work out how we are actually going to bring something to life, rather than giving ourselves permission to simply dream about what life could look like.

We so rarely have the opportunity to sit in the space of asking, what is it that I want for myself? We’re so busy as women looking after everybody else taking care of everybody else’s needs - and let’s be honest, in many cases, just getting through the day - that this is your opportunity to simply dream the dream. You can work out the roadmap later and we will get to action steps as we go through this work together (especially inside the Women Rising program). But for now, sit in the dream space.

Step 2 – Create clarity

Here you will start to play with finding clarity and getting clear on what you want and as importantly, getting clear on what you don’t want. So as we start to create your vision, I invite you to do this exercise.

Write down the things that are most important to you in your life, and also write freely about the things you would like to have in your life.

And then once you’ve got this on paper, you have an opportunity to sift and sort until you have some clarity about the things that are most important. Go with your gut. As you go through this stream of consciousness exercise, you will get a hit of butterflies in your stomach or excitement in your chest, maybe a sense of nervousness and that’s okay. That is a guide that you’re considering something that is important to you or exciting to you.

Step 3 - Consider these questions

  • If you could have anything in the world right now, what would you ask for?
  • If you could give up one thing that was weighing you down, what would it be?
  • What gives you positive energy?
  • What detracts from your energy?
  • What are the values that you hold most sacred?
  • If you followed the joy in your career and your life, where would it lead you?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • What is your greatest dream for your work?
  • What is your greatest dream for your life?
  • What does your ideal day look like?

Step 4 – Emotionally fuel the vision

Pick one thing on your list that you would like to bring into your life and start to emotionally fuel that vision. Let’s say it’s balance that you really want to create, that you want to have some space to breathe, to grow, to create, to relax and to enjoy your life.

Ask yourself as you go through this, what would balance look like in your life? What would balance feel like in your life? How would you live your day? What time would you get up? What would you eat? When would you work? What are the elements that would be present that would make you feel like you were living in balance and sit with that and sit with how that would feel in your body.

Start to bring the emotion into it so that it’s not just an exercise on paper, but that you’re really feeling into it. This question of how you want to feel is something I would encourage you just to put on a post it note or as an alert on your phone so you see it frequently.

Step 5 – Get creative

This is where you get to have some fun. We know from positive psychology and neuroscience, that positive images pull us forward. That’s why you hear so many people talking about the power of visualisation. It’s time to create a visual representation of your vision and the core elements that you have written down. You can use a journal, an online tool like Pinterest or Canva, or my personal favourite, a vision board.

Start visually creating this life that you want to live. It doesn’t need to make sense to anybody else. This is your vision. It doesn’t need to be literal. You could have a piece of fabric on your vision board. You could have a flower on your vision board. You could have a favourite colour. You could have just one word that means something to you that’s going to help pull you into the future that you want to create for yourself. Have fun with this, and remember that you can build it over time.

Step 6 – Start bringing your vision to life

Now that you have some more clarity, pick one thing from your vision list and find a small way to bring it into your life each day for one week. If it’s balance you’re looking for, tweak your schedule to free up some 10-minute blocks for restoration, to bring yourself back to yourself and back to that sense of balance.

If it’s creativity that you’ve identified that you want to bring more of into your life, then give yourself a 30-minute window once a week and do something creative, whatever that looks like for you. It could be painting, writing, designing something. A lot of people get creative in the kitchen and love to bake or cook, or it might be in the garden or organising your bookshelf.

If it’s family time that you’re craving, then start taking an evening walk with those that you love or set a dinner date once a week, either with your kids, with your partner or your parents and bring that into your life as well.

Now notice here that I’ve said pick one thing, because we often feel like we need to change our whole life in a minute. And not only is it not possible, but it’s way too much pressure. So pick one thing and start to bring that in for a week. And then you can start to add other things in.

You get to set the pace here. You don’t need to take any massive leaps and you don’t need to change your life in a week. Go gently. Do this with ease and bring in the grace.

All things are possible with intention and clarity. I’ll leave you with two comments from women inside our program on how they felt as they got started on creating their vision with our support. Anything really is possible for you with the right guidance and support.

“I have lost myself over the past decade to the busyness of life with my career, children etc. I am excited and looking forward to sitting down and creating my vision board for the future. I love the idea too of going slowly and only focusing on one change per week.”

“I've been on autopilot for too long and this first exercise has really shown me how I've drifted from the path of what I wanted for my life, forgetting what truly makes me happy. I'm really looking forward to the process of rectifying this and owning some life goals!”

REMEMBER THIS:

We can inch ourselves toward our ideal life. We don’t have to get there in one go. And don’t underestimate the power of small changes - small changes done with intention create radical results, and will create radical change for you. Go with the small changes and the little steps and see how they compound for you over time.

You don’t have to do this alone. If you want to go deeper and get support with this, come and join us for the Women Rising program. Women call it life-changing. Come and see why.

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