Do you know, absolutely know, what your future looks like?

Ok let me ask the question in another way let’s say you were reading this article 12 months from now, 3 years from now or say 10 years from now where do you think you will be.

Do you have a clearly defined answer to each of those time frames? Or is it a wishy washy hope, or worse an “I don’t know!”

If not why not?

Let’s face it none of us knows the answer to those questions as anything could happen right?

After all we could get run over by a car tomorrow or contract some sort of deadly disease that finishes us off in a blink of an eye!

No point in planning, as tomorrow we could be dead!

Crikey that’s not good!

Maybe there is a better way for us. Maybe we should get all biblical with this one. Hey, you have got to get your wisdom from somewhere and some of the “religious” books do offer us some occasional wisdom, I think that’s why they became popular in the first place.

OK so in Provers 29 it says words to the effect that “Without a Vision, The People Perish”.

Or to put it in plain old english “if you don’t know where you are going then you’re f**ked”

Think about it this way, if you were going on a journey normally you need two things, a starting point and a destination. That way you can plot a path to get you there.

You have a  point of origin and a point of destination. If you remove one of them, how easy do you think it is to get where you are going. Think about that for a second! Did you think about it? Then let us continue.

With the first one you have a point of origin, you know where you are, so you head off, but with no final destination you could end up anywhere. You would be zig zagging all the time hopefully ending up somewhere worthwhile. You know what, you may get somewhere good along the way, and hey the journey may be really enjoyable, that is definitely possible. The probability however, is that you would just end up lost and frustrated and have wasted so much time along the way.

Second option. You know where you want to get to but you don’t know where you are. So you want to get to Timbuktu but you don’t know where you are right now. So do you head north, south, east or west. Do you need a plane, a car, a bicycle, a boat or is it just around the corner and you can walk there? You just don’t know and if you set of in the wrong direction, as you don’t know were you are starting from then, your journey may be a very long and tedious one. Also like in the first option you may stumble upon it by accident. There is definitely that possibility.

The obvious thing in this situation is to go back to our original idea. Know where you are and know where you want to get to. Then you can draw a straight line between the two points. Or at least plan the quickest and shortest route!

So now we are starting to see why having a destination is such an important part of the equation in travel.

The same thing applies to us in our life, the time equivalent of a destination is a personal vision. Knowing what we want from life and how we want our life to look in the future.

If we just wing it with our life then we could just end up anywhere, thrown about on the ebb and flow of the tide of life. Hey we may end up somewhere good and we may not. But I want to ask you a question. Do you think that is a good strategy for your life? Do you think you might have a better time of it if you knew where you wanted to end up, and you knew what you had to do in order to get there?

Well, who knows! There are no guarantees, but the thing is I would suggest you stand a much better chance of getting somewhere that you want to get to, if you know where that place is.

There is a second thing that you need as with our travel analogy. You need a starting point!

In “The Art Of War” Sun Tsu tells us to know your enemies and to know yourself!

Our point of origin, is the second part of the statement “know your self”. This means if you know where you want to get to, firstly, you have to self evaluate the person you are right now. You will need to know all of your strengths and weaknesses, you will need to be completely honest with yourself and who you are.

Then and only then will you know the person you will need to become in order to get to where you want to go.

So here is what you need to take away from this article today. You need to start to develop a personal vision for yourself. Start small, start thinking about where you want to be one month from now, then start to expand it out six months, a year. Then start going for the big numbers 3 years, 5, then push it out to 10 and 20 then all the way to the end.

Take some time today just to start playing with the idea, then when you have some ideas and you realise just how fun this can be, devote some time to some serious thinking about where you want to get to. What your hopes and dreams are, what a perfect life looks like for you.

OK there is also a hard part, you also have to turn a pointing finger back at yourself and really make an honest analysis of yourself. This can be really hard. We as humans are incredibly good at self deception but take the time to do this. An easy way to start is to write down a list of what you are good at, all your strengths. Once that list is long enough it makes the shortfalls that little bit easier to list. Don’t worry if the shortfalls list is longer than the strengths list. You are just looking for a starting point. Once you have that then you can begin your journey.

Do this please, you will find the process incredibly rewarding and will give you immense personal clarity.

I will talk at length in another article about the second part of getting to where you want to go to. That deals with having a strategy. But that is for another time. For now take the time to give this gift to yourself.

Go create your Vision and your Starting Point!

Until next time.