As I’m sitting here, I’m drinking my Chai tea (because I’m obsessed) and literally stretching my fingers before I start typing because I know this is going to be a beast of a post.
I could talk about this topic for DAYS ON END… In fact, I’ve taught it now at least a dozen times and put together a webinar about it because I love it so much.
My ultimate goal is to walk onto the TED stage to talk about this exact subject because EVERYONE needs to hear it. That’s how damn obsessed and passionate I am about this.
Before you get overwhelmed, you can sit back and get comfy because there’s a free workbook that goes along with it to help you take all of this and put it into action so we can make it happen.
The Pathetic Statistics
Let’s look at some CRAZY stats about people, their careers and how fulfilled they are.
- Only 3 in 10 people are engaged in their careers (Gallup)
- 88% of employees don’t have passion for their work (Deloitte)
- 79% of businesses believe they have a significant engagement and retention problem (Psychometrics)
- 86% of businesses and HR leaders believe they don’t have a good leadership development path
That goes across every industry and level of employement…
LESS THAN ONE IN TEN PEOPLE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.
How INSANE is that?!
90% of people spend 1/3 of their lives doing a job that they don’t even like. If you could die a million times, I imagine this is how it would happen.
The formula for fulfillment is this…
Growth + Contribution = Fulfillment
Do you realize how freaking simple that is?!
In order to be more fulfilled, you need to spend more time growing… That means *ahem* spending more time on blogs like mine and attending our workshops *shameless plug*, watching documentaries, reading, attending events and surrounding yourself with people who push you to grow… and you need to make a conscious effort to go out of your way to give more.
It’s simple, but it’s not easy… I get it.
Here’s the thing… Most of us set our goals COMPLETELY backwards.
We lead through our days rushing about to get everything on our to do list done and it feels like we never finish anything so we’re just aimlessly wandering through life.
Let me ask you a question…
Would you get in the car and start driving aimlessly with absolutely no destination for days on end?
SO WHY THE HELL DO WE DO THAT WITH LIFE?!
We do it the other way around when we’re in the car…
We pick a destination, decide on how to get there and then we get in the car and drive. Leading with vision and effective goal setting works the EXACT same way.
We should set the destination (vision) FIRST, then develop our stretch goals out of our vision, then make our manageable goals from our stretch goals and decide on our activities based on our manageable goals.
When we set goals this way, we have a higher sense of completion because we know that what we’re doing is getting us one step closer to our ultimate goal, it helps us have more clarity in our lives and in our decisions, we are going to grow faster and it makes it easier to accept or reject opportunities that don’t align with our vision.
Here’s a quick visual to show you what I mean.
Most people start from the bottom and climb to the top of the ladder and it goes like this…
- I’m going to go to school today… (activities)
- I have decent grades so I guess I’ll apply to college… (manageable goal)
- I’m in college so I guess I better pick a degree and then change the degree a few times (stretch goal)
- Oh look, I’m in my field, I think what I do matters (vision).
They go about their day leading with their daily activities until something happens that requires them to start thinking about their manageable goals.
Maybe they’re planning a vacation or a project at work, but they don’t generally have their own manageable goals. They’ll talk about their stretch goals when they’re feeling inspired and will generally distance themselves so they don’t have to take any ownership. They’ll say things like “it would be cool if…” or “somebody should…”.
Most people RARELY talk about their visions or even realize that they have one until someone comes into their lives and forces them to think bigger.
We’re going to do it the opposite way…
We’ll start with your vision and work down to your activities.
… and speaking of making things concrete, we’re going to start HUGE and abstract with a crazy vision and work our way all the way down to the super concrete with our daily activities.
Don’t start checking out on me because you’re overwhelmed. If you know me at all, you know that I always have an awesome workbook for you to put all of this into action.
Go ahead and get that right here so you can fill it out while you’re reading through this.
We don’t learn for the sake of learning around here… We learn for the sake of doing, so go get the workbook!
Let’s dive right in.
Developing Your Vision
First things first, let’s talk about your vision.
No, I don’t mean if you have like 20/20 vision… We’re talking about your idea of the perfect world.
I want you to close your eyes and answer this question…
Seriously, close your eyes…
Are your eyes closed? (They’re definitely not if you’re reading this, just sayin’).
If you had unlimited resources and could have the world any way that you want, what would it look like?
Paint a picture in your mind of what that perfect world would look like.
That my friend, is your vision.
Whatever that looks like to you, that’s what I want you to keep in mind.
Now, I want you to put your vision to the test…
A great vision has a few things going for it (I wish I could take credit for this part but I learned it from a training I did in college called LeaderShape and have yet to find anything that can beat it). This test is flawless:
- Compelling: When you talk about your vision, does it get people to want to take action? Your vision should be so moving that when you talk about it, they literally can’t help but get involved.
- Service-Directed: Making a lot of money is not a vision. Making a lot of money is a result of achieving your vision but it is NOT the actual vision. Your vision should benefit others first.
- Challenging: If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing 😉
- Vivid: When you talk about it, you should paint a picture in someone’s mind about what the world would look like if your vision became a reality.
- Expandable: A vision shouldn’t be a finite destination… It’s sort of like when you’re driving on a flat road and you can only see so far but as you get further down the road, you continue to see the road in front of you. That’s how a vision is. Even when you hit your original goals, you’ll continue to think bigger.
In the workshops that I’ve done of this topic, I find that this is the step that people struggle with the most… and it’s completely understandable.
Firstly, we don’t think about stuff like this until you’re feeling inspired or there’s a reason to think about it (like reading this article). Secondly, The idea of having a vision allows for a ton of possibility and makes it seem super abstract.
Our job as empire builders is to pave the road for others to walk down and so we have to start somewhere.
Our job as leaders is to build a vision and make it concrete for those that we lead.
It all starts with vision.*
Even if your vision isn’t perfectly worded yet, that’s ok.
Oh, and if it sounds insane, good! That means you’re doing it right.
Your vision SHOULD be abstract and have millions of ways to approach it.
I always like to start my vision with, “I envision a world where…” because that statement gets you to really think big.
My perfect world looks like this…
I envision a world where people were passionate about helping each other reach their full potential. People would take the time to mentor each other and uplifted and inspired people. Rather than feeling like someone else’s success was to their detriment, we saw each other’s success as our wins too. I believe in abundance and I believe that we can all achieve our craziest, wildest dreams when we choose to work together. The world will be better off when we are all pursuing our dreams. I believe that when we all pursue our dreams, the world will be a better place to live.
By using words that evoke emotion, it helps you to connect to your own vision and it inspires action in others. There’s a couple of other ways to inspire other people with your vision which are all outlined in this article.
When you lead with vision first, it almost guarantees that you’re going to be fulfilled because you have to grow as a person to make progress on your vision and if your vision meets all five criteria, it’s service-based by it’s very nature.
What’s your legacy going to be?
Oh, and before we move onto stretch goals, let’s talk about legacy.
If you ask most people what legacy they want to leave behind, most of them will say something along the lines of “I just want to make sure my family is comfortable and taken care of.”
While you’re reading this, I want you to imagine me grabbing you by the shoulders to shake you and yell all of this at you to make sure that you’re hearing me. If you take just one thing away from this article, let it be this…
That’s an awesome goal and you should definitely do that, except it’s a COMPLETE. WASTE. OF. YOUR. POTENTIAL.
Leaving money behind is not leaving a legacy.
I want to challenge you to leave a PURPOSE and a way to do it (*ahem* your vision).
When you lead with vision, you are setting an incredible example for your family, you’ll be a better family member because you’ll be truly fulfilled and when you leave this earth, you will have something that carries on long after you.
Money will be spent and forgotten but PURPOSE becomes who we are and the culture of our family.
Not to mention, shooting for comfortable is irresponsible.
If you think about all of the people who were living large in the early 2000’s, their comfort became nonexistant when the market crashed in 2008.
All it takes to steal your comfort is a medical emergency, something to happen to you, some crazy natural disaster or a market crash and your comfort becomes struggle in precisely 0.0074 seconds flat (that’s a super scientific number, I swear).
You can argue that insurance will take care of stuff like that and the reality is that way too many people end up in situations where they’re (for lack of a better word) FUCKED… So insurance is not the answer. It’s plan C or D, not plan A or B.
… Andddd to top it off, shooting for comfortable is selfish and lazy. You have a duty, a calling and a responsibility to reach your full potential. The world needs YOU. Not someone else, the world needs YOU.
Imagine how different the world would be different if the lightbulb was never discovered, if Elon didn’t invest $180M back into Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City.
What if Steve Jobs or Mark Zuck didn’t feel like challenging the rules and changing the way we know of everything?
If they can do it, there’s no reason that you can’t either… You just have to have a vision and be willing to take massive, ridiculous action to make it happen. You can be the one to change the world and you have a responsibility to do so.
I know this is a lot… Let’s get to work. Go get your workbook!
Once you’ve worked out your vision, it’s time to figure out HOW you want to make that happen by deciding on your stretch goals.
Get Some Direction With Stretch Goals
Your stretch goals are the things that you would like to do at some point but don’t have a clue how.
They should seem impossible to achieve, out of your comfort zone and other people might see them as crazy (and what’s interesting about that is that the more that you talk about them, the more realistic that they become).
Most people struggle with their stretch goals because they’re using a stretch goal as their vision. Think of the vision as the why and the stretch goals to be the how.
Stretch Goal #1.
As I think about my own stretch goals, the one that’s at the top of my mind every. single. day. is that I want to build the largest young professionals organization in the world.
Young professionals are the future and the next generation and so I truly believe that it is my responsibility to educate, inspire and empower them to reach their full potential. Once I get closer to this stretch goal, I’ll start working on my second stretch goal.
Stretch Goal #2.
My second stretch goal is to completely change the entire education system. I don’t just mean change the way students are tested, I want to change the way that they learn.
First of all, why are we still making kids regurgitate stuff that they can google?! THAT IS WHERE LACK OF FULFILLMENT STARTS.
Where is the growth in that?!?!?!?!?!?
I would love to people go back for a year or two to each what they do as an actual career, for kids to learn through hands on experience (like simulations, virtual reality, etc).
Seriously, who likes learning from a textbook? What if we could teach kids like the Magic School Bus? They would go on a field trip by putting on their VR glasses and get to visit the dinosaurs or go back to the signing of the declaration of independence.
The engagement of kids would be insane and they would learn so much more from it.
Instead of teaching kids to be great test takers, we need to teach them how to have better critical thinking and communication skills so their curriculum would include a bunch of socratic seminars where they learn how to have an opinion, listen and have a healthy debate.
I hope that my stretch goals will help you with your own.
Your stretch goals are the things that you want to be remembered for after you leave this earth and will help you determine which opportunities you’ll take so you don’t overcommit.
Make It Happen With Manageable Goals
Your manageable goals are your typical SMART goals.
What I find interesting is that every time the conversation about goal planning comes up, there’s almost inevitably a debate about whether you should set the bar high and have big dreams or you should have realistic goals.
Here’s the answer: you need both!
The realistic goals are the bricks that build the stretch goals.
Your manageable goals should be realistic and achievable that lead to predictable success. These goals bring clarity, focus, keep people engaged and keep everyone on track for the bigger goal.
I like to set manageable goals of 3-6 months. That timeframe keeps you on your toes and is still enough time to make great leaps within that timeframe. Your workbook will help you break all of this down so that you can put all of this into action.
Get to Work With Activities
Lastly, you have your activities. Your activities are the day to day activities that help you reach your manageable goals. When you build your goals backwards, you’ll feel like you’re always reaching towards bigger things and will have a MUCH greater sense of achievement.
When those activities start to get redundant or you find yourself struggling to complete them, you need to get some accountability around those actions. Accountability steps in where willpower fails.
The key here is to work backwards so that you continue to feel fulfilled, know that your life is on the right track and you are leading with passion.
I know this is a lot to break down and you’ll forget 90% of this if you don’t put it into action, so go ahead and download the workbook.