If you want to accomplish as much as you possibly can, the most important thing to get right is the vision or goal you have to begin with. This is essentially the same as setting your trajectory and without a trajectory, you don’t stand much chance of getting to your destination. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to correctly establish their goals, and this can end up preventing them from standing any chance of success personally and/or professionally.
And actually, if you’re setting off to write a goal then you’re starting out with the wrong intent to begin with. Because ‘goals’ aren’t really as useful as visions – which is what we’re going to explore here.
The Difference Between a Goal and a Vision
So what’s the difference between a goal and a vision? Essentially, a goal is something that you write down and that is very concrete and simple. A goal may for example be to ‘earn a vocational certification’. That’s a goal but it’s also not as effective as a vision designed to the same end.
This same ambition posed as a vision rather than a goal would instead be more the idea of being a certified technician. You might visualize yourself working with customers while helping them obtain a solution to their network problem. You might imagine yourself in a business meeting sharing the number of customers you helped during the week and feeling great when your supervisor tells you what
great job you’ve done. That’s your vision.
A vision can also be an image of yourself standing in an office overlooking the city, knowing that you’re in a position of great importance and power.
This is a much more abstract concept that nevertheless helps you to get a picture of what you want and what the emotion behind that goal is.
Why Visions Work Better Than Goals
So why are visions more successful than goals?
For one, goals are not nearly flexible enough. If you have a goal, then this gives you one thing you’re trying to accomplish and only one idea of how to get there. If it doesn’t go to plan then you have the freedom to change the action steps you’re going to take to get there, or to bend them to fit your current lifestyle, plans and free time.
Another reason visions work better is because they have more emotional content. When you visualize something, the same regions fire in your brain as though it was actually happening. This in turn means that you can actually trigger the emotion as though it were happening. And it’s this emotion we can
use to motivate ourselves to go through with plans!
A great example is when you visualize something you want each and every day as a kid—and when you achieve that goal, it feels like you’ve already been there before.
This is because you’ve conditioned your mind to accept the end goal through visualization prior to the goal being accomplished.
Another example is visualizing a brand-new car. In your mind, you can feel the leather, smell the new car aroma and see yourself driving down the highway. Then, one day you buy that new car and it seems like you’re experiencing something familiar. Well, it is familiar to your brain because you’ve already
purchased the car multiple times before.
Building a strong vision is what creates a passion, purpose and drives your creative mindset to build goals around those passions, purpose and motivations. Your vision is the foundation to any sustainable goals you could ever write down.
So, if you want something to materialize in your life–don’t just set a goal, visualize yourself obtaining that goal and living the lifestyle you’ve always wanted. Once you mind is convinced you can have it, it will guide you through all the challenging goals it may take to achieve them.
Scott A. Coulter, LSSYB/CBC/CLC