What’s Driving Your Vision? Anxiety or Imagination by Rochelle Melander
December 22, 2015
Note From Rochelle
Last week was…well…challenging. The links I sent for the new ebook were broken, the subscription forms on my new website weren’t working, and as a result, I had to scrap my advertising plans. It’s tempting to act out of our anxiety and rush to fix. Instead, it can be helpful to wait until we’re in a better place—or at lease a different place—to make any decisions. Today’s tip talks about just that: how to vision out of aspiration instead of anxiety.
I’m taking a few weeks off from work to read and write and spend time with my family. I’ll be back in the office on January 5, 2016.
Finally, if you haven’t had a chance to download the new ebook, Write Your Book This Year: Three Shifts to Success, it’s available to anyone who signs up for the weekly Write Now! Tips.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Albert Einstein said,
Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them.
Earlier this fall, I made a business decision out of fear. That decision led to extra work and worry—and meant that I didn’t achieve some of my other goals.
In the middle of that time, a friend shared with me a piece of wisdom she’d heard at a leadership seminar:
If we’re going to create change, we need to lead out of our imagination instead of our memory.
When we vision from our memory, we set goals that serve the past. When we vision from our fear, we create a vision that calms our anxiety in the moment, but it won’t serve us well in the future. Sometimes, the anxiety is there to tell us we’re onto something big. It’s saying, GO! But we hear it as, NO! STOP! BEWARE!
So, how do we vision from our imagination?
When I was a kid, I’d spend New Year’s Eve writing a letter to my future self. I imagined what I would accomplish in the coming year, wrote it down and sealed it in an envelope marked, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL NEXT YEAR.” The only problem was, I’d totally forget most of what I dreamed of that night, and be both surprised and disappointed when I opened the letter.
This year, I suggest we write a letter as if we’ve arrived at the destination we dream about.
For years, I’ve written about the Best Possible Future Self exercise, (Ken Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky, in The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2006) Here’s how to do it:
Write about your life as if it’s December 2016. You’ve accomplished everything you’ve hoped for. The books have been written, the speeches made, the income earned. Write in present tense about what you’ve done. Don’t forget to record how you met your personal and spiritual goals as well. Did you eat better, exercise more and meditate? Who did you connect with? What did you do for fun?
Try this writing exercise a few times, so that you can get a true reading on the hopes that live inside your imagination.
When you’re done—let the visions rest for a few days. Then review them. Ask:
- What projects or activities show up repeatedly?
- What dreams energize me?
- When I look at all the possibilities, what do I really want?
Once you know the answer, create a plan to reach the place you’ve imagined.
You can do it!