Going Beyond Goals to a Vision

bikingI was out hiking in the mountains last weekend with my family. I find it so peaceful and beautiful. It always feels like being closer to God. Out there in nature with the breeze and the wild flowers it is so freeing and refreshing. As we were trekking under the bright blue sky surrounded in emerald green hills with the sun warming our backs, a boy and his dad came riding by on their mountain bikes.

We were at a point approaching a bridge that crosses over a rocky creek of fresh spring water. We exchanged hellos as they rolled on by. The Dad crossed the narrow bridge easily. The boy looked anxious, slowed the speed of his bike and looked down into the creek, and almost as if time stood still, he slowly toppled over on his bike and landed hard on the rocks below.

My husband ran to his aid and fortunately he was fine. A bit bruised and cut with a hint of embarrassment but no broken bones or major injuries thank goodness.

It got me thinking about how very important it is to look where we want to go. Wherever our eyes go (physically or metaphorically) that is where we will end up. So at this point in the story you may be thinking….is this another blog on goal setting? We all know how important it is to set goals. To have a target.  To look where we want to be ( the other side of the bridge) and not focus on the pitfalls ( the creek below the bridge).

Yet, I think it goes beyond this. I think a vision is more compelling than just a goal. We want to not only know what our goal is….say to go on an overseas charity project or mission, we want to have a vision of what it will look like and how it will feel to be there doing it. A vision kept in the forefront of the brain by the practice of visualization releases positive neurotransmitters like dopamine that can motivate us to do the work needed to reach our compelling vision.

Being an eye surgeon this whole idea of vision really impacted me. By going deep, seeing who I am authentically and getting in touch with the impact I want to make and then from that place of real knowing visualizing where I truly want to be, I have found more of my dreams coming true. Rather than just having a bland goal, I have a compelling vision in full color with the nuances of life and the emotions it evokes. Vision is so different from goals that even the word has a different energy around it. Vision is an inspirational overall feeling about what you want to achieve. It paints a vivid picture of what we want our life to look like and then we can strive to live in alignment with this.

Vision is not just your ideal house or car, vision is the holistic picture of what you see your life to be. It is your dreams. It is what we see when our goal combines together with our life. It is how our life looks, how we move in the world when our goal is achieved. In marketing terms it could be considered the difference between the feature and the benefit.

looking-forwardVision helps you know what you are changing to and why. Having a vision helps you see yourself there, helps you to feel it and picture it. It is the inner game that will allow you to be the architect of your outer game. Dream it, believe it, see it as a vision and you will live it.  Replacing your goals with vision can be a path and a practice that leads you to the life of your heart’s desire.

Many high level athletes practice this inner game principle. They visualize every move in practice before they ever do it in competition. I will do this with surgery, visualizing every move of a difficult case before I have to go and do it for real. You can take it a step further to a visualization of the entire event and its outcome. Such as envisioning standing on the podium receiving the gold medal or in my case testing the patients vision to be 20/20 and seeing how happy they are the day after surgery makes the visualization more compelling. Picture yourself there before you get there. If that boy had visualized himself safely on the other side of the bridge the outcome may have been different.

How many of you use visualization in your lives? What techniques do you find helpful?

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