Envisioning Your Future

Here is an interesting question for you: How can you “envision your future” if you are not a visual learner?

At a recent conference where the theme of “Creating Our Tomorrow” overlaid every keynote and breakout session, it became clear that creating a personal vision statement is a critical component to achieving success both personally and as an organization. If you can visualize your future you will have a better chance of achieving it. But, since a majority of the methods for creating a vision statement are based on actual visualization techniques, it was often difficult for auditory attendees (such as myself) to get good results from the processes. When asked to close my eyes and “picture the future I desired,” no matter how hard I tried I just could not create the requested Steven Spielberg-like production.

So then, how can you develop a personal vision statement if you are not a visual learner? As an auditory, you learn and retain information, not through pictures or images, but rather through the spoken word. Whenever you are asked to close your eyes and begin a visualization process, channel your attention instead into listening to your inner voice. Recording your thoughts on tape is another visioning method highly recommended for auditory learners. Use a micro-cassette recorder to capture your thoughts in a stream of consciousness process. Use the same criteria as you would in a visualization process by vividly describing your future while avoiding idealistic or vague statements. Be clear and concise in describing what you would be doing or accomplishing in your most successful state.

Play the tape back, and write out your key goals and expectations, making special note of any recurring themes.

As a tactual or kinesthetic learner, you may be even more challenged with the visioning process. For you, creating your future is linked directly to action. Writing, storytelling, brainstorming and collaborating with others in small groups will help you create your vision statement.

A vision statement should also be developed by using all five of one’s senses, filling it with as much detail as possible to bring it to life. Developing a vision statement empowers you to take responsibility for your life. We become more productive, focused, and hopeful as we realize that we have the capacity within ourselves to create professional and personal lives that are meaningful and fulfilled.

Creating an organizational vision statement:

As a leader/manager it is important to know that many of your employees do not relate to a standard vision statement at any level… individual or organizational. For non-visual employees, creating the future is often accomplished through direct involvement with others. They want dialogue and need it to clarify their thoughts. They will relate more to total involvement in the visioning (or any other planning) process through conversation, brainstorming, group meetings or phone and video conferencing.

To create a vision statement that really means something to everyone in the organization:

  • Work with as large and diverse a group as possible.
  • Use a variety of creative tools and processes to accommodate all of the learning styles (brainstorming, audio and videotaping, writing, visualization, storytelling, etc.).
  • Ask participants what the organization would be doing as well as what it would look like 5 years from now if it were wildly successful (put responses on post it notes).
  • Group responses into primary themes.
  • Determine which elements are “drivers” and which are the outcomes of other actions.
  • Finalize the wording by using powerful, simple language.

When the organization’s vision statement becomes a part of the culture and everyday conversation and language, you will know you have succeeded in creating your tomorrow today – for all of your employees.

To Your Success!

Jack Wolf

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