What does it mean to have the vision? How many of us really know what we want to do in our life? How many of us are actually doing what it is that we want to do our life? How do we figure out if we even know what we should be doing?
Most of us have probably had one or more of these questions in our lifetime. But do we ever really answer them? I went to a seminar earlier this summer that dealt with the topic of vision-casting, which is essentially what these questions lead to. Each and every one of us have a purpose in this world, and it’s up to us to fulfill it. At the same time, we also have a vision for our life – an idea of what our ideal life looks like. But achieving this vision and fulfilling our purpose aren much easier said than done.
Let’s start with a very basic question. Ask yourself this: “If I had all the money in the world, what would I be doing?” This isn’t meant to be a trick question. Some of us can answer in a heartbeat; others will have to ponder awhile. When posed with this question, I began to mule over my possible responses. And I’ll be very honest with you – I know for a fact that had I been asked this question in various stages of my life, I would have given very different answers. Had you asked my 13 years ago when I was fresh out of high school, I would have told you I wanted to help others by being a physical therapist. Had you asked me about 10 years ago, I would’ve told you my vision was to be a stay-at-home-mom. If you’d asked me 5 years ago, I would tell you I would be teaching. If you’d asked me 2 years ago, I would tell you that I would be happily working as a project manager of my company. If you had asked me just a month ago, I would’ve said that I want to somehow be helping people improve their lives while raising a family. And today? Well….that’s kinda up in the air. Same person, but at different stages in my life. Thus the very different answers.
This was just the first question that was posed to us during the vision-casting seminar I attended. The next step was to write down what it was that we would do if there were no limitations. They emphasized that whatever our vision was, it was completely attainable. Now, it may not seem attainable at this very moment, but that is why it’s so important to do these activities. To my surprise, our instructor told us that one of the first key steps to getting anywhere closer to obtaining a vision isn’t to conquer whatever the limitation is. Instead, she told us that the first step is that we visualize ourselves there – doing what it is that we want to be doing. I remember thinking, now this is why people make vision boards! By visualizing what it is we want to have in our lives, it helps to motivate us to get there. And motivation is the key to everything.
I thought about creating a vision board several times, but it wasn’t until earlier this summer that I really put forth the effort and made it. Surprisingly, I had just finished my vision board shortly before attending this seminar. My vision board covers the basics: happiness, spiritual connection, peace, home, family, job, love. Behind each piece of my vision board is a story. For example, my desire for spiritual connection and peace is mostly due to my recent return to church. I grew up in church and have drifted away as I’ve grown older. Recently, I’ve felt a quiet urge to return and re-connect. Something about worshipping with others stirs my soul and makes me feel connection.
I also have time with family, home, and happiness on my board. Ever since I was little and playing house with my dolls, I’ve dreamed of being married and having a family. This strong desire pushed me from one relationship to the next (sometimes staying longer than necessary), hoping that I was going to find Mr. Right and settle down. Once I stopped teaching, my desire to start a family became more pressing. It wasn’t so much that I felt I was getting older, but I just wanted to be able to share my life with someone and I felt that starting a family would fulfill me. Once I finally did get married, that’s all I wanted to do – was to start a family and start the next chapter of our lives. To me, it was like living the perfect fairy tale.
Back to the seminar. After we had our idea of what our ultimate vision would be, the instructor asked us this jarring question: “What’s sabotaging you from reaching this vision? What are your limiting beliefs? Why are you not moving forward?” I don’t know about everyone else, but this was a very difficult question for me to answer. I knew part of it was my own mental negativity and the other part of it was dealing with the negativity from others. I have always had an extreme amount of self-doubt and low self-confidence myself. I’ve been dealing with this all of my life. I was never popular growing up; I never felt that I was the prettiest; I’ve always struggled with insecurities about my looks.
It wasn’t until these last 3 to 4 months that I’ve actually begun to grow as a person. I’ve begun to gain some self-confidence and really accept the way that I look. This is a giant step for me! Never in my life have I been able to look in a mirror and really be happy about who I am. And although I’ve been extremely happy about these changes, there have been outside factors that have been less than thrilled. One very large raincloud pouring on my parade has been my husband. When I first started with Beachbody, he said he thought it was a great idea and seemed proud of me. He even volunteered to join me in work outs after he saw how much I enjoyed it. But as I became more involved in coaching and working with other people, his viewpoint quickly changed. Instead of viewing this as a healthy hobby, he began to view it as a very big distraction.
Let me take a step back and explain a little bit about what was going on at the time that I started as a coach with Beachbody. My husband and I have been trying for over six months to get pregnant and I was becoming obsessive with the tracking. If you’ve ever tried to get pregnant, you know what I’m talking about. The incessant temperature-taking; the monitoring of mucus; the plotting of days; the squinting at ovulation tests; the fingers crossed followed by tears when Aunt Flo paid a visit. It’s nerve-wracking and really takes a toll on every woman. The thoughts of “I’ll never be a mother” and “I’m not doing something right” slowly creep into your mind and begin to take over.
I became so desperate that I began to do research on what could be causing us to have difficulty conceiving. I scheduled appointments with my doctor to have blood work done to ensure nothing was wrong with me. It was also around this time that I really began to look into my diet. Were there any changes that could be made to increase my fertility? Could I be any healthier; did I need to lose weight? It was around this time that I had decided I was going to set a new goal for myself: to run a half marathon before the end of 2016. I was already training for a 10K, but I was beginning to experience some pain due to my old knee injury. I dislocated my knee over 4 1/2 years ago, and my therapist told me back then that no matter what I did, I needed to make sure that I had strong quad muscles for the rest of my life or else my knee would dislocate again. I knew that running was putting some extreme pressure on my knee, but I was determined not to give up or give in.
In June, a friend of mine (who was the coach) posted a clean eating group via Facebook. I thought it sounded neat and signed up! It was the first time that I tried it and I absolutely fell in love with the diet. I liked the routine and the structure, but most of all I loved the concept of not eating so many processed foods. Not to mention that it was in perfect alignment with what I had been reading about fertility diets. I decided to join Beachbody as a coach and started my first round of the 21 Day Fix. This eating plan really helped me to stay on track, to add in the foods that I knew I should be eating in order to maintain a healthy weight, and to possibly improve my chances of getting pregnant. The workout programs weren’t too intensive, but they did help to improve my leg strength. I was tickled! Not only did this serve as a great cross fitness regime to supplement my running training, but it also helped to alleviate my knee pain.
As I continued to focus more on my fitness, my husband felt slighted. I wasn’t spending as many nights on the couch mindlessly watching television with him or browsing Pinterest. Instead I was working on challenge groups, talking to my challengers, working on a team call, doing personal development, or meal planning. To me all this was fine. I’ve always liked working with people and planning things, and I now had a hobby that fulfilled those desires. I was also finally happy to have some sort of distraction from my the tracking of my cycles. He, on the other hand, viewed it as I was no longer interested in him. What he didn’t realize was that I was finally happy and finally gaining the self-confidence that I so desperately needed all these years. I am still gaining that self-confidence, but somehow that wasn’t how he viewed things.
As I sat there in the seminar that day, I began to realize that I was questioning my own vision not because I doubted myself, but because I didn’t feel that I had support. I was actually doubting myself based on not having someone else’s acceptance and approval. The old me would’ve dropped the dream quickly and gone back to making the other person happy. The new me began to fight more fiercely for my dream because it was mine. I was too scared to say it aloud or write it, but I realized what one of my largest limiting reasons.
As you can probably imagine by reading this, the vision for my life right now is somewhat blurry. As I began this blog post several weeks ago, I felt that my vision was very clear. I wanted to be a loving wife, become a mother, and find a way to begin helping others while being able to stay home with my baby (whenever that occurred). I wanted to become my own boss. But at the same time, I know that I have a job that I love and I don’t want to leave. So, I guess you could say my vision was more focused on the personal goals of becoming a mother and building a home. Now, three weeks later, my vision and my personal life have drastically changed. And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been rough.
But, I want y’all to know that this is OK. Things happen in life that we don’t expect or we don’t plan for. And we have no control over things sometimes. It’s in these instances that we just have to roll with the punches and be flexible. For someone like me who is extremely structured and likes everything planned six months in advance, this is very difficult for me to handle. I find these situations to be very stressful, and I react very poorly. I’ve often chuckled and said that someday God would teach me a lesson about letting him be in control; I just didn’t expect the lesson to come so soon. It’s not so funny now that I’m in it.
So what do you do when life throws you a curve ball? What happens to that lovely vision board which was so painstakingly planned out and the goals that you made in order to reach those visions? Well, fear not – these visions won’t disappear. Yes, maybe some visions will be put on hold or change in priority. And yes, maybe you’ll have to take time to re-evaluate your vision board to see what is really important. While my immediate dreams for starting a family and buying a house have pretty much been dashed, my vision for peace and happiness and the ability to help others has not been destroyed. I will still continue to seek those in all ways possible. In regards to the other visions; well, they have been put on hold. I may not start a family in the next few months, but it is still a vision of mine. I will someday be a mother; it will just have to happen on a different time schedule than I had planned. I’m being taught a lesson in patience at the same time as I’m being taught about vision-casting.
Right now, I’m just re-prioritizing. This is something that we all have to do at least once in our lives. It’s not usually planned and it’s typically not fun. You take your goals and your visions, and you prioritize what is most important at this point in your life. And if you feel completely lost and just need to start from scratch, that’s ok too. Here are the steps that I followed when first creating my vision board that I found to be pretty helpful.
- Start with a blank canvas and think about what it is that you want in your life.
- Think of words that come to mind when you envision your life 1, 5, 10 years from now. Try to cover these areas: family, career, fun/adventure,
- Use magazines or Google image searches to come up with images to put on your board.
- Print out the words and images and glue them onto your board.
- Now, come up with goals of how to reach these things. You’re going to want at least 1 big goal and then smaller goals for each one.
- Write out these goals. Make them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
If you take anything from this blog today, let it be this: Don’t be scared to dream and envision everything that you want in your life. Don’t be scared to write these all down and think about how you can reach these. And if you find yourself in a position where nothing you’ve been dreaming of seems to be possible – take a moment to step back and look inwards. We are all here for a purpose and once we realize what that purpose is, nothing should stop us from achieving it.