If you’ve ever tried to decide what you want from the rest of your life then you know just how hard it can be to develop a clear vision. But without a clear vision for your life it’s much too easy to get derailed, to get sidelined, and to totally lose your way. A clear vision, however, acts like a compass to keep us moving in the direction we want to go.
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Why you might not have a clear vision for your life
At some point in our lives, many of us emerge from the busyness of child-rearing, working outside the home, housekeeping, and days focused on meeting the needs of others to realize that finally…finally, it is out turn.
The kids have either left home or have gotten old enough that they don’t require that heavy duty all-consuming parenting and we’ve finally got some time on our hands that we can use to pursue OUR goals and dreams.
If only we knew what they were.
And that’s where the problem usually starts.
Now that we HAVE some time, what do we want to do with it?
So the question becomes, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” and “How do you develop a clear vision for your the rest of your days?”
Now, you’d think this would be an easy question to answer. After all, we ask children all the time, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and they usually have an answer…or more likely, quite a few answers.
In fact, when we’re young, it’s easy to have lots of ideas about what we want to do with our lives for several reasons:
- there is lots of time ahead of us,
- the possibilities truly do seem possible, and
- we haven’t absorbed any messages yet about what we can and can’t do (or should and shouldn’t if we’re talking about societal expectations).
While younger children may not have a clear vision for their future, they’re at least considering possibilities – something we often fail to do when we reach a certain age.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have so many ideas and possibilities? But many of us have the opposite problem – when asked what we want to do, we draw a blank.
Probably because we’ve spent years and years NOT thinking about what WE want to do, but instead we just put our head down and did what needed to BE done. Our wants, needs, goals, and dreams didn’t figure into the equation.
When you’ve spent years putting your head down and doing the work, it’s easy to lose sight of what your goals and dreams were – you lose that clear vision that’s needed to chart a path in life
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You have to consider possibilities to develop a clear vision
Here’s where a lot of us get stuck.
When you’ve spent years doing what others expected and need you end up with a fairly narrow view of what else you’re capable of.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say, “I’m just a mom” or “I only know how to do….”
And as much as I hate to admit it (and I really do hate to admit it!) but I’ve said some of those things to myself as well.
But we’re not just moms. We’re not just wives. We’re not just daughters. We’re not just teachers, or nurses, or a bank teller or a waitresses whatever.
Here’s the bottom line…we do not have to let past roles define us.
Now I’m not knocking any of those roles. Heck, I’ve been all of the things mentioned above (except a nurse…I knew that was never my gift). But just because we were something in the past…doesn’t mean that’s all we can be forever.
Where do I even start when I’m unsure?
So what possibilities could be part of your future?
This is where we often break down and give up…because we truly have no clue what possibilities we should consider. It’s hard…and I mean really hard…to start considering possibilities when you haven’t let yourself even think about what you want in a long time.
But hard doesn’t mean impossible.
Just like riding a bicycle, things will start coming back to you once you give yourself permission to start thinking about what you want.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin thinking about what you want, where you want to go, and what you want to do:
- Are you interested in learning a new skill?
- Have you always wanted to take up a particular hobby?
- Is there some cause you’re passionate about but have never had the time to fully advocate for?
- Is there some place you’ve always wanted to visit?
- Was there something you wanted to do before other life roles took over?
Related Post: 9 Things To Let Go Of To Get The Life You Want
Give yourself some time…and some mental room, and start brainstorming!
But I want to offer a word of caution here – the longer it’s been since you asked yourself these types of questions the harder it can be to answer them.
It’s just like when we start an exercise program after a long period of being a couch potato. The new use of our muscles hurts and may make us want to give up.
So you may begin to ask yourself these questions and find that you truly don’t know how to answer them. And when that happens, it scares the daylights out of you and you become filled with self-doubt.
- What if I’m not good at anything?
- Maybe I don’t have any passions
- Am I a shallow person if I’ve never had a cause?
- Perhaps I’m just not smart enough because I can’t think of any new skills I’d like to learn
- Am I a dull person if I’ve never had a hobby?
- What is wrong with me that I can’t answer such simple questions about myself?
- Maybe I just wasn’t cut out to do anything important with my life so why bother.
Do you see yourself in any of the statements above?
Because I’ve struggled with each and every question and all of those self-doubts have been in my head. And here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Setting a clear vision – especially when you’ve spent years putting yourself last – can be a painful, long, frustrating, discouraging, and difficult task.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
You just have to start.
And you need a way to get those possibilities, dreams, and goals out of your head. I recommend you get either a blank journal or start a vision board to get those dreams out of your head and into a form where you can begin to act upon them.
Stay tuned…there is more to come in future weeks on this topic.
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