Saturday, February 2, 2013

Futurists and strategic planners talk a lot about “Visions.” What is a vision and how can you create a vision of YOUR future?

The first thing to understand is that a "vision" is a destination in your future. A vision is what you see as your life in the future. If you haven’t thought about your life in the future, now is a good time!

In my workshops, I tell people that creating a vision of your future is like planning a vacation. You must decide where you want to go before you can realistically think about how you’re going to get there. If you decided that you want to go on vacation this July, where would you go? Paris, Rome, Beijing, San Francisco? Before you make any other plans, you must decide where you’re going. Once you decide on the destination, you can start making plans.

The same is true when you start thinking about your vision of your future. What is your destination? What do you want your life to be in 10 years? I realize that’s a difficult question because the future is a big place to try to think about so I suggest that you break it down into six parts. In Personal Futures Workshops, we look at the six personal domains in your life: Activities, Finances, Health, Housing, Social, Transportation. Now, ask yourself, for each personal domain, what should my life be like 10 years from now?

Start with Activities, all the things you do; school, work, religion, sports, hobbies — the things you do. What do you want to be doing in your life 10 years from now? Think about this one carefully because our activities tend to fill our days, and if we don’t fill our days with something interesting life may start getting boring. If you are under 60, you will probably still be working, which will keep you busy. If you expect to retire within the next 10 years it’s important that you have enough activities in mind to keep you active most of the time. When I talk to people about their future in retirement, I often hear, “I want to play golf every day.” Or “I want to go fishing every day.” Keep in mind that when you retire, you may be retired for several decades, so you want to plan a life that has enough activities in it to keep your life interesting.

Next, consider Finances. What do you want your financial condition to be in 10 years?

Health. What do you want or expect your health to be like in 10 years?

Housing. Where do you want to be living 10 years from now, and what kind of the home do you expect, a castle or a condominium?

Social. Where will all your family members be living 10 years? Who will be your close friends? Do you see any significant changes in your social circles over the next 10 years?

Transportation. What will be your transportation requirements or needs in 10 years? Will you be commuting? Will your transportation needs change over the next 10 years?

You can probably see that creating a vision of your future is not terribly complicated, but it will require you to actually think about your future. That is probably the most important part of futuring — taking the time to think about what you want your future to be. Once you make the decisions about what you want your life to be like 10 years from now, you will have a destination in the future. Then you can start thinking about how you are going to achieve your vision.

We’ll do that in the next post!