If one of the most common pieces of advice that are out there when it comes to achieving one’s long-term dreams is to simply have a vision, then why is it that most people don’t have one?
Based on my recent experience, I believe the answer to that question is that people think they have a vision because they have ideas. Ideas, however, are only part of the equation of building a vision.
I thought I had a vision because I’ve had a list of things that I want to accomplish in my life. However, I now realize there’s more to a vision than having an idea or a list of ideas. Building a vision takes thought, consideration, and imagination. Bob Proctor does a great job of explaining the importance of building a vision here …
Using The Self Authoring Program To Build Your Vision For The Next 3-5 Years
Since I wrote my recent article about gaining clarity and getting after your 2019 goals, I took my list of goals and incorporated them into an articulated vision for the next 3-5 years, and here’s how I went about it.
As I’ve recently mentioned on my blog and on Instagram, I’ve been working on finishing an online writing program called Self Authoring. The program has four modules— 1) Past Authoring, 2) Present Authoring | Faults, 3) Present Authoring | Virtues, and 4) Future Authoring, and the objective of completing the modules is to help one clarify his/her vision and plan for the next 3-5 years.
The program claims that people who write in detail to “collectively” explore their past, present, and future “chart a simpler and more rewarding path through life” as well as become “more productive, persistent, and engaged in life.”
The Self Authoring program was created by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and a team of clinical and research psychologists from the University of Toronto and McGill University. In recent years, Dr. Peterson’s message has gained traction after he began uploading his taped University lectures to his YouTube channel, which now has over 1.9 million subscribers.
Finishing the Self Authoring program was my first major writing goal for 2019. Some might ask, “What’s the benefit of spending time on an online writing program and not just get to work?”
First, I wanted to see greater progress toward my long-term goals this year, so I questioned whether my vision was clear and strong enough. Because I believe in Dr. Jordan Peterson’s philosophies, I trusted that the writing program he developed would be a positive experience on some level and help me create a clear vision.
Now, after going through it and experiencing many powerful realizations and distilling a lot of complex info, I feel as though I now have a clear vision for the next 3-5 years.
While everything is still fresh in my mind, I thought I’d share some of the key things that were revealed to me as a result of going through the Self Authoring program. With each of the 4 modules, I will quickly explain each one, what it revealed, and what I now have as a result.
The program states that one does not have to complete all of the modules and they can be completed in whatever order one wishes. Personally, I felt it would be valuable to complete all of them and start with the past. That just made sense to me, and it worked great.
After going through all four, I will add that I felt the Past and Future Authoring modules were the most valuable.
Not all of the modules take the same amount of time. The Past Authoring module took the longest for me to complete. I also did a little extra work in between each module, and I will explain that as I go.
The Four Modules Of The Self Authoring Program
Module 1: Past Authoring: The Past Authoring module first instructed me to divide my life into 7 Epochs or time periods. My epochs weren’t equal in years but they were pretty equal in significance. For example, my first epoch was the first 18 years of my life, living at home with my parents while my second epoch contained the years from high school until I graduated from college.
Then, for each epoch, I was asked to list about 6 key experiences and was prompted to answer a series of questions about those events that helped me analyze them.
What Module 1: Past Authoring Revealed: The Past Authoring module was a gift in itself. I did spend a lot of time on it, but the results it produced were rewarding and priceless. After printing out my 24-page “autobiography,” I read through it with a highlighter and here is what I gained and realized:
More gratitude for my life’s journey
More trust that life works itself out
How I learned to trust my intuition very early in life and how it continued to guide me through the years
From a young age, I saw potential in others and desired to help others realize their potential
What and who shaped me through the years
The type of people I gravitate towards
What motivates me
Situations when I felt most myself
My top priority in life
Significant, life-defining crossroads
Every situation and challenge is a learning opportunity
Where the limiting beliefs about myself originated and how some that persist are no longer relevant.
An interesting pattern: How during the times that I moved forward in life were preceded by 1) a feeling of discontent and 2) followed by a letting go.
The greatest benefit of going through this process was that by remembering my past from an experienced perspective, it made me feel more grateful for my life’s journey and helped me make new connections and realizations.
Module 2: Present Authoring | Faults: In this module, from a comprehensive lists of undesirable habits, I was asked to select the ones that pertain to me, concerning many different aspects of my personality. Eventually, that list was condensed considerably, and I was asked to 1) write about how each fault in that shortened list impacted me in life, 2) consider a better outcome of that situation and 3) some ideas for improvement in that area.
Module 3: Present Authoring | Virtues: In this module, from comprehensive lists of positive personality traits organized by categories, I was asked to select those that pertain to me. Then, from that list of traits, I was asked to select a smaller, focused list of traits that I would like to capitalize on in the future. Then I was asked to write about each of those traits in detail.
What Modules 2 & 3: Present Authoring | Faults & Virtues revealed: First, it was great to have a condensed list of my strongest faults and virtues. It was great to go through each one and write in detail about how each negatively/positively impacted me in real life and consider ways to prevent faults from impacting me going forward and consider ways to capitalize on my virtues. The benefit of this analysis is that it revealed to me the main things that are holding me back and those that I could further develop. Having two lists to refer to is also helpful.
Module 4: Future Authoring: In this module, I was first asked to imagine different aspects of my life and write about how I’d like to see them in the future. Then, I was asked to close my eyes and daydream about my ideal future as it relates to what I’d like to be doing, where I want to end up, what do I want to achieve these things, how I plan to achieve them and when. Alternatively, I was then asked to imagine and write about the future I want to avoid.
Then I was asked to title and describe my ideal future and list 8 important goals I would need to achieve to realize this ideal future and describe them in detail.
What Module 4: Future Authoring Revealed: What I loved about this module is imagining the details about those things I’d like to achieve and seeing them all come together. I was able to organize these 8 goals into chronological order so I know exactly what I need to be working on at a given time in order to advance to the next goal.
Long-term, large goals can seem overwhelming when there’s so much to be done but when they can be broken down into smaller goals and steps, it simplifies and clarifies what action needs to be taken and gives direction.
The Future Authoring module identified the following 4 critical areas that I need to allocate my time and energy to daily to reach my long-term dreams:
Family comes first
Daily Personal Development & Learning
Daily: Work on my Platform/Blog
Daily: Work on Long-Term Writing Project
Taking the time to write in detail about my past, present, and future was well worth the effort. I now have a better sense of what brought me to this point, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and the steps I need to take and milestones I need to achieve (by certain dates) to realize my vision.
So it’s not just a matter of having a list of ideas, it’s the deep thinking and use of the imagination that gives those ideas the power to activate, drive, and guide action over time.
Not only did the program reveal many valuable insights to me, it gave me a stronger sense of purpose and aim to guide my actions, which is priceless.
This program would be very useful to those who are ready for a change or to take action but …
are unsure about what to do first
feel their long-term goals are unreachable and overwhelming
want to discover and lead a purpose-driven life
Or, it’s simply a great exercise in self discovery.
To learn about the Self Authoring online writing program and how to purchase it, click here.