Think back to your childhood. It’s Christmas Eve. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t fall asleep. You lay, staring at the ceiling, trying to hush your mind so Christmas can be here.
You open your eyes. Not like normal days, where the lids seems to take the strength of an army to lift. Today, they fly open like a cork popping out of a bottle of champagne.
It doesn’t matter that you hardly slept. It doesn’t matter that the sun isn’t up yet. It doesn’t matter that the room is cold. Before you can finish your first full breath, you throw back the covers and bounce out the door and down the hall.
Don’t you wish you could have felt that excited to wake up today?
It’s easy to think back on those as the good old times. To think how great it would be to be young and carefree again. And even to warn our kids of the fate that is in store, “Enjoy it while you can, kid.”
But why can’t every day be like our childhood Christmas morning? What’s to stop us from jumping out of bed excited for what’s in store?
The answer is a compelling vision.
What Is A Compelling Vision?
When you woke on Christmas, you could see the presents, taste the hot chocolate, feel the warmth of your family. You had this vision clear in your mind before you stepped out of bed. You had it in your mind the night before too. And even days, weeks, maybe months leading up.
But when you woke up this morning what was on your mind? A meeting you were dreading? A project you couldn’t care less about? A commute that irritated you just thinking about it?
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can wake up feeling like every day is Christmas. All you need is a compelling vision.
A vision is simply a clear picture of the future.
A compelling vision is a clear picture of the future that your excited about. Picturing your bumper-to-bumper commute to a lifeless cubicle is a vision—but Christmas morning? That’s a compelling vision.
6 Steps To Craft A Compelling Vision
If you want to jump out of bed every day, excited for what’s in store, here are six steps to crafting your own compelling vision:
- Accept responsibility for your future. Before you can make any progress on improving your life, you must accept that the choices you make now and going forward are in your control—and these choices are the only reason you’ll either get where you want to be, or stay where you don’t want to be.
- Dream about your future. Write down what your ideal life looks like. A compelling vision has to be grand. Think big. Forget about how you’ll get there and let your imagination run wild. Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t filter yourself. If you imagine you’re driving a fancy car or eating caviar on a yacht, write it down. I find that once I get the material things out of my head, my mind opens up to the deeper things that are more important. It helps to have a private journal to keep yourself from censoring your thoughts. I use Day One, but there are many options out there.
- Carve out essentials. Essentials are top priorities you won’t live without under any circumstance—carve these out because they aren’t the focus of your compelling vision. I’ll explain why. My family is a top priority no matter what happens. My health is another essential priority. I’m going to focus on these no matter what. But what will compel me, excite me, drive me forward, is something more. Something optional. Something beyond my needs.
- Get clear on what compels you the most. My dad always told me, “You can have any thing you want, but not every thing you want.” If you could only have one aspect of your dream life, what would it be? How about the second thing? Or third thing? I would keep this to as few as possible, but certainly no more than five—two or three is better. The fewer key priorities you have, the more focused you can be and better chance you’ll achieve them. And don’t worry about how you’ll achieve these yet, keep focused on what you want.
- Craft a compelling vision statement. Write down what your life looks like as if you already accomplished these compelling priorities. Make it visual. Give it life. For example, “I am sitting on a warm, sandy beach, a short walk from our home. The island is calm and peaceful. I am reviewing notes and outlining an article that I will write later this morning, from my desk looking out over the ocean.” Your compelling vision needs to put a picture in your mind.
- Review your vision regularly. Along with your essential priorities, this vision should drive everything you do. So review it regularly—at least daily. Write it down on a small note card to keep in your pocket, if that helps.
You don’t need to know how you’re going to get there yet, but be confident that you will get there. If you keep your compelling vision clearly in mind, you will start to see your daily decisions through its lens. You will find yourself asking, “Is this going to help me get there?” If not, you can make changes to focus your actions on the goal. Your vision will help you find the way.
Now, you can wake up every morning excited. It’s not Christmas, but its another day to move closer to your compelling vision.