This time last year I was working in advertising; stressed, despondent, knowing something needed to change but feeling lost about what choices to make. Feel familiar?
Oftentimes the hardest step in committing to change is knowing what path to take and what path is right for you and your happiness. Sometimes our goals are not clearly obvious. The answer, try writing a personal vision, but with a difference!
Conventional wisdom advises you to write a vision by thoughtfully working through a set list of recommended questions about where you want to be in five/ten years time. My challenge with this approach is that you’ll be thinking with your head (not your heart) and incorporating others’ expectations regarding your future.
Instead, try writing a vision using a free writing technique. This approach will allow your mind to vent desires and ambitions that perhaps may not surface through linear writing. It will better get to the ‘heart’ of what you want and what happiness means for you.
- Find five minutes in a quiet room.
- Take a blank piece of paper (physically holding the pen seems to work better than writing on a digital device), relax, and describe where you want to be in five years time. Bring it to life and include as much detail as you can to really set the scene.
- The trick is to not stop writing for the full five minutes. If you run out of steam, simply keep your pen moving and repeat one word until the words start flowing again. Or draw a picture. Do not take your pen from the paper and do not go back and edit spelling or grammar. It’s not important.
- When the five minutes is up, stop writing. Read back over your page and underline any elements that resonate strongly.
- You’ll want to repeat this technique over the coming weeks and compare and contrast for consistent themes and details. Your goals for a happier self will soon become apparent.
- You can then write one final version of your personal vision and outline the necessary steps to achieve your five-year goals.
By using this approach I discovered that moving to a new agency was not the solution. Instead, I needed to break out of the office environment and find a career interacting and supporting people. And the rest, as they say, is history!