Any endeavor—whether a business venture,
a group effort, or a personal quest—gets its power from inner vision.
What’s inner vision? It’s the overall direction your life is moving. It’s NOT a destination, but a direction, because as long as you’re alive, you’re never finished. As soon as one leg of your ride is completed, another one opens up before your feet. Your inner vision is what gives context to the ride—it’s the reason behind each step you take.
Vision gives you a deeper reason for doing what you do. It adds meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. When something goes wrong, inner vision can keep you from giving up, because you’re more committed to the journey than to the outcome of any one endeavor. And when things go right, when something happens that “clicks” with your inner vision, you get excited: “Yes! That’s why I’m here!”
The raw ingredients of inner vision are values, desires, and talents. But these ingredients alone are inert. Your inner vision only becomes activated when your values, desires, and talents fulfill a need. Your dreams graduate to inner vision status the day you put them into service for others.
1. Your Values Drive Your Vision
A powerful inner vision comes from your deepest-held values – even the ones you might not realize, or admit that you hold. Values begin developing in childhood and continue to be shaped by culture, family and experience.
Values are different from principles. Principles are laws of human interaction— honesty, integrity, commitment, and the like; values are the things that are important to you—your beliefs, passions, priorities, causes, and so forth. Values can change—principles don’t.
- Explore your personal values. Write them down as they occur to you. Right off the bat, I’m sure you can name a dozen of your most cherished values. But even the most self-actualized person is always probing to discover what she values. Identifying values is an ongoing process because values can change, and because their influence can be so subtle that we may not realize for quite a while that they’re affecting us. Or we may not be able to identify them accurately until some experience brings them to light.
- Look closely at your failures. Often, you’ll find that your worst mistakes happened because you failed to adhere to your own values. Examining your values now may even help you avoid future mistakes.
- Develop a system for checking in with your values. Make it a regular habit and schedule it. Write them down; post them in your work and living spaces. It’s very helpful to put your values in writing. The written word gives them power.
Your values alone may not suggest a specific direction, but they’ll certainly put you in the right neighborhood. As you work through potential applications for your life, you can check them against what you value most and know instantly whether or not a given direction serves your inner vision.
2. Your Desires: What Are You Burning to Do?
What do you yearn for? What were you built to do?
Desire is a powerful obstacle-breaker. It can motivate us to break through seemingly insurmountable problems. Desire creates an impulse to move, to pursue.
Something happens when you begin to move toward what you love most. There’s magic in that impulse—and in the movement itself. You can dream about it all you want, you can lust for it for years, but the universe doesn’t change until you take that first step toward what you want most. Henry David Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Once we give in to the urge to go after what we desire, the laws of the universe begin working in our favor. Once we’re in motion, it almost becomes harder for us to stop moving toward our goal than for us to achieve it.
3. Your Talents: Where Do You Shine?
What are you good at? What natural strengths do you have? The happiest people know how to put their strengths to use.
Your greatest odds of success lie along the path that utilizes what comes naturally—particularly in the beginning. But don’t limit yourself to choosing only those things that you have a knack for—if there’s a skill or learning method that you need in order to fulfill your inner vision, you can acquire it.
If you start off recognizing the areas where you’re strong, and shape your inner vision initially from these points of strength, then discover and develop new talents as needed, you’re starting your journey to success with your best foot forward.
4. SUCCESS! When Your Values, Desires, and Talents Meet a Need
Look at the combined “big picture” of your values, desires, and talents, and ask yourself who could benefit from what you have to offer. What problem could you fix, what wound could you heal, what gap could you fill with what’s inside you? The real alchemy happens when you discover that the world has a need for exactly your combination of gifts!
About the Author:
Adapted from Quantum Success by Bobbi DePorter, president of Quantum Learning Network (QLN) and cofounder of SuperCamp. QLN produces programs for students, educators, parents and business people across the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.QLN.com or email info@QLN.com.