I’ve been using my copy of The Vision Journal to work on my vision for my business and life. I’ve been adding images, sketching out the journals I intend to create and publish, and dreaming about the best ways to use my time.
More than once my own visions have meandered into the realm of a vision for another person – usually my husband. I have written about his career goals – or I should say the career goals I have for him. I’ve made health and fitness goals that include him too.
My intentions are good, and honestly when I have a moment of inspiration on behalf of Brian I can’t help but be excited when I share it with him.
But you know what? He rarely, if ever, gets even the least bit excited about my vision for him. And can you believe that his career goals for himself are not the same as those I have for him? What’s up with that?
He doesn’t want to get up at 5:30 with me for a half-hour of meditation and then a 45-minute workout?
Uh, no. Accompanied by an overly expressive eye-roll.
It has to be his vision. His intention. And his choice to make a change to his life.
I could push it. I could nag, annoy, and pester him into changing. I could give him ultimatums. But it’s not part of my vision that he end up despising me.
My husband isn’t the only one. I have big ideas for siblings, friends, etc. I may not be able to sell them the awesome ideas I have for them, but there are some things I can do instead.
Listen. Give the people in your life an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams. Start a conversation at the dinner table that includes wishes, desires, or bucket list items. Post a question on Facebook for your friends. Start a Vision Sharing group. Listen to the hopes and dreams of the people you love and give them a safe place to share – without judgment (see below).
Share. Be willing to share your own hopes and dreams. Talking with friends and family is not like talking with a coach or a therapist. When you hire someone to listen to you, it’s okay to expect that person to focus entirely on you. When chatting it up with a friend or loved one, there is a give and take.
Reserve judgment. This is hard. Remember the episode of Friends when Monica was dating Pete the millionaire and he decided he wanted to become an Ultimate Fighting Champion? Monica was super supportive when Pete started his training and even went to his first fight. Did she feel that it was a poor choice? That was evident in her expressions and her hesitancy to encourage him. It’s not up to us to determine what another person can or cannot do.
It’s worth noting that in the end, Monica decided she couldn’t stay with Pete and watch him get beat up over and over. She explained her concerns and ended the relationship. She didn’t belittle him or give him a nasty ultimatum. She also did not compromise her own values.
Parents deal with this all the time. We regularly have to decide if a request is a “you’ll shoot your eye out” moment or if we loosen the reins and allow experience to be the ultimate teacher.
See others in their highest light. One of the easiest and most uplifting responses we can give to another persons dream is simply to see them accomplishing that goal and share that with them. “I can totally see you doing that.” And keep on seeing it.
Work on your own vision. It is an awesome, wonderful experience to support other people in pursuit of their dreams. Sometimes, though, the best thing you can do is have dreams of your own and keep your focus on them. Lead by example and other people will notice the changes you’re making. They may even be inspired to move forward with their own visions. And above all, be careful that you are not using your time to support others to the degree that you don’t have time left for yourself. Your dreams are just as important.
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb: Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit saramarchessault.com.