When my oldest son, Austin, was 13 years old I asked him a question that I believe has the power to change the trajectory of one’s life:
“Have you ever noticed how many kids are alike in what they do after graduating school?”
He agreed that, although there are variations on the theme, people pretty much do the same (usually average) things and get the same (usually average) results.
Now, if you live somewhere like the United States, average results can yield a pretty good life relative to average results in other places.
Average can put a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and enough money in your pocket to take a yearly vacation.
Basically, average results can be quite comfortable.
The question, though, is this:
Do you want average results…or the best results possible?
STOP—before you answer that question, I want you to answer a few others.
Many years ago, I wrote down everything I wanted to have, do, and become. I did this by asking myself a series of questions:
- What do I really want to experience in my life?
- What are the most important things I would like to happen in my life before I die?
- How would I like to live?
- Who do I want to become?
That day, I wrote for what seemed like hours, recording everything that entered my mind. After I wrote everything down, I looked over the stack of papers and asked myself two more questions:
- By what specific date do I want this to happen?
- What actions must I take in order for this life to become reality?
I came up with many actions to take (some worked—some didn’t!). I wrote everything quickly before transferring all the actionable items to a generic calendar. (No smart phones then…and I couldn’t afford a Franklin Planner. Remember those?) That calendar, and those sheets of paper, became a personal success manual of sorts and its format is the same one I use today.
Ask yourself those same questions. Right now—come on—do it quickly in your head! At the moment, you don’t even need to write them down.
Okay…assuming you’ve done as I asked, do your answers—the results you just imagined—seem average to you? No? Hmm…I didn’t think so.
For years, I have said this to myself: “Who you are going to one day be, you are now becoming.” Occasionally, I’ve even said it to someone else…
Reflect on these words long enough and you will feel their power. The statement is hauntingly true.
Looking back, I realize the vision I was casting when I first asked those questions has become the life I am now living.
Fortunately, no matter where you are…physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or financially…at this very moment in time, you can take control of your circumstances, cast a vision for your future, and begin to move toward the life you were created to live.
The 4 Steps to Effective Vision Casting
1. Brainstorm Your Vision
- What life would I like to create for my family?
- What kind of marriage and family relationships do I want?
- What do I want to create financially?
- What would I like to create in order to influence the finances of other people in a positive way?
- How do I wish to be remembered? What will my legacy be?
Write everything down. Speak it aloud…record it if that’s easier. Transcribe it or get it transcribed by someone else. No matter how you do it…do it! Then, read it. And reread it. Highlight it. Prioritize it. Revisit your answers to the first set of questions—especially if you need to recharge.
2. Determine If It’s Possible
For every category, ask yourself: Is this possible?
Don’t ask anybody other than yourself and God. Is this possible? And be aware in advance that God will say “yes.”
To assure yourself that the roadmap you’re using is indeed correct, the “possibility” now needs legs. Your every thought must lean toward the reality of the certain future being created at this very moment. So…the power question at this point is simply: What must occur—what planets have to align—for my hopes to become real? Take a moment and run through the scenarios. What would have to happen in order that THE BEST might manifest itself in the ways you’ve already written down?
I’m not saying you need to know the exact steps right now for your vision to become reality. Perhaps what you’re imagining has never even been done. Since that doesn’t matter, don’t let that stop you! You’re not lacking money, you’re not lacking time, and you’re not lacking leadership. You’re just lacking an idea.
3. Commit to a Direction
After you determine the life you desire is possible, commit your actions to that direction. Ask yourself:
- Who do I have to become to make this happen?
- What do I have to learn?
- What action must I take today?
As you move in the direction you have chosen, you’ll begin to create methods that will move you further, faster, and with a degree of momentum most people have never experienced.
4. Create Unstoppable Momentum
Please understand this about momentum:
Every day, we have a “baseline” level of effectiveness. Generally speaking, we are who we are. The quality of our performance in every aspect of life is based upon our beliefs. This includes what we believe to be the appropriate level of persistence for human beings.
Curiously, when we lack momentum, our performance—no matter our capabilities—fails even to reach our baseline level of effectiveness. Our results suffer.
Put another way, if you’re usually a five in effectiveness (on a scale of 1-10), without momentum, you’re probably performing at the level of a four. Which means you’re achieving the results of a four.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you have momentum, you’ll probably perform at the level of a six or seven—even though you’re really only a five. Your results, of course, are also the results of a six or seven. And because you’re learning from those results, the unseen power of momentum can facilitate your move from a six or seven…to an eight!
You become unstoppable!
Cast your vision for the future. Participate in the process daily. Build on your momentum, share your results, and encourage others to do the same. With your every success—no matter how small that might be—celebrate. Then, immediately recommit to your vision.
Remember, who you are going to one day be, you are now becoming. Don’t wait. Start today. NOW is the time for you to become THE BEST version of yourself—the one that was intended for you from the very beginning.