“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.”
See yourself as you want to be seen.
Tara Holland had always dreamed of becoming Miss America. In 1994, she entered the Miss Florida pageant and won the title of first runner-up. The next year, Tara entered the same contest, and once again, was announced first runner-up. But instead of giving up, Tara stayed focused on achieving her goal. In 1997, after moving to Kansas, she entered the Miss Kansas pageant and won the title. That same year, she went on to be crowned Miss America. After the Miss America pageant, a reporter asked Tara if she was nervous walking down the runway in front of millions of people watching on television and with the announcer singing the famous Miss America song.
“No, I wasn’t nervous at all,” she said. “I had walked down that runway thousands of times before.”
In another interview, Tara told how after losing twice in a row at the state-level, she went out and rented videos of local pageants, state pageants, as well as Miss Teen, Miss Universe, and Miss World pageants. Tara rented hundreds of videos of various pageants and watched them over and over again. As she watched each woman get crowned the winner, she pictured herself in that situation. She imagined herself receiving the crown. She imagined herself walking down the runway a winner. Then, her vision became a reality. This story is told in Your Best Life Now, written by Joel Osteen. The message of the story is simple: creating a compelling and tangible vision for your future will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
Amplify Your Vision
Get a bigger frying pan. There was once a man fishing by a river. A small boy walked up and watched the man as he threw out his fishing lure. Soon after, a fish tugged at the man’s fishing pole. After reeling in the line, the man pulled a 24-inch fish out of the water. He abruptly threw it back into the river. A few minutes later, the man caught another massive fish. Once gain, he threw it back into the river. This went on and on until the kid finally asked, “Why are you throwing all of those big fish back?” The man replied, “Because I only have a 10-inch frying pan.”
Understand: you have to make room in your thinking for your biggest goals before life will make room for them.
Create a compelling vision. Your vision should be big and bold, something that will inspire action and influence motivation. If you haven’t done so yet, take time to seek out and name your overall all purpose in life. Write down your biggest goal – your mountain peak. Once you’ve done that, brainstorm at least a dozen things you dream of having (house, car, clothing, cash), being (be a great marathon runner, be fluent in French), and doing (sky dive, travel the world, run with the bulls in Pamplona) in the next 5-10 years. Then, do the same exercise for things that you want to have, be, and do in the next 6-12 months. Write down things that increase happiness and generate confidence just by thinking about them. Shake up your thinking. Dream big. If you’re going to be dreaming, you might as well dream big.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Putting your goals and purpose in life on paper, in as many ways as possible, will help you change your direction in life. This includes writing out your new purpose, values, story, question, and slogan. If you’ve done this, then you’ve already created a compelling vision for your future. Now all you have to do is make it tangible by creating a vision board. In the book, How Come That Idiot’s Rich and I’m Not?, Robert Shemin discusses how creating his first vision board kept him focused and motivated during his rise from poverty to riches. Shemin has created four successful companies and has been involved in more than one thousand real-estate transactions. Many great men and women have used pictures and vision boards to help them achieve their purposes in life. During the Great Depression, Conrad Hilton clipped out a picture of the newly completed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Later, when he had enough cash to buy a desk, he put the picture under the desk’s glass top so he could look at it every day. In 1949, almost two decades later, Hilton bought the famous hotel. Bringing your dreams to life on paper will help you bring them to life in reality.
Expose Your Soul
Add depth to your desires. The key to creating a compelling and tangible vision board is posting pictures of both your short-term and long-term goals. As you start achieving your goals, a healthy tension will be created between what you have accomplished and what you have yet to accomplish. On the one side, you will have specific achievements that you can identify with presently. On the other side, you will have goals that you are in the process of achieving. The merging of these two sides into one concrete vision will generate tension and energy, which will continuously pull you forward towards your dreams.
First, give your purpose in life a name. Either type out the name of one of your biggest goals, or cut out a pictorial representation of it. Then, post it directly in the center of your board. In 2010, my purpose in life was getting out of Graduate school and starting my career in business and entrepreneurship. My dream was to one day run my own enterprises, creating products and services that made an impact. I captured this dream simply by typing out “Isaiah Hankel Enterprises” and posting it on my board (pictured at the top of this post). This helped me stay focused on entrepreneurship development and leadership influence. My second biggest goal was to have perfectly healthy kidneys. I had recently been diagnosed with a kind of kidney disease called IgA nephropathy. Stopping and reversing the progression of the disease was a priority. I created a vision for this by cutting out a picture of a healthy glomerulus and pasting it to the center of my board.
After posting your largest, long-term goals in the center of your board, start posting your short-term goals. Fill in the periphery of your board, first with your 5-10 year goals, and then with your 6-month to 1-year goals. In total, I suggest posting 1-3 major life goals in the center, followed by half a dozen 5-10 year goals and half a dozen 6-month to 1-year goals. On my 2010 vision board, I posted pictures of houses, cars, boats, jets, and blocks of cold hard cash, all of which I wanted to have in 5-10 years. In Graduate school, I was living a lifestyle full lack and debt. These pictures were meant to help me remove any and all mental limits from my life. For the same 5-10 year timeline, I posted the phrase “The Isaiah Hankel Wrestling Foundation”, which symbolized my dream to start a scholarship fund for high school wrestlers. I also posted pictures of experiences that I wanted to have in the next 5-10 years, including living in a villa in Croatia for a year. For my 6-month to 1-year goals, I posted pictures of things that I wanted to do immediately after graduating, including scuba diving, rock climbing, and traveling the world. Finally, I pasted pictures of people who inspired me to work hard, as well as quotes and empowering words that focused me and motivated me to take action.
Show off your vision. After I finished creating my vision board, I hung it up on the wall above my desk. I was living in off-campus housing at the time, which meant my living room, office, and bedroom were all the same room. As a result, anyone who visited me was able to see my vision board. At first, I was embarrassed by it and would hang up a sheet or towel over it when I had friends come over. But, as time went on, I got used to it. I became less and less concerned with what other people thought and showed it off openly. Creating a vision board not only helped me stay focused and motivated, it helped me become more open, honest, and authentic. My vision board wasn’t a symbol of some image I wanted to show off, it was me, heart and soul.
I’m currently creating a new vision board that will include clippings of my new values, story, question, and slogan. If you’ve taken the time to write out these things for yourself, be sure to include them in your vision board. In my next post, I will show you how to transform your purpose in life from an abstract desire to an uncompromising conviction.