Sometimes it’s seems like we are going through the motions in life and not living out our full potential. With a plethora of distractions in life ranging from social media to cellular device apps, the temptation is to let life fly and pass us by.
Without intentionally finding and executing upon our vision, time can elapse from days to weeks to years to decades. Where did the time go?
Over the past 10 years of educating teenagers in Japan and England, I have found that 5 clear and deliberate steps have served the young people in finding their vision. I hope they can be useful to you.
1) Aligned Vision
“Clarity of vision is the key to achieving your objectives” Tom Steyer.
It is absolutely key to do what you are absolutely passionate about. We all have interests that light up our souls from cooking, archery, teaching, singing to management. When we follow the path of what we love to do, there is less resistance and we become more productive. As Mark Twain wrote, “The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation”.
I had just returned to England after teaching English in Japan on a post university gap year. I started my corporate job in the City of London soon after. I hated the environment of working in a stuffy office, wearing a pin striped tailored suit. My employer saw this and we agreed to part ways before the 3 month probation period was over. I found the job was not aligned to my character and my strengths. The corporate door closed and the teaching door opened.
Whilst teaching Business I knew that ditching the text book would illuminate the minds of the young people. So rather than showcasing organizations they had never heard of, I referenced soccer teams, Youtubers, music stars and social media companies. This aligned perfectly with their future visions of what they wanted to be, subsequently teaching became trouble free and straight forward.
97% of people who read books written by Bill Gates,Oprah Winfrey and the like may create similar grand visions of the aforementioned entrepreneurs. Do they create the same results? No.
Many focus on the actions of the successful, rather than the characteristics that allowed them to achieve that level of success. With grand visions, grand values such as perseverance, patience, dedication, and consistence were needed to achieve. Therefore to follow through on our vision we need to think of the values that are needed.
To my High School Students I would break down the 5 S’s of success as specialist knowledge, skills, structure, speed of writing and state of mind. I would stress that the key was creating the state of mind that would give the mindset to focus on hard work over inconsistency and determination over weak mindedness.
3) Modeled Action
“Success Leaves Clues” Jim Rohn.
Now it is time for action. But in order for you to carry out your vision the action will need to be based on a successful process that has worked before. This will save time, energy and money.
I found that with students struggling to complete a course project, that the best way to get them into action was to show them an A grade project. This is where I would see young eyes light up as they saw what was possible.
We live in an information age. Information is everywhere. So when we think we can’t get the toned body, the right partner, a new career – we are not acknowledging that there are role models with the correct strategies to access. Moreover these solutions are a click of the mouse or a phone call away.
In 2017 I was in the best shape of my life, running half marathons and 5km races for fun. What was the key to this success? A no nonsense Colombian fitness trainer who I saw twice a week and did not want to let down. Furthermore, I went to about 10 exercise classes per week ranging from spinning to yoga to legs bums and tums. As the only man in a majority of these classes, I didn’t want to let the females down, so I kept planking, running and squatting. What keyword sums up my success in 2017? Accountability!
This is surrounding yourself with a peer group, coaches, mentors and others to keep you pushing when times become difficult. Ideas and visions are ten a penny, but it is the execution of these visions that are needed in order to succeed. Having a group of peers for accountability will increase the chances of you executing.
“Stay committed to your decisions, but flexible in your approach.” Tony Robbins
In terms of carrying out your vision there is never any failure, only results. Therefore if the result we have produced has missed the target we have a great opportunity to change and become more flexible in our approach.
When students would get a D and E grade in economics essays the temptation would be for them to focus on the ‘lousy’ result. You can imagine how they felt. However, when I got them to tune into areas of improvement such as clearer definitions, stronger analysis, real world examples and stronger conclusions they became empowered.
Once performance is reviewed in a clear and impartial way, it allows us to create a new plan of action in order to improve on the last result. The process of review is constant and never ending as there is always something we can improve on.