By Sharmadean Reid
hat your 2022 Vision Plan looks like will vary according to your lifestyle, personality, or how you best motivate yourself. The point is to start defining it. The Stack World Members get access to a full template of 48 Conversation Starters for your 2022 Vision Plan as well as a live workshop and writing space this Sunday, on January 23rd 2022. Members also get access to previous workshops in the On Demand Library. If you want to start designing your life, you can sign up for the session here.
(Become a Stack World member today and never miss out on events like this again!)
There’s no escaping having to do the work. Manifesting your future isn’t a next day delivery task.
Every year in January for the last five years in a row, I write a new Vision Plan and a new story about my life and shut my laptop, trusting that it will come to fruition. It almost always does. I raised funding for my business, I won several awards, I moved into my dream apartment, I conquered some trauma issues and above all, I feel really really good.
After writing my Vision Plan, I do a check-in after six months and use my birthday morning to review it. I don't keep checking it because when I know what I want, all of my conscious being works to make it happen. Yours can too.
Here are my six steps to completing a Vision Plan...
Understand you are making an order for your Future Self
Every single day, we make orders. Mini, and insignificant orders - like online shopping, your meal at a restaurant that day etc… but have you ever made an order to the universe? Have you ever had conviction over what you want? This is of course the most important order you're ever going to make - the one for your future self.
Almost every self help book spends a considerable amount of pages to get to the same root - ask and you shall receive. Making orders seems so simple right? But I believe there is much work to be done prior to the asking; primarily around knowing and understanding precisely what it is you want and the language around how we ask for it.
Question yourself constantly - do I like this? Does it make me feel good?
Somewhere inside, I believe you know what you want for your life, we just need to chip away at societal expectations to reveal it. Remember, you were born into a narrative that was prescribed for you, so consider this your opportunity to define and design your life exactly the way you want. Like any design process, it will go through iterations. You will keep evolving as long as you keep chipping away through a constant and self directed questioning. Be observant and present as you move through the world and you'll be collecting a ton of intel on what keeps you at optimum.
The work in the previous sessions has set forth in motion a process of self discovery. You've completed your Guide to Working with Me and you've outlined your Personal Vision, Mission and Principles. If you haven't completed the first sessions, they'll be in the On Demand Library.
Once completed, you should have collected so much data on yourself - your emotions, your mindset, your trauma, your environment, your triggers, and your attachment style - that you can keep questioning who you are and what you want, over and over again.
Use present and first person language
Writing a Vision Plan isn't simply about listing your goals. How do you step into the picture of what you've created in your mind, for yourself?
The brain sadly cannot tell the difference between truth and fiction. When we define our goals and visions with the words ‘will, should, could’ they sound like an absolute truth, something that is unchangeable and therefore sticks to our subconscious mind. This can be very limiting. Instead let's turn our visions into reality by using present language such as 'I am' 'Me or 'I'.
So a paragraph such as…
"Being authentic and aligned to the real version of ‘me’ and not trying to fit in or go along with others’ expectations of how I should be or act. This takes courage and will not always be comfortable to do because it requires stepping outside of the comfort zone or going against the grain but it's where peace and integrity can be found."
"I am authentic and aligned to the real version of me and I don't need to fit in or go along with others’ expectations of who they think I am. This requires courage and is not always comfortable for me because I am stepping outside of my comfort zone but I know for certain that it is where MY peace and integrity is found."
As my sis Beverly Knight said - Shoulda, woulda, coulda are the last words of a fool... One of the sessions I did in Hypnotherapy was around visualising a cinema screen of how my future life was. Over time, I was able to walk towards the screen and literally step into it, to feel it, to change my physiology to bring my vision to reality.
Define your state of Being, not your state of Doing
Your Vision Plan isn’t a list of proposed achievements. This is a story, written about the future but in the present tense, of how your life will look and feel. It can be difficult at first to know how you want to feel. That’s understandable, given that in the West, women and people of colour have been encouraged to suppress our emotions. But you can reach for what you want with storytelling. It’s important that your Vision Plan is a narrative story rather than a list as stories are how we learn and make sense of the world. A story of pure achievements would not make a good story. Bring the human element to your goals.
So for example, rather than saying…
“I want a £5 million house in Hampstead.”
You can say…
“I live in a big, beautiful house that makes me feel proud of my work and achievements. It is in an area of London that I love and is filled with my family and friends.”
This works especially well for relationships. I often see shopping lists of wants in a partner, ‘blue eyes’, ‘tall’, ‘own house’, etc, but since when has any meaningful relationship happened as a result of material goods?
My favourite Maya Angelou quote has always been: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So in your Vision Plan, try to write out how you want your partner to make you feel.
Don't worry about the hows, yet
When I work with Stack Members to help them create a Vision Plan, I often hear a lot of fear - "I can't write that I want to earn £100k. I only earned £30k last year..." but your Vision Plan has to be allowed to be completely bonkers, your imagination has to have free reign and you have to scare yourself a little for this work. As we mentioned in the previous step, you wouldn't list the number metric anyway - this isn't about SMART goals or OKRs - you would list the feeling and the outcome - of what 100k will get you or how it will support you (you might find that £70k will suffice to satisfy your feelings and £100k actually gives you more problems) either way, do not hold back on your Vision for yourself.
Whoever told you as a child that you couldn't do this or that, is no longer necessary. You are your own adult now, and I know you have the intelligence to figure out the How later (and if you don't, Google does). If you find your inner critic reminding you that you cannot do something, write it down on a separate sheet of paper or a post-it note so that it's off your mind, then go back to your main Vision Plan with your wonderful future. At the end of the session, burn the critic's notes. They don't serve you.
Stress Test It
What’s most crucial when it comes to your Vision Plan is stress testing it and experimenting with it. When I first wrote out all that I wanted for the next 10 years, I spent two months coming back to it, tweaking and reiterating based on my learnings. It’s only by doing so that I realised some of the life achievements I thought I wanted were well off the mark.
“I want to live in Jamaica.”
Hang on, I don’t want to be in Jamaica for more than three weeks at a time - I miss the work pace in London and I need cute winter outfits, so why do I think I want to live there permanently?!
Writing your Vision Plan isn’t a one-and-done task. Get curious about what you’re asking for. And why you’re asking for it. This can be a fluid, ongoing process that evolves over time. The first time you do this will take some practice, in the future you'll know your needs so well you'll jump straight to the How.
So in summary…
Find a time and space to write your Vision Plan.
Write it in the present tense, as though you have already achieved it.
Include personal relationships - these are the most important items on your list. They will be what drives your motivation when times get tough.
If you're stuck, go back to the feeling you would experience with that goal met.
Do not worry about how it's going to happen yet.
Periodically stress test your plan until it feels right for you.
Don't compare yourself to others' plans!
Keep your plan in mind at all times.
Burn the critic.
See you at the Vision Workshop!
You've got to put in the work to figure out what it is that want from life, only then can you begin to achieve it.
By Sharmadean Reid
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