“What do you want to do when you grow up?”
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“What’s your mission in life?”

We’ve all been confronted by these daunting questions at sometime or another, usually in a job interview or a motivational workshop.   But last week I had a client who was truly stuck.  He had been asked to write a vision statement for his small business and he was lost in the weeds and wandering everywhere in search of his dream.

I asked him to send me a copy of his work and sure enough he was stuck.  He was stuck in the belief that his vision had to fit into the same mold as every other successful professional in his field.  He had attended enough seminars over the years to know what he was “suppose” to write but this time his heart wouldn’t let him get by with platitudes.

“Hears what I want you to do”, I said, “substitute the name of your most obvious competitor in your vision statement.”  Did the vision statement work?  If so, how could his competitor want the very same things?  What did it say about him that he could not distinguish himself from the other professionals up the street? Then I asked him to rewrite the vision statement  as though he was his biggest competitor.  Was it easier to dream big when he didn’t think someone would hold him accountable?

My friend is not alone.  In fact he is just like you and me.  We are so reluctant to put our dreams out there for fear that they may not happen, that we limit our dreams from the start.

We need to learn to dream in 3D.  We must take the time to add sound, color, action and feelings to our wants and desires.  The more vivid the thinking, the more we engage the brain and the more the brain is engaged the more likely the events are to happen.  No, I’m not talking about wishful thinking.  I’m talking about activating the reticular cortex.

Have you ever decided you wanted a new a car and you knew exactly the make, model and color?  When you finally got a vision fixed in your head, what happened?  Yep, everywhere you went you saw that dark blue Lexus SC 10 Convertible.  Yes they’re everywhere in Colorado!  What happens is your brain, the reticular cortex to be exact, now has a target. Once your brain has the assignment (the vision) the brain is honor bound to seek out those events that bring closure to your desire.  If your brain can spot a blue convertible a half-mile away, think how much it can help you carry out your career goals, relationship challenges or artistic endeavors.

My friend ended up with a vision statement that no other human being on earth could fulfill but him.  It took some soul-searching, praying and dreaming in 3D.  Now, he can’t help but accomplish what he has set out to do and will shortly find that his list is too short, too small and that there is so much more.

So, dream in many dimensions.  Dream in 3D.  And tell someone.  Erma Bombeck once said, “It takes a lot if courage to show your dreams to someone.”  Go ahead, be courageous and soon your dreams will be coming true.

Here’s to your success,

Linda K Sommer, MBA