Developing Your Unique Vision for Life

Why was I born? What am I here for? How can I find a better road to walk? Will I ever get unstuck? Where should I go next?

Nagging questions such as these no longer nag when you have a personal vision for your life. Sadly, most people lack that sort of clarity. Such clarity brings fulfillment and direction. It is a pearl worth finding. However, it is hard to find it alone. Many people find that a Life Coach helps catalyze the process and is worth far more than the expense. A good Life Coach is a specialist in helping persons being coached find a true vision for life within themselves and their environment.

Some emerging science suggests that a group of cells about the size of your little finger at the base of your brain stem called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) serves as an administrative assistant to decide what should come across your mental desk. For example, this is the part of your brain that makes you notice every time you see the kind of car you want to buy. On the road, it seems like everyone is driving one of those. Your vision for your life has to become like that so that you will notice what needs to be noticed to keep you headed in the right direction.

You must sort things out if you are still fuzzy about what you want out of life. You can retrain your Reticular Activating System, which is part of your subconscious mind, to serve you better if you tell it what you want it to notice and bring to the attention of your conscious mind. To achieve that, you must force yourself to think things through consciously. Once you have a clear picture of your preferred future, you can teach yourself to see things so that the information you need comes to you much more automatically.

This is a challenging process. You have habits, and your RAS has been trained to work a certain way. It is your job to retrain your brain. It would be best to become more aware of the world of your past and present so that you can direct your affairs toward the world of your future. It helps to review some of the things you need to face in this journey of self-discovery.

Here are some factors you must consider to clarify a purposeful direction for the next phase of your life.

5 Pressure Points of Vision

There is no shortcut to developing a clear picture of “what you want to be when you grow up.” Vision may be best articulated in a set of words. However, producing concise words won’t create a real vision. To enter the realm of vision development is to expose yourself to various inevitable pressures. The focused vision behind the statement is where the real work resides.


Change generates stress. Sometimes the stress is positive, and sometimes negative. The fear that stress might reduce the meager comfort life affords causes some to wince at change. However, vision always implies that changes are needed. From the vision perspective, the present may not be bad, but it is not what it could be. Therefore, changes must be made. Most adults have undergone many life changes that did not work out as well as expected. Since hopes and dreams were dashed in the past, adopting another change for the future can be daunting. You know that you will change. The question is whether or not you will change because circumstances force that change in what appears to be an untimely manner or, as the only alternative, you will take charge of the changes proactively before the inevitable occurs. The tricky part is that some develop a pattern of taking control of change. Still, in reality, they are simply running away from commitments gone amuck or the anticipation of uncomfortable circumstances if they don’t run. Thus, the multiple changes become the enemy of productive changes.


The definition of success varies from place to place and person to person. But the definition of success for the one with vision never is in the circle circumscribed by what is. Every person’s life is lived in the now and the real. That is what it is; you can draw a circle around it. Vision always presupposes that something more, greater, or higher is possible – indeed necessary. And that something is always outside of the circle of what is. Vision always operates outside the circle of what is. Vision generates a certain discontent with the size of the circle. Vision always draws a giant circle and seeks to fill that new circle with additional good things. It is not wrong to feel discontentment in areas you can change and intend to improve. Having a long complaint list with things you aren’t prepared to do something about is one thing. It is quite another thing to have a list of things you are disgusted by and are willing to make a complete attempt to change. There is contentment in looking back at the things in the circle that are already settled and accomplished. That sense of accomplishment causes some people to rest. However, when vision raises its head, the contentment turns to restlessness to occupy more territory and draw a bigger circle. Others may wish you would relax and enjoy the territory already conquered. And you may try to do that. But if you are sensitive to the inner you, you will uncover the urge to move forward.


Drawing up some dreams is relatively easy. Staying with the process to turn that dream into reality is complex. Nothing is as easy as it should be. It is not unchecked pessimism to expect there to be obstacles. Finding a way around, over, or through the apparent barriers is where true vision sets itself apart from mere dreaming. Persistence and adaptation must become your friends as you sharpen your vision focus. Consistent action towards the vision is essential. Witness an animal routing around to find food; that action could appear erratic to the outside world, but to that animal, it is very directed and specific even when it is ill-informed about where to find the food. You might notice the animal going over the same unfruitful territory repeatedly. That is a metaphor for humanity. We are all hungry in some way, and if we consistently look, we are much more likely to find the food. And, of course, if the search is more efficiently conducted, we are more likely to find the food faster.


When a new level is reached in fulfilling your vision, people often remark, “My, you must have worked hard at that!” More often than not, they have no idea how hard. True vision comes at some cost. Appropriate costs involve effort, risk, hours, and money. Inappropriate costs might include broken relationships, unwise financial commitments, or diminished physical health. There can be no substitute for the work necessary to turn vision into reality. Creating and implementing vision isn’t a nine-to-five job with half-hour coffee breaks and two-hour lunches. Time must be managed carefully. Time is the great equalizer. We all have it dispensed to us at a constant rate until the day we die. What we do with it is the issue. To realize a bigger vision, the least helpful time consumers must be set aside. Entertainment seldom contributes much to vision. Relaxation times must be measured out. There must be sacrifice or, at least, deferred gratification applied to the use of money. One cost of great vision is the development of the brain. Learning to concentrate better and focus on the challenges without giving up is a real cost.


Vision must always be shaped appropriately to the needs and limits of the context. A vision that might be appropriate in one place, time, or culture may need to be in sync with the needs of the present context. The failure of a vision almost always has its seeds of failure in an incomplete understanding of the context. Let’s see if we can make that more understandable. For example, a simple aspect of the context is the size of the potential realm of influence. Suppose you decide to “sell ice to Eskimos.” Your context is wrong. But selling ice cubes on a beach might represent a great opportunity. It isn’t about the ice; it is all about the context. When the potential is unavailable, the vision must be rescaled to fit or retooled completely. Proper digging and research are very necessary. Naivety is the seedbed of many failures.

3 Forces that Shape Your Vision

A person is a complex organism. Everyone has various roles, interests, and stages in their life. No one has a perfect environment in which to operate, so there are inhibiting factors provided by other people and life circumstances. The most significant dynamic force in a person is or can be the Living God, the breathing Holy Spirit, and the personality of Jesus Christ. So much is expressed in the human components that must be understood and managed in a world full of pressures and obligations. Here are three key components.


Everyone starts with some form of heritage. The stronger the sense of heritage, the more one developing vision must consider, employ, and work within or around a complex system of heritage components. Family and cultural components create fences that are sometimes useful and, at other times, limiting. We tend to believe as others believe until we think through which parts make sense and which need adjustment. And then, when we find that our thinking and belief move away from our heritage, we risk being shunned or misunderstood if we declare the difference. But to do something new, we must do something different. Anything that differs from the norm opens one up to rejection and misunderstanding. This is a complex part of developing a personal vision that needs to be carefully examined. It is almost impossible to conduct this examination alone. And it is advantageous to sharpen your mind with someone who can help you parse your situation more thoroughly.


Vision must be expressed through leadership. And you must be the leader for you. It helps to have a strong group of cheerleaders around you. But often, you must take the risk to stretch out and start in a direction without knowing how many others will support you. This is where the confidential relationship with a good Life Coach helps immensely as you express your ideas out loud in a relationship where the Coach is focused on you. You are the center of concern for a change. That truly helps. And then, as you put your vision into words more publicly, you will have to evaluate the responses of others who hesitate. Your Coach will be there to help you reflect. As you consider the people around you, you will agree, perhaps reluctantly, that sometimes others can see flaws you cannot see. Sometimes, others don’t want to watch you get hurt chasing your dream. Sometimes, others are just flat wrong. But in the end, you must show leadership and figure it out for yourself. A good Coach will help you, but it is your life to lead. It may not be your fault that you got to where you are now. But it is your fault if you don’t set your sights on where to go.


In this context, the word constituents means everyone in your life. As a politician represents constituents and must relate to them, you must relate to many people in your life. You need their votes. You can only fulfill the vision of your own life with others to back you. They all have a voice to be reckoned with. While from one perspective, it may be true that one voice is only one voice, it is also true that each voice has a different level of impact. Listening to and understanding the various voices and the meaning and strength of multiple messages is essential to crafting a vision that will inspire participation. It is unlikely that your vision will reach anywhere near its potential if you do not have others who back your vision in tangible ways.

4 Systematic Techniques to Capture Vision

Some people ooze vision. Most of us don’t. And yet, at some level, everyone must operate in the realm of vision regardless of personal gifts and leanings. Even a very ordinary leader can articulate vision at an acceptable level if the effort is made to learn visioning skills.

Study Multiple Models

Perhaps the best way to generate vision is to borrow power from someone else’s generator. Some of it will rub off if you study visionary people long enough and explore potential models often enough. However, depth of conviction only comes when one has looked at many alternatives. It may be that your personal vision will rhyme with a favorite mentor. Ultimately, you will strengthen your viewpoint if you, with an open mind, also study conflicting alternatives and the evidence used to support them. It is unwise to read material that reinforces your current thinking. Extend your mental reach beyond your field. See what you can learn from those with whom you vehemently disagree. Don’t just get angry when you read; find the concepts worth further consideration.

Learn From Your Detractors

You will always have people around you who do not entirely agree with you. It is more comfortable to ignore those voices, favouring those with enthusiastic responses to your ideas. As uncomfortable as it might be, there is nothing wrong with asking a question that starts with a phrase such as “What would be wrong with …” Once the question is asked, don’t impoverish the potential of learning something by correcting the respondent’s perspective in the first sentence. One of the difficult things is that detractors, entitled to their own opinions, often also invent their own “facts” to support the opinion. It takes patience to sift through the material to find the lessons. But the lessons are worth the price.

Gather Information

Vision seldom rises in a vacuum. Talk to people. Ask questions. Read about your community, country, and the world. Visit in the halls of your schools. Eavesdrop on conversations in the mall. Watch the people on the bus. Analyze the TV programs everyone is talking about. Listen to the words of the music people are buying. Watch for the things that get you upset because they are hurting people. Identify the things that need fixing that too few people notice. Your personal vision usually rises out of something that needs attention, and you know it. As you gather more information, you will probably notice how little the world is paying attention to the need your RAS has been trained to bring to your attention. The information you gather will force you to lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Cross Discipline Learning

Get out of the box. When you visit a bookstore, don’t just drift to the same section. It won’t hurt to watch some educational program on some obscure channel. When you read a book on business, don’t just figure out where the writer is wrong; ask yourself how you can translate and sanctify the concepts and use them in your life. Sometimes, the most significant visionary ideas come from simply moving a concept from one discipline into another. Adjust the premises and vocabulary, and presto! A new vision arises.

7 Major Pitfalls That Shred Vision Potential

Vision is hard to come by. It is easy to talk about. Seldom does it rise up in a spontaneous swoosh. Usually, there is a period of musing, praying, comparing, dreaming, and researching that precedes and permeates the evolution of vision with a clear focus. During that period, there are many things to ponder, which can ruin the process. Here are seven significant issues that disconnect vision from reality.

Returning to Past Successes or Failures

It is imperative that you build on the strengths and lessons of the past. However, if one is bent on examining the past without the clear intent to project a new vision for the future, vision development is radically short-changed. Just because the idea got rave reviews over there or back then doesn’t mean all you have to do is stick it in the photocopier and pass it out here and now. On the other hand, there were probably some things worth keeping in mind that were a dismal failure. The key is to shake yourself free from the positive or negative emotions about the past and carve out a path for the future based on the facts of today and tomorrow.

Confusing Comfort and Conscience

Some ideas leave you flat because you don’t like them. They seem different and do not pass your eardrums, making pleasant music in your brain. It gets complicated when an idea is uncomfortable. You need to figure out why. Sometimes, that analysis will uncover important deficiencies. At other times, the idea will seem to violate your conscience. When you look back at everything you collectively avoided to keep a clear conscience, sometimes you realize you drove stakes in the ground at the wrong places. You, or perhaps your parents, were sincere. But you made poor choices based on the violation of your sub-cultural comfort zone and just called it a violation of conscience. It is easier to see that tendency in hindsight; it is much more challenging to know the difference looking forward. As a vision developer, you must always work sensitively to discern the difference between what you find comfortable and what your consciences tell you.

Confusing Personal Preference with Spirit Leading

The will of God is pleasing, acceptable, and perfect. Living it is our quest. But not everything pleasing and acceptable is God’s expressed will. Sincere people who generate exciting ideas have made many mistakes. Just because an idea captures the imagination of many does not prove that, in fact, God is in it. The subtly of your preferences may cause you to mistake your natural enthusiasm for the prompting of God the Holy Spirit.

Too Much Effort Dreaming and Not Enough Executing

Maintenance-oriented people often denigrate the value of pondering the future, which is full of great ideas. They need help to see what the great vision has to do with reality. They have a point. It is critical to balance the need for a clear vision with practical concerns to keep things rolling in a positive direction. The magnetic power of vision is designed to draw you toward that vision through action steps. But when the visionary gets too far ahead of the other people in the mix or the practical responsibilities of day-to-day living, the magnet moves ahead beyond its range.

Too Much Effort Executing and Not Enough Dreaming

Daily tasks fill the time available automatically. If time is not allocated to polishing the dream for your future, the dream can become so tarnished that it is lost in the demands of detail life creates for you. There is a delicate balance that must be sought. Admittedly, it isn’t easy to achieve. The vision must be clearly held in view while, at the same time, the necessary details of life managed with integrity. Many times, a person with a great vision loses the gleam because the requirements of the day press in. Simply put, at such times, it is time to eliminate, delegate, automate, or hesitate. That in itself is part of vision management.

Changing Direction Too Soon

As a vision develops and unfolds, it is easy to mistake a bend in the road for a ditch. One cannot give up too soon. The best visions often take longer than expected to come to fruition. Without a doubt, there comes a time to abandon some ideas. However, pondering things from the vantage point of elapsed time, many visionary people will tell you about the great concept they gave up on too soon. Sometimes, weeks seem like years when you are looking ahead. But then sometimes years seem like weeks when you are looking back. The viewpoint looking back is the permanent one. Always try to imagine what life will look like from the future looking back if you abandon or change the vision too soon.

5 Key Results of Visionary Living

Is it worth it to raise one’s head out of the foxhole and declare a vision in broad view? That is the great risk. But the most significant risk is not taking any risks. There is great reward in mustering all the vision you can. If you yearn for results because your faith and understanding of the will of God demand it, you have no choice. You must state your vision. And you must drive that vision home.

Synergy of Action

Sporting events capture the imagination and the entertainment dollar. The factor that distinguishes every winning team is not as much the individual players’ skill as the way they interrelate with clearly defined roles and timing. It is the same in life; when the vision is clear, a more excellent drawing together as a team forms. That further leads to satisfaction. With vision before them, vision-led people work harder and feel like they are working less. The satisfaction draws out the increased effort. As you reflect on your life to date, you will observe that you have worked much harder on the things you believe in than on the things that have been imposed on you. And at the time of great effort and its attendant frustrations and pains, you might not have realized the satisfaction you were creating. But now you do. Imagine the joy of the future as you look back on even greater focused energy applied to a clear vision.


When a greater proportion of the energy is applied in the same direction, unity grows among family and friends alike. The majestic sound of a great choir with every voice in tune only happens when there is an implicit agreement to sing the music as written and follow the leader’s direction. The leader enjoys leading, and the choir members enjoy following. Vision is like that. A pleasing blend of leading and following is only possible if the vision is clear. Sometimes, your vision will call for you to take a significant and perhaps not visible supporting role. There may be times when you are the one out in front of the group. This could even be an unsought but fulfilling surprise.


Time is often wasted when people don’t know what to do and how to apply the limited resources to the task. In fact, all forms of resource allocation are not nearly as contentious issues when there is a prior agreement about the desired end results. Time is your currency of greatest value. Don’t merely let the clock tick away because you can’t figure out what to do. Do something of value even when the total vision for life is unclear.


There is always a variety of tensions whenever people are asked to work together. They approach life differently, and that is a seedbed of tension. It takes some time to develop even a basic understanding of both the demands of the task and the expectations of the relationships. Well-articulated vision is like a lubricant to relationships. It makes it easier to enjoy working together when everyone shares the same view of the desired results. In the family unit, if the direction of life is not totally clear to all, sometimes a pause is necessary. Sometimes, the articulation of vision must be suspended for a season. Work on the one out of ten things you can do something about rather than focus on the nine in ten things that deter you.

Spiritual Development

When people work together in a pleasing set of relationships, the atmosphere is ripe for the informal but significant mutual edification every person needs. That is the two-way relationship the Bible discusses in the term “one another.” Family life blossoms. Deeper friendships build. When people have the proper support, counselling demands are radically diminished. When the collective experience is vision-driven, there is meaning, purpose, and, more often than not, tangible results. Other less visionizing people will take courage from your example.

Some sources tell you that anything you can dream can become a reality. For example, Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” That theory is exhilarating on the surface but highly suspect upon more profound reflection. Walt left us with some pretty substantial stuff on this planet, even if he could have been more precise in his wording.

One thing is certain: if you cannot find the courage to articulate and believe in a preferred and bigger future for life, you are far less likely to put in the work required to get to your personal Disney World. And if you put in the effort, you can certainly come closer to a greater dream than you will without believing in intense effort. When you work hard on your vision, you might be amazed at how “lucky” you get!