“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” –Audre Lorde
You’ve probably heard it a million times — setting goals is the key to financial freedom and success. However, what most people tend to overlook is the driving force behind setting goals. Why do you come up with specific goals in the first place? What pushes you to achieve them?
A goal is defined as “the end toward which the effort is directed.” As great as it is to have an ending in mind, that doesn’t sound incredibly engaging for your creativity or passion. There has to be a middle ground between daydreaming about your future and only having these specific, actionable goals.
That’s where having a vision comes in.
Your vision is what drives your purpose, your goals, your plans… It is the key factor in finding financial greatness. A vision inspires action, ideas, and desires. It allows you to use your imagination and creativity to achieve success — Doesn’t that sound a lot more fun than stressing about your finances and not knowing what you want? Or knowing what you want, but not engaging your creativity and passion to get there?
I personally went through a major career shift in the late ’90s, when I went from retail management to financial services. It was a tough change, but one I new I needed to make — Because I was inspired. I wanted to start making a difference in people’s lives, something tangible and memorable. That was my vision. To be in a career where I felt like I was achieving my inspiration and fulfilling my purpose.
Visions are so important to crafting the right plan for you, especially when it comes to your finances. You always need something to drive you, to motivate you, like wanting to help others motivated me.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following tips.
Identify your ‘why.’
What matters most to you? Think about your values, your priorities, the things that make you want to succeed the most. Your ‘why’ is your driving factor. Why do you want to have a certain amount in savings? Why do you want to budget, or pay off your debt, or focus on your finances at all? Without knowing why you do what you do, you’re simply going through the motions because you think it’s the right thing to do. But you’re not really doing it for you. Think about this: what do you want your life and your finances to look like in 5 years, 10 years, 30 years? With that answer, you can start taking action for yourself, and your purpose.
Start asking yourself ‘why’ when you come up with certain goals. Let’s say your goal is to retire by age 65. Ask yourself: why do I want to retire at that age?
I had a client, let’s call him John, who was adamant about retiring at 65. He knew it was what he wanted, but when I asked him why he wanted it, he stared at me blankly before admitting, “I never thought about that before.” It turned out, John was motivated by the thought of retiring in order to spend more time with his family and create experiences he didn’t have the opportunity for in the workforce. John left my office that day lighter and more excited about his future, because he finally had his vision, and the ‘why’ behind his goals.
Give yourself permission to dive deep into your values and desires for your future, rather than relying on the answers you’ve always given.
Create a vision statement.
Maybe it sounds silly, but having a vision statement or mantra will give you something to reflect on and remind yourself of if you ever get into a rut, or overwhelmed, or you simply feel like you can’t think about your financial future for one more second.
Your vision statement should consist of what your ideal life looks like. How much you have saved, how much you’re able to spend on the things you enjoy, what you’ll be able to afford and the life you’ll be able to live… These are all great things to think about when crafting your statement.
Once you come up with your statement write it down, and try to read it to yourself every day. Write down your vision, and read it to yourself every day. If you’re not sure about it all, just know this: Tony Robbins is a strong believer in mantras, and their power to help you fulfill your dreams.
Make a vision board.
Maybe I’ve lost you at “vision board,” but hear me out — Visualization is actually an incredible way to turn your dreams into reality. It helps your subconscious work for you by cementing your vision into your long-term memory, by making the occipital lobe the central processing point for information.
That’s where a vision board comes in handy. You already have your vision statement — Now it’s time to turn the words into something visual! Your vision board can be whatever inspires you, whether it’s images cut out of magazines or inspirational words, or even pictures of people who inspire you. Your board should be all about how you feel, so it’s up to you to make it what you want. Think about what motivates you most when it comes to your finances. Is it wanting to provide for your family? Is it buying your dream house, or retiring early? Whatever your vision, make it visual, and watch the magic work. And don’t worry, you won’t be alone… Olympic athletes have been using vision boards for decades.
You have the power to fulfill your vision — It’s just up to you to get started and create one! If you didn’t know where to start before, hopefully these tips gave you some insight into the importance and benefits of visions, and how they can help drive your passions and help you achieve your goals. Maybe you came into this article thinking that coming up with a vision for your finances was silly, or not something that would actually help you create wealth.
However, I’m here to help you realize that understanding your deeper truths is the key to creating wealth! After all, your mindset, your vision, and your goals are all ingredients in your financial success. Figure out why you aspire to certain goals, and take the time to really assess your vision and ingrain it into your daily life, and you may just find your finances falling into place.
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Elisabeth Dawson is a financial advisor and the author of Wealth by Design. She is also the founder and CEO of Copia Wealth Management Advisors, Inc. and Copia Wealth Management & Insurance Services, designed to help clients achieve financial greatness.