How a 10-year vision makes work more meaningful
Imagine yourself stuck in a small box of a room with barely enough space to turn around. The air is stale and the light is dim. You have a suffocating sense of being trapped with no room to maneuver. That room is all that exists in your world.
Now imagine your view pulling up to give a higher level perspective on the world. You can still see the box of a room, but you can see what’s beyond it as well. You discover that the room isn’t all there is, and that inspiring possibilities lie beyond it.
You realize you’re only trapped because your mind believes the present moment of that musty little room is a long-term experience.
All too many people experience this small-box effect in their careers. They mistake their current situation for a long-term reality. And it’s unfortunate, because that prevents them from tapping into the inspiration and meaning that a focus on a long-term vision can give.
How a 10-year vision makes work more meaningful
I wrote recently about the benefits of having a 10-year vision (as well as some ideas for how to identify yours). In a nutshell, having a vision for what you want to accomplish, what impact you want to make, who you want to be, etc. in the next ten years expands your perspective to something beyond the immediate demands of your day-to-day work. It takes you out of the here and now and creates a context for something bigger.
Here are some of the ways that can make work feel more meaningful. A 10-year vision:
Helps you break free from stasis
One of the great meaning-killers is feeling stuck in stasis, repeating the same day over and over and over. When you put your work in the context of a 10-year vision, it opens the potential for a momentum generated from a source beyond whatever is happening in your career right now.
Helps you break free from a limited view
On a related note, looking at your work from the perspective of a 10-year vision breaks you free of the limited view of that small box. It’s hard to dream of flying when your focus is constrained by four grimy walls.
Just like a movie camera lifting up on a crane to give a sweeping view, a 10-year vision point of view helps you see a broader, more expansive picture.
Gives context for planning
A 10-year vision brings with it the energy of action. It gives you an energized context for planning. Whether you are currently on a path you love, or your work feels stuck and stale, a 10-year vision opens up the door to planning.
Asking, “How do I get there,” and taking steps based on the answers is like opening the door to that musty room and suddenly being able to breathe fresh air. It creates a sense of space and ties the present moment with a vision that matters to you.
Provides a sense of direction
One of the things that contribute to a sense of meaning is a clarity about where you’re headed and why. Having a 10-year vision (and acting on it) gives you a frame of reference and helps you see whether you’re on target or off track.
Creates a context for learning
When you have a vision for what you would like to achieve or create in the next ten years, it does two things for your learning.
First, it gives you a context where you can ask, “How does what I’m learning right now in my work contribute to that? How could it?” Even if your vision isn’t directly related to your current work, skills and insights you are gaining now might be applicable.
Consciously exploring how your current learning relates to your vision connects your current work to something greater.
The other learning-related question it opens up is, “What do I need to learn to get there?” That allows you to seek out opportunities for on-the-job learning, job-related workshops and training, insights from mentors and experts, etc. that will contribute to breathing life into that vision.
Provides a source of inspiration
The great thing about a 10-year vision is that you get to define it. And you’re not going to imagine a ho-hum vision into being. It’s going to be something that inspires you. Something that compels you to move towards it.
The very act of committing to that 10-year vision can be a source of inspiration and energy.
Guides your choices
A commitment to a 10-year vision that moves you gives you a whole new way to evaluate your choices. You can tap into that guidance with questions like, “Will this help me turn this vision into reality? How? What impact will this have on the vision? How does this move me closer to / farther from that vision?”
Creates a context for relationships
When you’re engaged in a journey towards a long-term vision that feels meaningful, you have a completely different context for networking and building relationships than if you are looking exclusively through the lens of what you’re doing right now.
As before, there are two broad questions at play. The first is, “How do the people I currently know relate to my vision? Can any of them help me move toward it or play a role in its creation? Who should I talk to about it? Who would find it inspiring? Can my vision be helpful to anyone I know? How?”
The second is, “Who do I need to know? Where and how can I meet them?”
Don’t wait for the perfect vision
If you already have a clear picture of what your 10-year vision would be, great! But if you don’t, whatever you do, don’t wait for the perfect vision to appear.
Start with some basic exploration. Set any practicality aside for a moment and ask, “If I could make any vision reality, what would it be?” You might surprise yourself and discover your vision, or it might give you insights as to some of the qualities and characteristics that would be relevant.
Go through the exploration in my post about how to identify your 10-year vision. See if you can identify a “lump of clay” vision. Not a final version, simply something to work with and shape and form.
Once you have that lump of clay, start exploring it. Start talking to people about it. Make changes and adjustments as you learn more about it.
An imperfect vision you act on is infinitely better than a potentially perfect vision that never sees the light of day.
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide