I (Diana) love making a vision board every year around this time. And as we start the new year, many leaders have their minds on what they’d like to change in the year to come.
We believe visioning is a key leadership skill. See the change formula. Simply put, to make a change, vision and dissatisfaction (plus first steps) must be greater than our resistance. Most often, leaders wait until their dissatisfaction amps up to an unbearable level before they overcome their resistance to change. Many of us lean lazy on the visioning side of the equation. We think that’s a mistake.
Conscious leaders know they can create change with a clear vision. They practice until they’re visioning masters.
Here’s what that can look like.
We recognize two types of visioning; both are valuable. “By Me” visioning comes from the understanding that “I make life happen.” It’s about asking what do I, as a creator, want for my life?
This kind of visioning is fairly common, both with organizations and coaching. We see three important ways that leaders can make this type of visioning even more powerful.
Your vision needs to light you up from the inside. If you’re not lit, you’re not going to be motivated to make it happen. A powerful vision should come from your head, heart, and gut. Look for an embodied excitement that you can feel from head to toe.. We call a vision like this a Whole Body Vision.
Expand your vision so it makes you blush. Leaders don’t often push on the “blushy” visions. The result is that their vision aren’t inspiring enough to overcome resistance. Ideally, if you told somebody about your vision, you’d feel a little shy because it sounds so big. A compelling vision is one that a part of you thinks you might have a chance to make happen, and that motivates you because it would feel so ecstatically wonderful.
Another way we see leaders get stuck when visioning is when parts of themselves are at war with each other. The best visions integrate not just head, heart, and gut, but the desires of whatever personas have an opinion on the matter.
For example, a year ago I was creating a vision of where my next home was going to be. As I kept making excuses for not acting on my vision, I noticed a mounting anxiety.
When I took responsibility for the gap between what I said I was committed to (finding a new home) and the results I was creating (not finding one), I began to notice that different parts of me were scared that their needs wouldn’t be met.
I journaled to get to know the different personas. I named each of them and inquired about their needs. Here’s what I discovered:
Once I was able to see each persona and understand their needs, I was able to open to the idea of creating a Win-For-All among my own different parts. “The place we’re moving to has to have all the things ALL of you want,” I told them. I spent more time journaling, using the other tips above, to create a long list of what my Persona Win For All would look like. By listening to all my parts, I was able to place an even better order with the cosmic waitress.
Now that my vision was aligned with all the needs, it made it really easy to stand for and I was able to go full steam ahead. Just a few months later, we closed on the perfect house — for all my parts.
The other type of visioning we encourage conscious leaders and teams to practice is “Through Me” visioning. This type of visioning comes from the thought, “I cooperate with life happening.” It’s a surrendered practice of listening to something greater than yourself. If “By Me” visioning can help with your career, “Through Me” visioning can lead you to your calling.
Doing this kind of visioning requires you to get quiet to help the mind settle down so you can hear inspiration from outside yourself. These visions can be extremely motivating, because we feel in aligned service to something greater. They create more of a calling we’re pulled toward, as opposed to generating the motivation to make something happen.
We use Michael Beckwith’s visioning questions (see a video version here) when practicing this kind of visioning. Start in a meditative state. Let yourself come into presence, and drop into feeling sensations in the body. Allow yourself to sit in an open space with an intention that you’re going to hear, feel, or see something that gives you clarity or guidance on where you’re called to go.
It’s also really fun to Through Me vision as a group. Years ago, the leadership team of a South Carolina hospital did this exercise with CLG co-founder Jim Dethmer. What emerged was a vision to create a medical school. As surprising a move as that seemed, they realized it would align with what life was asking of them. Within two years, they had built their school.
Ready to try it with your team?
Do the exercise in silence first, then share with each other what you experienced. It’s especially exciting when people’s answers overlap.
Ready for next level visioning? Listen to this guided audio exercise to create an exquisite, Whole Body Vision for yourself.