Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.
My birthday is in January, so the New Year really does represent a new year for me. During winter solstice I often find myself reflecting and wanting to hibernate a bit. Many say winter causes the yearning to withdraw and reflect. That is certainly true for me. With our cultural rituals of celebrating the light, thanksgiving and making new year’s resolutions combined with my natural desire to reflect, I can’t help but think about where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished in 2015. In 2015 I resolved to embrace who I am, to focus on what makes me happy and to meet like-minded people. I am amazed at how far I’ve come. I feel like a new person. I have shed old habit and ideas that no longer serve me. I’ve laid the foundation for a career that is truly fulfilling working with extraordinarily creative people. To strengthen the momentum in 2016, I’ve decided to switch things up a bit, so instead of writing a list of resolutions I’ve decided to create a vision.
While the idea of disregarding the resolution all together and focusing on a vision is my innovation, I got the core idea from Tony Robbins’s New Year, New Life video. In early 2013 I stumbled on this videos. The New Year had already passed, but since it’s never too late to start a good thing, somewhere around March, I gave it a try. I’ve gone back to it every year every since. In the video Robbins suggests that we:
- Get Clear.
- Get Certain.
- Get Excited.
- Get Focused.
- Get Committed.
- Get Momentum.
- Get Smart.
Robbins talks about how statistically most of us break our resolutions by January 15, so in order to combat this our resolution must be compelling. They must be ‘must do’s’ not ‘nice to do’s.’ My vision is vivid, fun and makes me smile just thinking about it. I can see myself talking and laughing with friends over al fresco dinners with kids and dogs running all around us. I imagine celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico City dressed in full regalia. I envision cozy mountain retreats with Sébastien with good books, our favorite movies, our favorite foods and maybe even a sauna. I picture myself happily stand up paddle boarding and snorkeling. I visualize working with even more amazing people who excite and inspire me. Think about those images. Every time I imagine them I feel a strong positive emotions. I want to taste, touch, feel, hear and see them. That’s compelling. My visions are so much richer than any list of resolutions.
My past lists have been more or less to get in the best physical shape I’ve ever been, to focus on writing, to be totally present in my relationships and to make my home a place that I love to be in. While my old list and my new vision are essentially the same, my vision has so much more dimension. It is so much more motivating, more exciting, more interesting. Once again, my focus this year is essentially the same, but by envisioning my future I can imagine the feeling of the sunshine on my skin, taste the salt water as I fall off my paddle board, appreciate the snow falling outside my window and warmed produced by the fireplace on my skin. The image is just so much more real than any list.
I can experience and appreciate all of those details even as I sit in this cafe on this crisp December day in Brussels. The vision includes more detail, emotion and nuance. If I’m laughing and talking chances are good that I’m happy. If I’m celebrating I am probably filled with joy. If I’m paddle boarding there’s a really good chance that I’m fit. The images I draw add so much more to the equation. Yes, while the end goals may be the same in the end, it is not nearly as fun or compelling as the picture I paint in my head.
If I do something everyday to get me closer to that vision, then all that the vision entails will become real in short order. To that end, I bought a swimsuit last week. I can’t swim—yet, but I can’t learn if I don’t have a swimsuit. Well I could learn without a swimsuit. I could wear shorts or something, but symbolically it was meaningful to me to have a swimsuit so I bought one. And my present to myself for my birthday is going to be swimming lessons. Individually they are not huge leaps, but those small steps bring me closer to stand up paddle boarding in Bali. That swimsuit brings me closer to being more fit, more skilled and more prepared to have the fun that I seek. So I’m holding on to that vision and I’m moving toward it with ease and grace.
So I wait for opportunities to appear expectantly with focus, then in act calmly and confidently. Rumi describes it this way. ”When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.” Many people read that sort of thing and interpret it as a green light to stay at home and wait for opportunity to drop in their lap. I don’t. I interpret this as guidance to balance the receptive and the active. I contemplate what I want to do (reflective) then, I buy that swimsuit and take those lessons (active), and there is no striving, push or effecting in that. I do not and should not work from the defensive. Certainly I can. There are a lot of very successful people who work really hard, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult, so I’m choosing to take that path of ease.
Of course this idea of choosing the path of ease works for swimming lessons, but can it works ‘serious’ things like work too? Of course it can. Using the same passive/ active approach, quietly at home I’ve decided the kind of work I want and then actively gone out putting myself in the path of those opportunities: participating in forums, taking in terms of what I do want and asking friends to keep an eye out for me, whatever is most comfortable for me. Doing this led me to a friend of a friend, who needed someone to support on one of project for her, which turned out to be projects that thrills me. It can work or you in your office or business too, but your radar has to be tuned on opportunities. And another friend, after finding out that I was available, contacted me to work on a project with her. So none of our pursuits need be stressful activities.
As 2015 comes to an end, I look forward to 2016 as one who “advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,” and I expect to, “meet with success unexpected in common hours” as Henry David Thoreau puts it so beautifully. This winter solstice I look at every thing that scares me squarely in the eye and I dream lofty dreams anyway because if my dream is big enough, even ‘failure’ could be amazing.
Wishing you beautiful holidays and a New Year filled with peace, love and happiness and don’t forget to dream lofty dreams.