Have you ever felt overwhelmed by questions like:
“What’s your vision?”
“What do you want to do with your life?”
“What do you think you were put on earth to do?”
“What’s your 3-year or 5-year goal?”
“What’s your calling?”
I’ve felt the burden of these questions my entire life.
At home. My parents migrated from Asia to Australia so that we could get better education and get a “good” job. For their sacrifice to count, I felt I needed a vision that included economic prosperity or socially recognized success.
In my corporate career. I was often asked which roles I wanted in the company and I felt pressure to demonstrate my drive by saying I wanted to be the “head honcho”. But I didn’t ever feel like that answer was fully truthful.
In church. My theology at the time told me that in order to get God’s stamp of approval on my life, I needed to have some grandiose vision to “impact the world”.
No matter the space I found myself in, I’ve felt the pressure to come up with a vision that sounded impressive, that was bigger than others and that was “special” enough, to satisfy both my own high-achieving tendencies and my deep need for external validation.
But truth be told, these “visions” didn’t always align with my heart, and even if they did, it would be for a short amount of time.
Don’t get me wrong: I do think there’s a time and place to ponder vision. But often what will move you forward each day is a different kind of question. Here are two that have helped me in my journey and are helping people I’m working with to chart their life journeys:
#1 What does your story tell you about what you want to do more of?
Instead of thinking in 3, 5, or 10 years (how many of us would say we have all the same desires and needs now as you did three years ago?), focus instead on the near past and the near present. Look back over your last 90 days to simply see what you found worked well and what you enjoyed. Then see how you can spend more time on those areas over the next 30 days.
#2 What does an ideal average day look like for you?
I learnt this from one of my coaches. Rather than tie our feelings of success to an event in time, a position we reach or don’t, an amount of money we gain or don’t, the type of properties or possessions we have to show for, we would benefit from writing out what an “ideal average day” looks like for us. That can include connection with loved ones, learning something new, physical movement, a great conversation. I get to experience “redefined success” now.
So if you’re struggling with the question “What is your vision?”, take heart, friend. You’re not alone.