Two words that are in frequent rotation in my vocabulary are trajectory and legacy. One of my great joys in life is helping people think through the legacy they want to leave behind and then assisting them in setting the trajectory of their life to get them there. This week, I will be writing on the three categories to work through when thinking through things like your legacy, your personal vision statement and your life core values.
The three primary categories I work through when creating something like a personal vision statement are head, heart, and hands. While these concepts should not necessarily be new to you, I would like to work through them to make sure you have a clear understanding of how they will help you bring definition, passion, and determination to your goals.
Why All Three?
All three of these elements are important in getting the most out of your life. For those who leave even one of these elements out you will often find these results:
- Head: Without taking time to seriously think through and reflect you run the risk of not being grounded in your vision and being easily uprooted, bouncing from idea to idea. Taking time to give serious thought to the why of where you are heading will give you the best traction in staying committed to the vision for your life.
- Heart: Without passion you will not reach the heights of success you set for yourself. I often see this with people who set life goals for the wrong reasons like fame, monetary gain, or to please others like parents or spouses. If you do not find great joy and zeal in the work you will be doing to accomplish your goals and vision you will not make it far and you certainly will not accomplish all you set out to. Make sure that once you have thought through the why you then take time to think through the what in order to align your passions with your goals.
- Hands: While thinking through and feeling passionate about your plans are the critical first steps to setting up your vision for success, just thinking and feeling good about it will not actually get you anywhere. You need to take actions that initiate all the work you did with your head and heart. People who leave out the hands, the actual doing, are those who have big dreams but never any results. Don’t just think on things, initiate action and accomplish something.
Why the Specific Order
I believe that following the specific order of head, heart, and hands is essential to having the most success. Putting the time in, first, to use your head and think through the important elements will do two primary things.
- It will keep you from making a decision solely based on excitement and passion. When we make decisions at the heart level first we often chase feelings instead of realities. Feelings are good but they need to be rooted in realities. It is a poor use of time for me setting a goal to ride a unicorn when they do not exist, even if I’m really passionate about unicorns. Just because we are excited about it does not mean it can be a reality for us.
- It also keeps us from jumping in and acting with a thought through plan. Sometimes it is good to rev up the engine and just get to work. In regards to vision and legacy, acting to quickly can get you moving down a wrong path and then you end up wasting time back tracking. We are seeing this frequently today with people who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on higher education and not only not using their degrees in their careers but also not being able to do what they feel most passionate about because now they are shackled by debt that has nothing to do with their vision. Think through where you are going, align your passions to your plans, and get moving.
Now, even as I say this I want to encourage you that your vision statement will have fluidity in it. No plan is perfect and no passion without its ebbs and flows. As you initiate your vision statement for you life you will continually be revising and course-correcting as you work through this head, heart, and hands concept. The goal of thinking through this early in the process is to help you set an effective course and keep you moving in a clear direction that will leave you looking back on a life well spent.
How to Implement
Over the course of the next few days I will breakdown each specific area and tell you how to use each most effectively as you create your personal vision statement and plan out the legacy you want to leave behind to influence and encourage your family and loved ones.
Which area do you find easiest to spend time on? What area do you think will be most difficult to work through and why?