I ask people to create vision statements all the time. For some, it's really fun and easy-- they know exactly what they want and they just haven't gotten there yet. For others, they take the assignment, look at it, have no idea what to write, and that's the end of it.
Sometimes life comes at us with such big waves of challenge or disappointment that we are simply reacting to the waves in an effort to stay afloat. Sometimes normal, daily life is overwhelming enough that the idea of dreaming up an alternative reality feels completely ridiculous.
If you are mired in the deep dark pit of 'everything sucks', this is for you.
So. Everything sucks. I'm sorry to hear that. Let's start there.
Maybe you have been out of work for over a year, or are about to get divorced, or have a health challenge that is overwhelming. That sucks. Sometimes clients come to me with all three of those things going on, or worse. I've noticed that those who are still able to actively seek a better future have something that others don't. They have faith that something else is possible. They don't know how, but they know this too shall pass... someday.
I don't ask those clients to put together a vision statement for their ideal life right away. There's nothing to write yet, because they are so mired in the yuckiness of right now. Instead, we talk about what IS working about life. What teeny, tiny, even meaningless thing might you be grateful for? Something you take for granted is a great place to start- like having a place to sleep indoors, or enough clothes to keep you warm. Did you eat enough today? What is working that you'd like to continue?
You may be tempted to write off these things as “things everyone has,” but we both know that isn't true. And you may be tempted not to count some things because they aren't as good as they used to be. But I know that just because I used to live somewhere warm and sunny doesn't take away from how awesome it is that I still have a place to live now.
Once you've identified some things to be grateful for, write them down. If you don't want to write, because you hate it and everything is stupid (been there), say them out loud. But find a way to recognize the things that are indeed working for you, because not everything is broken.
The things we place our attention on grow. I'm sure you've noticed this phenomena in the past, where if you worry about something, your concern gets worse. If you focus on what a great job your daughter did in math, the bill for tutoring becomes less important. Case in point:
Recently I stayed with my mother to help her when she needs to get up during the night. She's got some disabilities due to two brain surgeries. I'm a light sleeper and have a hard time going back to bed once I'm awoken. In the middle of the night she woke me up and needed some help. After I got her back to sleep, I went back my bed and laid there. I thought about how tired I would be the next day, and how much harder things were going to be without my usual energy. I wished things were different for her and for my family. And I laid there quietly hoping to fall asleep, alone, wondering when I'd hear her stir again, knowing it could be several more times. But then something great happened.
As I laid there I noticed the silence in the house. And how nice it was to be somewhere so peaceful. I noticed how warm I was in the bed, and how lucky I was to have my own bed at her home, in addition to my own at my home. I felt lucky that my mom was alive and loved me, and that I was able to spend this time with her. I laid there some more, and I started smiling. I no longer cared about how the morning would feel, or my to-do list, or how frustrating this whole situation is. I couldn't focus on that anymore, because my gratitude had grown to the point that it was all I cared about.
I eventually fell back asleep, and when I woke up, I was tired, yes. But I was so grateful.
What can you reframe today? What might you be thankful for, despite its challenges? I would love to hear about it. The more we focus on what's working, the greater our capacity to create more positive energy.
This time of year is hard for so many, but you aren't alone in that, and I know you can find something to be grateful for. And for those of you who aren't struggling right now but feel like there is more to life you'd like to start manifesting... I hope to see you at the Vision Boarding Meetup next week.
Life Purpose and Career Coach
Career Clarity Now