Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.
Finally, after all the build-up and background theory, we have reached the section of Future Pull where you will create a compelling vision of the life you were meant to live. You’ll start by evaluating where you are now and where you want to go. Considering your current circumstances, where you are physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, gives you a starting point–a jumping off point.
You may even find that when you describe your vision of your ideal life—the one that is going to inspire you, fuel your drive, give you energy and pull you effortlessly toward it— and compare it to your current reality, that it’s not as far off as you think. You’ll be able to appreciate the great and the good in your life right now. Express gratitude for all your blessings and the doors of heaven open up and shower you with more.
In the next few days, you’ll look at your life as you live it now. You’ll identify and acknowledge the parts of your life now that you love and want to continue. You’ll identify the things that you want to change so that you can clear them, finish them, and get them out of your way. Then you’ll visualize the life you want to create, in detail, in all its glory. You’ll love that. I guarantee it.
Once you have a vision, you’ll create the clear intention statements that will lead you to it and a path to follow as you set out on your journey. You’ll create a map that will guide you as you as you step confidently in the direction of your dreams. Not a rigid timed route; you aren’t a train and you don’t have to be at the station on time. Remember, you’re co-creating your life with the Universe and the Universe doesn’t use earthly clocks.
This journey is meant to be one of self-discovery, adventure and celebration. It’s a bit like a puzzle; sometimes you have to figure out the clues, watch for signposts and be ready to choose between forks in the road. When you have a clear vision that fills you with excitement and joy, it will seem as though you can suddenly see signs that you wouldn’t have noticed before. You’ll find it easy to make unerring decisions about the right way to go.
So take the time to create a vision that lifts you up, fills you with excitement and passion and keeps you going even when you encounter the odd storm, the rocky road, the steep climb, or the just plain boring bit of hard slogging work. Then, whenever you need to, you can come back here and refresh yourself with the vision of the life of your dreams.
And remember….be brave! Look up and set your sights high! Dream big!
Tomorrow we begin the journey. One part of the book I left out of my blog was the introduction where I shared my own story. I want to include it now. Perhaps it will assure you that no matter where you are starting from, you can reach any destination you choose.
This is my story:
In 1981 I was a single mother; a high school dropout on welfare. Because I had an ‘interesting’ childhood — you know, the kind of ‘interesting’ that is intended in the Irish curse, “May you have an interesting life”—I was determined to give my son a better experience. I wanted him to have a stable childhood with friends he could keep for a lifetime, the opportunity to take part in sports and fun activities, a chance to finish school and the opportunity to become whatever he wanted to be.
I had gone to college as a mature student and, in spite of my conviction that I would never be able to compete with all those young high school graduates, I had graduated top of my class, winning the President’s Medal. But disappointingly, my career had floundered at first. My job paid less than welfare. I had to work a lot of evenings and I just couldn’t afford the day care. Life as a latchkey kid really wasn’t what I had envisioned for my son. Two years after graduation, I was unemployed with absolutely no income—none at all for a period of time. I sold my furniture to buy food. It was deeply disappointing. I thought I was destined for a life on welfare in spite of my good intentions and hard work. But I still had my dreams and I persevered.
Then things started to take completely unexpected turns. As I had always wanted to be a writer, I entered a writer’s contest sponsored by Chatelaine magazine. My entry had to be typewritten and I had no typewriter. I didn’t even have a bed at that point. The local business supply store rented them out for the princely sum of $15.00 for the month—a fortune. I remember what a big decision that was—typewriter or food? I’ve always been good at convincing myself of the value of doing what I really want to do, whether it makes sense or not, so I rented the typewriter.
I typed out my story and submitted it and then had a brilliant idea. What if I put a sign up at the university to type student papers for $1.00 per page? Perhaps I could earn back what I had spent on renting the typewriter. Student typing was a big business back in the days before computers. Problem was, I really wasn’t a very good typist and it was a basic typewriter without a self-correcting feature. No problem, I thought, I would use erasable paper.
My first customer was a forestry student with a seventy page essay—deadline Monday. It was Friday. That weekend there was a huge spring snowstorm. I sat on a hassock hunched over the coffee table day and night—as I said I wasn’t a very good typist—and pecked that thing out. When he picked it up and gave me $70 cash I couldn’t believe my good luck. I was rich! If we hadn’t been snowed in we would have gone out for dinner and to a movie to celebrate.
Then I thought “Wow! If I got a better typewriter, one that was self-correcting, and did just one paper a week, I’d be rich!” I did some basic business research. In other words, I called the business supply company to see how much it cost to rent a fancy model with all the bells and whistles. And without any further thought or planning, I started my business. Within days I was the proud renter of a fancy Mastertype for $65 a month. Very scary! That was a lot of money. In fact that was about a third of my rent. I put signs up at the university and college and waited for the business to roll in. Nothing! Nada!
Now that I know better, I’m aware that I should have carried out some basic market research. Then I would have known that university was over and except for some summer essays and possibly a late doctoral thesis, there wasn’t much call for student typists. Since then I’ve worked as a business consultant and taught small business start-up at the college, and I know that my story is a classic example of what not to do. But I’ve always enjoyed that old saying, “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”
I didn’t give up. I spent another $5–the constant outpouring of money was scary–and put an ad in the newspaper. I had a call! Someone wanted a resume typed. Of course I said yes, in spite of the fact that I had never had a resume and didn’t know anything about them. But that’s what we had libraries for, right? So I went to the library, took out every book on resumes and started working. It took me seven days to finish it and, because I used my $1 a page rate, I made $3. That obviously wasn’t going to work.
I picked a number out of the air that seemed fair and raised my price for a resume to $21. I put another ad in the paper saying that I specialized in resumes. Specialized meant that I had done one and that I had a pile of books on how to write them. I started getting calls and the resumes started coming in. It would literally take me up to a week to do one because I did so much research.
A year later I really was specializing in resumes and I was even getting some exposure as the local expert. I was being invited to speak to groups about how to write resumes. I had my package streamlined. I would interview clients—I called them clients by then, so much more professional—and then write and design unique resumes to suit their qualifications and career goals. I charged the exorbitant fee, in my mind, of $149. Wow! I really was rich! And I was a writer! And I had a bed!
By 1986, I had a flourishing business and I was starting to get enquiries to do training, not only on resume writing but on all things career-related. Of course, since I was skilled at ‘acting as if’, I never turned down an opportunity whether I knew anything about the subject or not. I would just say, “Sure. When is it?” and then work day and night to become an ‘expert’.
In the course of one of my marathon study sessions, I happened across a book called Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. That book literally changed my life! Years later, when I was a workshop presenter at NATCON, the National Consultation on Career Development, Barbara Sher was the keynote speaker and, because as a speaker I had the exciting privilege of relaxing in the speaker’s lounge, I met her and told her that her book had changed my life. Looking back, I just hope I didn’t gush and fawn like some star-struck teenager.
In Wishcraft, Barbara Sher suggested writing out a description of your ideal day. It was to be extremely detailed, in the first person and in the present tense. I tried it. You’ll get to try it too, later in the book. I wrote about three pages describing my perfect life, complete with little house of my own, an SUV and a German shepherd. In my perfect life I would be working for myself doing career counselling and I’d be fulfilled, happy and successful.
It was so much fun doing that first ideal day. I was a daydreamer anyway so this was right up my alley. I did more of them. I did ideal rainy days, ideal snowy days, ideal weekend days, ideal work days. And I read them over and over and refined them.
Then, out of the blue, I was asked to teach a life skills program for people on social assistance. By then welfare was just a bleak memory for me and I think I was seen as someone who could provide not only the information but a role model for the participants. I didn’t really know what a life skills program was, so as usual when I suddenly had to be an ‘expert’, I went to the library and took out every book I could find on the subject. This time my research didn’t help and after I showed up the first day with a completely inadequate plan, one of my new colleagues set me straight on what was included in ‘life skills’. It was all about helping the clients deal with the challenges of everyday life–communications, problem solving, and goal setting. I learned so much teaching that program and started to develop some practical sessions with real life applications.
As part of the program, just before New Years, I led the group in a full day session where they visualized and then wrote out and shared their ideal day. Everyone was so uplifted and motivated by the workshop that I made it an annual event for a few years. I felt like I had come home. I loved helping others to see their future and encouraging them to make changes.
At that point it was enjoyable and fulfilling work but I had no real evidence that it was changing people’s lives in any significant way. A couple of years went by and I continued working in the field but my fascination with ‘ideal days’ waned. The little file of ‘ideal days’ that I had been so faithfully reading was put aside and I didn’t create any new ones for a while. My son grew up and moved out and I was ready to make changes in my life. At the end of 1993, I was still living in the housing co-op where I had raised my son but when a friend offered to give me one of his German shepherd puppies I was forced to move. In that housing complex we were only allowed pets with a total of eight legs. Since I already had two cats I was over the leg limit and I had to choose—keep living in a police state situation or move on. I chose to buy a house.
As I was packing for my move, I found all those ideal days I had written and there was my present life, in extreme detail, written out in black and white!
I had the little house with a big fenced yard. I had a Chevy Blazer SUV. I had a German shepherd named Ruby. I was self employed doing career coaching and leading workshops. It was the life of my ‘ideal days’. The ideal day exercise had actually worked!
That day I began to understand the power of our dreams, the power of our thoughts. It was long before The Secret and it was considered pretty off-the-wall, so I didn’t really use it often in my career coaching or workshops unless I felt the people were open to the ideas I had. Occasionally I had a client that I could talk to about exciting new concepts like living an authentic life and visualization. That gave me the chance to explore new tools and exercises to help clients and workshop participants start changing their lives. From these people I collected stories that reinforced what I now knew to be true—that we have an amazing power to shape our reality and create the lives we dream of.
I had always daydreamed of becoming a writer. That’s what started this whole journey really. Now the daydream had coalesced into an intention to write a book that would pull together all that I had learned about how to cultivate and use our innate power as co-creators of our lives.
This book is my dream come true. It is the result of over twenty-five years of studying, experimenting and trying to live the life I was meant to live. It includes many of the tools and exercises that I’ve seen work for clients and that I’m sure will work for you.
Down the road, not too far in the future, when you are living your dream, living the life you were born to live, I hope you will contact me and tell me your story.
I look forward to it.