Vision: The Land of Great Imaginings

Ah, Vision…..The Land of Great Imaginings where your Inner Fairy Princess waves her virtual wand and makes all your dreams come true.  A magical world where hope grows on trees and the rivers flow with the sweet elixir of the possible.  A land of illimitable yes.

The Land of Vision is a place where no desire is too fantastic, no dream too fanciful.  A place where the you of your greatest imaginings (wearing Tom Ford, of course) accepts her second Oscar with a speech that will have them talking for years–––without the wardrobe malfunction.

There are no Naysayers or Bubble Bursters in the Land of Vision.  No editorials or ‘yeah buts.’  They live in another world––a cold and scary dominion that you will eventually have to visit, but not now; not yet.

For now, you are going to let yourself dance with joy from the sheer, magnificent possibility of it all.  You are going to walk the Red Carpet; launch the next Internet powerhouse; find the cure for cancer.  Script that Ted talk; pack for your book tour.  You are going to imagine yourself exactly where and how you want to be.

So yes, reality will eventually try and strip the sparkles from your wand.  But not today.  Today, you’re rocking it.  And the stadium is sold-out.

The Art of the Possible: Goal Setting For A New Year

Ah, the exuberance of a New Year.

When all your infinite imaginings seem possible.  When you just know all you have to do is will it and write it and it will happen.  And so you do.

You write your lists with your new pen (bought ‘specially) on your new paper (it cost $1 a sheet so it has to work). You rip pages from magazines with furious vigor and cut and paste them onto vision boards. You plot and schedule and create spreadsheets and color-coded calendars layering in all those things you’ve promised you’ll do.  And then you lean back self-satisfied, because after all, this is a new year.  The year.  You just know it.  Really.

And of course, we all know what comes next…..The end of January sneaks up and along with it the overwhelming realization that no matter what your best intentions were, you’re back in the same place you were the year before.  Nothing’s different, nothing’s changed.  And to top it off, you feel even worse than than you did before you set out to conquer that mountain of goals.  Feel worse for having broken that umpteenth promise to yourself.  Yet again.

It’s not that goals and lists are bad; because they are not. In fact, the right goals can generate remarkable results.  It’s just that we tend to go about it all wrong.  We start with what feels like punishment (losing weight=giving up things I love) and expect the results to be different than they were the last forty times we wrote down that goal.  Or we task ourselves with achieving more things then is humanly possible (all by next Thursday) and then wonder why we feel so badly when we don’t do what was never doable in the first place.

So, before you let yourself get swept into the Bermuda Triangle that is the New Year’s goal-setting vortex, let me make a suggestion:

Put down the pens and paper and the spreadsheets and goal-setting apps for now.  Take a hike, go for a jog, make love to your partner, meditate.  Whatever suits your fancy.  Give that lizard brain of yours a break because this year,  I’m going to suggest you to do things differently.  I’m going to encourage you to be more fluid, more creative; to think abstractly.

And when you’re ready I’m going to ask you to sit back, relax and take some time to ponder.  To let that big, active positive brain of yours take a walk through the land of the possible. I’m going to ask you to really think about what would need to happen for you to end 2013 feeling really great about yourself.  What would a successful year look like? How might it feel? What would you need to change, initiate or achieve to help you get there––to make you feel like you’ve moved your life forward in an extraordinary way?

Now, from all the things milling about in your head,  I’d like for you to create a short list of the ones that resonate most and once you’ve got those clear, I’m going to ask you to narrow it down even further.  I’m going to ask you to identify the one high-level commitment you could make this year that would fundamentally change your life.  Then, take a moment to imagine how your life would be further transformed if you were able to keep this high-level commitment to yourself for the rest of your life.  Wow.  How powerful would that be?

And whatever it is you’ve come up with, I can pretty much guarantee that losing 10 pounds didn’t even make it to your short list––It’s just not big enough. But perhaps, making a commitment to healthful living did. And while ‘spending less’ isn’t there either, ‘creating a positive relationship with money’ just might be.

What happens if you allow your thinking to grow even more expansive?  To consider broad, sweeping goals that may, on the face of it, seem so abstract and high-level as to not be actionable?

Imagine what your life would be like if you ‘always kept your word?’ Think about that for a second.  You would never say ‘yes’ when you meant ‘no’. You would think clearly and rationally about the things you committed to before you pledged your word. Think of the disappointment you could avoid––with yourself and with others.  Marriage vows would either be kept or turned upside down and written entirely differently.  Does this mean you would install a trapdoor and parachute into everything you did?  No.  Absolutely not.  You would still challenge yourself––but only with the possible.  You wouldn’t set out to write a best-seller, but what you would do, is set out to write the best book you possibly could and work diligently (even in the face of rejection) to secure its success.

Imagine what it be like to ‘overcome fear’ or even better, to commit ‘to show up in spite of it’?  What would your life look like if you decided to live without shame?  How would that impact the choices you made on a daily basis? Or what if you went on a campaign to ‘banish regret’ and ‘conquer procrastination’?  Or determined to be proud of yourself everyday?  How might the lives of the people you touch be impacted if you vowed to ‘practice kindness’ and ‘live with compassion’?  How might deciding to ‘leave a legacy of love’ change the lives of your children?

These things seem big…I know…sometimes too big…. But I assure you, these are achievable goals.  Profound commitments which when made (and kept) will have the most far-reaching positive consequences on your life of anything you ever endeavor to do.  And ironically, goals which are easier to keep than committing to achieving a 10% increase in revenues.  Why?  Because they are within your control.  Entirely.

So this year, I encourage you to start here.  Start with the big things––the perspective shifters; the game changers.  The broad sweeping goals that you, (being you) will eventually take out and look at; dissect and contemplate; create intentions towards and myriad action lists and to dos for.  But not today.  Today, on this glorious first day of the New Year, put your spreadsheets back in the closet alongside that dusty old inventory of last year’s goals.  Bury them along with the ‘punitive’ and ‘never would work’ and slam that door shut.  And once you have, sit back and smile at the marvel that is your family, squeeze your lover’s hand, or simply delight in the way the morning light illuminates the landscape.

Take a breath, a sip of coffee and make your first commitment of the New Year.  Commit to make way for the positive.  Even for a day. For this day be willing to suspend judgement; silence your inner critic; muzzle the “A”.  Open your heart and mind and commit to the art of the possible.

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