Do you want to learn how to find your vision in life?
But to start with, why do you even need to have found a vision, a purpose in life?
Listen to this episode of my podcast:
Or check out this video to find out why:
I always thought about happiness as a distant goal, a kind of esoteric quest I would never reach or even start. Something out of this world for most of us.
Until the day when I started to change my life. Radically.
And finally to start taking the right decisions.
You know, the ones that are so difficult you feel like dying.
But then you feel like reborn.
That’s when I started to feel this deep warm happiness. For the first time probably since childhood.
Because I was finally starting to live in line with my inner values.
Happiness wasn’t anymore a vague dream, but a sweet reality.
And the most important thing to work on.
But something was missing.
It wasn’t still complete.
I realized my life was lacking some meaning.
Thus I started to think further about this. I read more, listened to more people at higher stages of awareness, got inspired by people with a clear purpose. Simon Sinek, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name a few.
That’s when I realized that what I was looking for was a vision.
As the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne said:
The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost; to be everywhere, is to be nowhere.
I was doing things, but they were lacking direction.
Or more accurately, they weren’t supported by an inner purpose.
And that’s one of main key for happiness.
Ask yourself. Do you feel that you are achieving anything meaningful in your life?
I mean, you will hopefully have a few or even many successes, but are they in line with your inner values? With your vision if you know it?
Because no matter how big your successes are (winning a Nobel prize, owning a multi-billion company), you won’t feel any deep fulfillment otherwise.
Which means that you won’t be really happy.
I am being a bit radical here, but this is the truth.
To be happy in your life, you need to feel deeply fulfilled.
Which occurs when you follow a vision that is bigger than yourself.
A vision that is turned towards others, not yourself.
Let’s dive deeper into what is a vision.
What is a vision?
A vision is not a goal.
A goal can be achieved, measured.
A vision goes beyond that.
It is a version of the world you would like to live in.
Indeed, if you take a dictionary or go online (who still has a dictionnary in their house?) to read the definition, you will often see the term vision associated with imagination. Something you “see” in your head.
But here, what I define as a vision (others call it the “why”, see below) is a statement that inspires you, which drives you from the guts.
When you read it or say it out loud, you should feel emotion. If not, it is a goal.
Here are two examples of vision:
“Every child has the right to grow up in a safe and inclusive environment” — UNICEF
Or the famous:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed — we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” — Martin Luther King
As you see, it is a single and simple sentence, a statement of what do you stand for, what do you believe in.
A vision is also something that makes you feel bigger. When you state it out loud, you should feel something in your guts, in your heart. If not, it is too small. Aim bigger.
You will find a few other examples below to inspire you.
Do you want to know my vision? You are so curious!
I am kidding. It is not a secret and that’s why I wrote this article.
I believe that everyone deserves to live a fulfilled and happy life.
Thus I am there to help you to achieve this. At least, I do my best!
OK, enough talking about others, let’s focus on the real subject here: YOU!
How can you find YOUR vision?
Here are 9 ways to help you find your purpose in life.
Breathe deeply three times.
Roll your shoulders upward and backward.
Relax and open your mind…
Let’s get started!
Listen to the podcast episode:
Or watch the video:
1. Find your core values
Knowing what are your inner values can help you to know yourself better (always good!). And to define what is really important for you. Thus what you want to stand for.
How can you find them if you don’t already know what your values are?
I also suggest that you go to Scott Jeffrey’s website for a step-by-step guide to find them.
2. Use your memories
Do you remember a situation where you spontaneously took action to help someone else or fight for something that upset you?
Maybe this day at school when you were a child.
Do you remember when the teacher punished an innocent classmate?
You started to feel this deep anger in your guts and you stood up to defend him/her without even thinking about the consequences for you?
That day you were driven by your inner value of justice, your deep belief that everybody deserves to be defended against injustice.
And here you are with a vision!
Or you walked on the streets with your mother and saw this poor man begging for food or money. And you were shocked by the fact that some people don’t have any food or a home.
Your vision may be: “I believe that every human being deserves to have access to food and shelter”
Sometimes as a child we had a clear vision and then we inhibited ourselves and forgot about it.
It is never too late.
3. Find your why
Ask yourself why are you doing this when you do something that makes you feel good.
What I mean is, when you are doing something that makes you really, deeply feel good (not just some immediate pleasure like eating chocolate, this is not a vision…. even if it is soo good!), this means that it resonates with you, with your core values.
Thus, if you understand why this makes so feel so good, you will probably find your vision.
Simon Sinek, the famous writer, and motivational speaker has written books and made many talks on the subject in the context of work and leadership. But it can be also applied to everyday life.
You can find his book here:
I highly recommend you watch this video featuring Simon Sinek and other experts:
4. What are your dreams?
If you had unlimited money, unlimited time, what would you do?
Growing up we often limit ourselves and start thinking in a small box, inside a given set of possibilities. We have integrated what others say and think ourselves:” I can’t do this, it is impossible” or “I don’t have enough time or money” or “I have no power on that, what can I do?”.
So free yourself from these limiting ideas. See yourself with unlimited resources, with all the support you can ever imagine. All green lights, not limits (not even the sky!).
A bit frightening maybe at first, but now, what would you do?
This exercise is not always easy but it should help you to find your vision.
5. What do you really love to do?
What do you love to do in your life (present or past)? I insist on the “love”, not “like”.
For example, you can tell me: “I like to watch TV”.
OK, me too.
But so what? “ I love to watch a movie with my love/family/friends so we share a good moment and we can discuss about it later”.
So maybe your vision would be:” I believe that movies can bring people together and enrich their lives”.
And from there, you can decide to write reviews on movies, create a phone app to share your favorite movies with friends… the rest is yours!
6. What upsets you?
On the other end, what really puts you on your nerves?
This is literally the things you will (physically) stand for. Think about the earlier example of the school class when you stood up to defend your classmate.
Or if you are a woman, seeing a colleague less competent than you getting a promotion just because he is a man (yeah, this one upsets me also, and I am a man!).
It can be anything that really upsets you.
Listing those things will help you define what you want to stand up for in your life and to choose your vision.
7. Get inspired by a vision from others
What is the vision of people around you (if they have one)? You friends, your family, your colleagues?
This can give you hints for your own vision. Paths to follow to dig deeper into yourself.
You can look further and listen to other people, ask them questions, read biographies.
Or take a few examples from non-profit organisations:
- “Equality for everyone” (Human Rights Campaign)
- “A world without Alzheimer’s” (Alzheimer’s Association)
- “To leave a sustainable world for future generations” (The Nature Conservancy)
- “A world where everyone has a decent place to live” (Habitat for Humanity)
But don’t let others choose your own purpose!
It is YOUR vision that you want to find, to choose.
Don’t take others’ dreams as yours unless you share them.
It is YOUR life that you want to live.
“I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”
― Jimi Hendrix
8. Take action
You can learn a lot by DOING things and analyzing how we feel about this action. Before, during or after.
Before is better though. If you are at the point to make a decision and take some action, do you feel it is right or not?
You should tell from your guts. Your guts don’t lie. Your mind fool yourself.
Taking action is so valuable because you get out of your thoughts and challenge it to reality. A reality check.
Do you really want to take that job in this company that don’t care much about the environment?
How do you feel everyday in your work? if you don’t feel good, it might be because it is not aligned with your why.
Don’t spend 10 years doing the ‘wrong’ things for you. And take the right action today.
9. Finally, ask yourself a question:
To be sure you focus on your own vision, here is a final question.
What is the story (YOUR story) you would like to tell on your deathbed?
What your relatives will be able to tell about your life when you will have left this world?
Because you will die in the end, and you don’t know when.
I don’t say that so you feel stressed out.
It is to help you step back a little.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”― Mark Twain
You may also ask yourself another question which is related and might help you further: “If you died today, would you be happy?”.
I discovered this question thanks to Joe Lurie at BigLifeExperiment.com.
You probably have now a clearer idea of what is your inner purpose, your life vision.
But what if you couldn’t find your vision, your why for now?
Well, it may take some time. It is something that may need days or weeks to mature. And this is ok.
Don’t rush yourself, just start to think about it and read the following tips and exercises to help you on this road.
Don’t forget: there is no good or bad vision, only yours.
Don’t live the life of others, live yours!
I want to end this article with a last quote:
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Have you found your vision? Please share it in the comments below!