Vision – can you see your future?
I referred to Vision in my initial Age Life Balance intro as well as again in my Mind intro. I’m returning to this topic as my first Mind topic as I believe it is really important to help set the scene. In the words of Stephen R Covey, author of the famous “Seven Habits of Effective People”, we need to “begin with the end in mind (habit 2)”. This seems particularly pertinent with our focus on ageing!
Importance of goals
As I mentioned before, it’s important to know where you’re heading else it will be very difficult to get there and impossible to know if you reach it. You may already know these quotes:
“You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?” Oscar Hammerstein II.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” paraphrases a dialogue between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Different types of goals
I’ve been using the terms fairly loosely, but there are actually different types of goals and a kind of hierarchy. I love these definitions I found on Joy Compass:
- Vision – is your aspiration for your life and the world
- Mission – is how YOU can help fulfill this aspiration
- Goals – are end results that you want to achieve
- Objectives – are sub goals with measurable outcomes that are expected to get you to your goals
- Activities/Tasks – are actions you take to support your goals and objectives
Context of growing old
Some people, including a few of my WOW interviewees, appear to be (and believe that they are) ageing successfully almost by chance or luck rather than by design. I believe, however, that many of their life choices have contributed to this too. But, what if it were possible to consciously take positive action to improve our chances of ageing successfully, whatever our definition of successful ageing might be? I confess, that’s my intention – I’d rather not leave it to chance if I can do something to influence it.
Those that know
Now, some of us may already know where we’re going, or at least where we want to go. This is great news and can be applied to ageing as well as in other parts of our lives. In the context of growing older, we may imagine how we want to be as an older person, or what we want to do and places to go either in retirement, or as part of our bucket lists.
We may already have an idea, based on our parents or other older friends and relatives from how they live(d) or things that they get/got up to. Alternatively, it may be something we’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t yet found the time or the opportunity. It’s probably worth taking the time to reflect on this and to decide what it is that we really want. This can be very personal, and can also be quite complex and multi-layered.
Capture your dreams
I recommend trying to capture these dreams in some way, either articulating them, writing them down, drawing a picture, or collecting some pictures or artefacts that represent our goals. This is a good way of reinforcing it in our own minds as well as being easier to share with others to become more ‘accountable’ for making it happen.
It’s probably also advisable to discuss with others near and dear to understand whether our dreams and desires are compatible, or at the very least complimentary. If not, we may need to refine them or agree to compromise. Don’t let go of your dreams completely though…
For those that don’t know
For those that don’t already know where you’re heading (or even where to start), that’s OK too. I have a few ideas below that might assist.
- Think about what you enjoy doing today and why. Think about how long you’d like to continue doing those things. Do you see any challenges or risks? Is there anything that you could do to mitigate these? Are there any alternatives that you could adopt as you grow older?
- Think about your current life. Is there anything that you’d like to do today that you feel that you just don’t have the time, energy, resources to do? Is this something that may be possible as you get older? Is this something that becomes less likely as you grow older? Is there anything that you could do sooner to access this?
- Think about inspirational older people you know. When you look at them, what do you feel? Is it something they do that is inspirational? Is it how they look and act? Is there anything that you could learn from them?
Sometimes you need to take the time to really reflect on such things as it’s not always easy to do this when you’re caught up with the ‘here and now’. Sometimes you need to plant the seed and let your sub-conscious take over. Sometimes you just need to give yourself ‘permission to dream’ a little.
What if you’re still stuck?
What if you’ve tried the exercises above still don’t know where you want to aim for? I have some other tools and techniques that may help:
Talk things through with friends, family or other like-minded people.
Visualisation – try to imagine yourself as an older person. If this doesn’t come easily, think about your parents or grandparents. Are there similarities between you and your lives? Could this be how you will age?
Walk in nature – I get most of my inspiration in the rare times I’m alone and at peace. Walking in the countryside, or a park, surrounded by nature in some way, with no other stimulation, helps to open my mind.
Time out – anything that helps to draw out the creative side of you
Coaching – Coaching is about enabling individuals to make conscious decisions and empowering them to become leaders in their own lives” (Wise 2010)
By the way, I’m currently training to be a coach, so if you’d like some assistance in this area, I’d be happy to help out.
N.B. you can use any of the tools and techniques I’ve shared today for other topics which are not age related.
My own goals
In terms of my own dreams of growing older, I shared these with you in my Age Life Balance intro. Whilst I can visualise what I want and I tried to articulate it to share it with you, I feel this is still a little fluid. The more I reflect though, the more I explore possibilities and see how I might realise my dreams.
I also have a Vision Board which is a visual representation of some of the other more medium-term goals that I am working towards.
I have also articulated my Vision & Mission Statement in relation to my blog, to help you to understand more what I am trying to do.
I actually use these tools in combination to help motivate me and to keep me focused on what’s important to me. Sharing with others also keeps me accountable.
Anyone for sharing?
I hope that I’ve inspired you a little to think about your own future. I’d love to hear more about your dreams and aspirations. You never know, you may end up inspiring others too, if you aren’t already.
Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.