“Freedom… means being able to actively and consciously participate in the creation of your own future. If your future is decided by others you really are not free… there is a relationship between freedom and our willingness to determine what our future will be.” — Larry Lippitt
Zingerman’s isn’t just your traditional midwest Jewish Deli, baking artisanal breads and serving reuben sandwiches. It has become a small giant in the business world and a place where people come to learn the practices that have made them so successful. If you ask their owners, there is no doubt that their visioning process is what has made them a multi-million dollar company that provides value and serves their community.
The #1 law in their “The Twelve Natural Laws of Business And Life” is that “an inspiring, strategically sound vision leads the way to greatness (especially if you write it down!).”
A vision is a richly detailed, emotionally engaging picture of what success means to you at a particular point in time in the future.
Visioning, the way they teach it — is actually writing down your desires, setting it at a particular point in the future, and including enough detail so you’ll know if you’ve arrived (or at least how far you’ve gotten). This is hardly the norm in everyday life. We are conditioned like hamsters to just keep running on our wheel in the hopes that something good will eventually happen to us.
The practice of visioning puts us in control of our future. With a proper vision, we are much more likely to succeed and reach it.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” Paulo Coehlo
Sure, you’ve got plenty on your plate already. Bills to pay, people to take care of, hustling to be done. If you’ve ever had a moment where you felt stressed, anxious, or uneasy for no apparent reason; it is because you lacked vision and purpose about what you were doing. Continuing to not get clear about what you really want for your life will only increase these feelings of anxiety.
“We fear our highest possibilities (as well as our lowest ones). We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments. We enjoy and even thrill to the godlike possibilities we see in ourselves. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe, and fear, before these very same possibilities. The trick, I believe, is to pursue it all anyway.” — Abraham Maslow
“Visioning is all about empowering ourselves to pursue a life we’re passionate about, to take charge of the road we’re on, to live in a way that’s inspiring, exciting, and rewarding.” -Ari Weinzweig (Co-Founder of Zingermans)
Those thoughts and ideas that swirl in our subconscious want to come out, but only through practice can they become unleashed. One of those practices is the visioning process. Your true vision isn’t something that you actively think about for weeks, it is already in you. Deep inside you. You just need to act to let it loose.
“If we’ve gotten clear on where we’re going, it’s about eighty times more easier to make the most of the decisions we’re going to make every day.” -Ari
If you have a vision of writing a bestseller and your best writing time is from 7–11am, would you schedule anything else during that time? With your vision written down, that answer is easy: Hell no. If we didn’t have a clear vision sorted out, it would be much easier to become anxious and say ‘yes’ to things we otherwise wouldn’t.
A clear vision becomes your roadmap and your compass.
“…most every decision can be framed in terms of whether or not it helps move us closer to our vision.” -Ari
“Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: 1) It’s completely impossible. 2) It’s possible, but not it’s not worth doing. 3) I said it was a good idea all along.” -Arthur C. Clarke
When you really go for an ambitious future vision and hold tight to your subconscious wants, people will try to resist you. They will say things like the above quote. They will try to hold you back for many reasons. Some will say they care about you, others don’t want to see you improving yourself and leaving them behind.
Having a vision written down and agreed upon by yourself allow you to stay the course and go after the great times ahead.
There is a lot of data out there that people who are driving towards a meaningful future of their own choosing do better in pretty much every way you can imagine. It correlates with greater life success, higher skill levels, better physical health, and a far greater sense of fulfillment.
Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, at a speech at his 50th high school reunion, said, “There are two things we can do to maximize the chances that we will attend our 70th reunion. The first is to be future oriented: to be drawn towards the future, as opposed to dwelling in the past. Work not just for your personal future, but the future of your family, this school, your nation, and your dearest ideals.” And the second thing? “Exercise.”
Write your vision today without checking in on your conscious mind. Write fast and don’t analyze it. Oh, and don’t forget to write that you really enjoy exercising as well…
Write your vision of greatness using THE ULTIMATE CHECKLIST FOR CRAFTING A COMPELLING VISION…the “hot pen” technique could be an exercise that changes your life!
Originally published at medium.com