The Vision Thing

George H. W. Bush never got the vision thing, and neither did I.  All the self-improvement gurus like Covey stress the importance of “Begin with the end in mind.”  I just couldn’t seem to get a glimpse of what, if anything, my mind had in mind.

Moreover, glomming together a bunch of superlatives left me cold and unbelieving.

But at some point I tried.  And tried again.  And again.

Slowly a picture began to unfold.  Instead of asking myself what I wanted my whole life to look like, I began to ask myself what I would like just a small piece of it to look like:

  • What makes my life meaningful?
  • What do I want my family to be like?
  • What do I want my relationships with my friends and family to be like?
  • What kind of work and play do I enjoy?
  • How will I practice the ideals I value?
  • What do I want our home to look and feel like?
  • What kind of financial shape to I want to be in?

As I began to look at these smaller domains of my life, it became easier for me to describe an ideal of how I would like them to be.

But probably the most important thing I have learned about writing a vision is that it is an ongoing and never-ending process.  We change.  We grow and mature.  And as we do so will our visions.

So I review my vision nearly every day to remind myself of who I want to be and what I want my life to look like.  And if it dawns on me that the vision I’m reviewing no longer paints a picture of the life I want to live, then I revise it to paint one that does.

Your comments and questions are greatly appreciated!

My Keystone Habit

According to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, a keystone habit is one that is tied directly to lots of other habits in one’s life.  Change the keystone habit, and change your life.

I’ve determined my keystone habit to be my daily planning process.  When I do this every day, I generally get my practice done and keep the main thing the main thing.  When I don’t, the crosshairs of my focus gradually move from what’s important to me, to what’s urgently pressing upon me.  And my practice goes by the wayside.

So I’ve been working hard to make this planning ritual part of my morning coffee time every day:

  1. Review my vision.
  2. Review my goals.
  3. Review my project lists.
  4. Review my calendar.
  5. Review my tasks by domain.

You’ve probably seen a list like this before.  I sometimes think I’ve read every self-help book ever written, and you could find a list like this in one of Stephen Covey’s books, or say Dennis Waitley, or David Allen.

I have struggled with every item on the list.  My step-father was and is a successful business man and a great list maker.  He always kept his To Do list prominently in the middle of his desk.  He had a list for every day, for every job, for every work crew.  He was great at getting things done.

I resisted this key insight into successful living into my thirties, and by then it was a tough habit to learn.

Life would be so much easier if only we would learn from our parents.

Your comments and questions are welcomed and encouraged!