A Powerful Vision for your Life

How to Create a Powerful Personal Vision for Your Life - Dr. Bradford Cooper

Dr. Bradley Cooper
Catalyst - Health, Wellness & Performance Podcast

Full Transcript

Dr. Cooper

Welcome to the latest episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast. I’m Dr Bradford Cooper, and today I will be walking you through the process of creating your own personal vision, your own personal theme for the year ahead. Your 2020 vision. Now, this is a process I’ve been going through for the last seven or eight years, and I don’t want to hold it up as this end all be all. But I will tell you it is a powerful process if you’ll take the time to do it. Most people, they just grab goals out of the year. They read a magazine article. They hear somebody talking about something. The friend sets a goal. They said, oh, yeah, I’ll do that, too. But it’s not tied to who they are, and frankly, they’re not sure who they are or who they want to become. And so today we’re gonna walk through the process. We’ve got a hand out at CatalystCoachingInstitute.com where you can pull this off and kind of walk through it with us if you’d like, or you can maybe go back through it a second time with that in front of you if this is something you’re hearing out of the blue. But this process, if you take the time to do it, can have a major impact on your year ahead. So that’s what we’re gonna go through today is how to create a personal theme for you that’s meaningful, that matters that can then drive your goals going forward.

Dr. Cooper

If part of that vision turns out to be a national board certified health and wellness coach and you’re thinking about pursuing the fast track, don’t wait on that. Our February 8th and 9th fast track in Colorado is filling fast with all the changes come up with the national board certification. People are getting it in they’re getting it on their calendars. So if that’s a goal, jump on CatalystCoachingInstitute.com. Take a look at that. Get on there right away and we’ll see in February. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to us. [email protected]. And now let’s talk through this process of creating your own personal 2020 vision.

Dr. Cooper

All right, let’s jump into this. Now this is not for the person that says Oh, yeah, I just like to set my New Year’s resolution goals and do them for three weeks and then stop and live life as I was before. This is for the person who says I’m tired of the same old thing. I’m looking for better. I want to take my life up a notch. I want to create this powerful vision around the person I want to become what that looks like, what that involves. And then I want to use that as a baseline on which I can develop goals. So goals becomes part two. If you heard our discussion around function mental toughness about six weeks ago, then you heard me talking about that aspect that most people, they set goals. But they’re hollow. They’re based on somebody else’s goals. They’re based on a magazine article I read. Powerful goals are built around who you’re becoming. And this process we’re talking about today is helping you get your arms around who am I becoming? Now I think this year is especially pertinent because it’s 2020 the whole idea of 2020 vision, we talk about it all the time. But now we’re talking about it in a different way, aren’t we? We’re not talking about our eyesight. We’re talking about dialing in, focusing in on what matters most for the rest of our life, and I don’t mean you’re designing that now. But I’m saying you’re getting yourself on that path where you’re identifying exactly the person that you want to become and you’re putting it out there and you’re moving forward with that. And that’s a big difference than the way most people do it. Most folks are simply happy to settle or survive. Let’s just get through the day. And you’re saying, yeah, life is hard. It’s tough to get through the day, but I’m gonna do that 1% more so that a year from now, life is different than it is right now, and five years from now it’s considerably different. And that’s where this is so much fun.

Dr. Cooper

Now, before we jump into the deep end, let’s talk about the quick version, some of you are listening to this and you’ve never done this before. This is all new. As I’m talking about a vision or a theme, you’re saying wait, what exactly is this? It’s completely new and that’s probably most people. I can promise you the impact of this is so powerful in your life if taken to heart, if utilized consistently throughout the year. But you may not be ready for it yet. And so if you’re looking for that quick start version, let me give you that one first. And then maybe that will pique your interest. Just enough to say okay, uh, let me listen the rest of this thing. So the quick start version, if you want to just jump right in and you’re not quite ready for that deeper dive, one way you can start is to come up with a single word or phrase on which you’d like to focus over the coming year. Now we’re gonna be talking about that as part of the bigger approach. But that might be a good way for you to get started. And frankly, if you’re listening to this around New Year’s, maybe this is a good conversation around the dinner table. When you’re out for that walk with your friend. What is that one word? Where’s that phrase that you like to have be a focus area for you in the coming year? Once you come up with it, write it down. Put it in a place you see it consistently. Try it on almost like a new pair of shoes. Does it fit you or is it something you came up with in the midst of the New Year’s, Christmas celebration? You had extra time. You’re home. You’re sleeping in. You thought oh, yeah, I can do all these things and then it doesn’t really fit when you get back to regular life. You have your commute and you have your long days of work and you have all the kids activities. Does it really fit with life? Because that’s the key to this. We’ve got to make sure it fits us, not easily, but it’s gotta fit. So that’s the quick version is come up with a word or phrase. Now, if you’re saying, yeah, I’ve done that and it’s been pretty good. Or, if you’re saying, yeah, I want more than that. That’s where this idea of a vision or personal theme comes in.

Dr. Cooper

So let me walk you through this bigger approach, this broader approach. Now the process I’m gonna walk you through is to give you the steps. What you would go through to do this on your own. And by the way, there’s a form that you can pull. We’ll have it available at CatalystCoachingInstitute.com. That way, you’re not having to scribble down every single thing I say. Or if you’re out running right now or going for a walk, something like that driving in the car, know that you can come back and get all this information on a sheet of paper that we’ve put together for you. But I wanna walk you through it because that piece of paper by itself won’t make any sense without the background aspects of each one of these. So I’ll walk you through those steps and then I’ll briefly share one that I’m working on for myself right now. Now, a lot of that’s very personal. It’s not gonna apply to you at all, but you’ll get to see how we take the multiple steps to this and then put it into practice, and hopefully that will be helpful for you. So the three cornerstones, the three key elements that everything falls under are reflect, collect and connect. So those are the three big stones that you’re gonna work your way through as you do this, this 2020 vision, this personal theme that you’re developing.

Dr. Cooper

So let’s talk about the reflect piece first. And folks, just a reminder. This is not something you do in 10 minutes. If you can get away, if you can spend time, maybe it’s a hike, maybe it’s a weekend away from everybody, maybe it’s just a couple hours, but it’s something. The more you invest your time in this, the more value you’ll get out of it like so much else that we see in life. So the first piece this reflect idea is to do just that to reflect on your past 12 months. What struggles have you been through? What joys have you experienced? And a big one, what are some of the perceived holes? And I’ll talk about one in my own life here in a minute. But what are those holes? So this is just reflecting on kind of what’s been happening, what’s been going on out there in my life because that’s gonna drive where we go from here. If available, pull up the previous year’s theme. If you’ve done this in the past, or maybe last year, you just had a word or phrase. Pull that out and look at it and think through. How did that go? Now, the second piece of reflect is called an F, as in Frank, F5 Opportunity Analysis. These are the five key aspects of life, and you’re gonna think through for each one of these. Where’s my opportunity to grow into more of the person that I want to be? Now, the F5’s stand for faith, foundations, family, finances and fields of play. Now a couple of those are self explanatory, but a couple of need a little bit more. So let me walk you through those. Faith, how’s that going? Is that a part of your life? Is that something you’re working on developing. What does that look like? Pretty straightforward. Foundations, this is fuel and fitness. So what’s going on in your life in terms of fuel? What are you fueling your body with? What’s that fitness look like? Family, and family includes friendships. This is your broader “family”. Some of you are incredibly close to your family. Others you’ve got this core group of friends that is much more like your family, whichever’s you, or maybe it’s a combination. Whichever is you, that’s fine. That’s what you’re looking at as you reflect on this F5 opportunity analysis. You’re gonna think through how could I be more involved in their lives? Finances, pretty straightforward. And then fields of play, fields of play is your career and your hobbies. I think a lot of times we look at our jobs. We look at our careers and we say I’m stuck there. Now some of us may be temporarily stuck, but most of the people listening to this live in free countries where we choose where we are. Now we again, it may not be a choice at this moment to change. Maybe you need the medical insurance for a family member, something like that. And now is just not the time to move. But think through that idea that most of the time in both our hobbies and our careers we’re choosing to walk onto that field. That’s the field we’ve chosen, and we can choose to walk off of it. Or maybe we start developing a plan so that three years from now we walk off of it. But regardless, that’s what the fields of play represents.

Dr. Cooper

So you have faith, foundations, foundations is your fuel and fitness family, including friends, finances and fields of play. So you’re gonna go through each one of those and maybe use a 1 to 10 scale, or maybe just jot some notes down about each one off. Where are you now? Where would you like to be in that area a year from now? Maybe you look further. Maybe you say yeah, a year from now, I think I could be here. But vision wise, I see it being there. And that’s where I’m going, because that’s what we’re trying to create here is who is that person? And we’re gonna talk about that in a second. Who is that person that I want to become? After you’ve gone through the F5 opportunity analysis, I want you to take a step back and consider your phase of life. This is a really important step. There’s this concept out there, and it’s frankly overused in the wellness arena of balance. Do you have life balance? No, I don’t have life balance. And you don’t either. And you probably don’t want it. Because we go through phases of life. Our Children now are 25, 23 and almost 21. The time that we’re spending with them, the activities we’re involved with them today, when one’s in grad school, one’s a 4th grade teacher and one’s a junior in college, in a different town, that’s an hour and 1/2, 2 hours away. That’s a completely different time commitment than when they were 5, 3 and 1 or 12, 10 and 8. And we’re driving them to gymnastics and coaching basketball and taking them to swim lessons and all that kind of stuff. So that’s just a simple example of a phase of life. Our phase of life is different? We have less time with, we love our family time. Anyone who knows the Coopers, knows family is at the top of the list and every chance we get to spend with our kids, we love that. But most of the time they’re two hours away, and so it’s just different. It’s not good or bad. It’s just different. You are in a certain phase of your life right now. Now you don’t use phase of life as an excuse, you use it as a reality check. You look at your life and you say I’m at this phase, and that’s gonna influence these other things.

Dr. Cooper

Now, the key to this and as you look at your F5, that’s why we do this right after the F5. As you look at your five, the key is to make sure that that phase of life doesn’t cause you to blow up one of the other areas. So, for example, in our life, as I’ve just mentioned, our kids we’re with them far less time than we were 15 years ago. But when we’re in the midst of that really busy phase of life kid time, we did our very best to make sure that that time didn’t blow up one of the other F’s. That we didn’t ignore our finances, that we didn’t ignore our fuel or our fitness. You see what I’m saying here? So you consider the phase of life and you make sure that that phase is not blowing up or destroying something else in that core area of the F5. But you’re also realizing balance is not the goal. That’s not what we’re trying to get to. So we’ve got the general reflection, the F5 opportunity analysis and then considering that phase of life now, once you’ve jotted all this stuff down and maybe it’s a journal, maybe it’s a whiteboard, whatever your process is. But you’ve got all this stuff scribbled around, jotted down, stuck in a journal, whatever. Now start to look for patterns. What jumps out? Are there certain phrases that keep coming up? Are there certain patterns that you keep saying, oh man, I keep saying that about being too busy or I keep saying that about never having enough money, or I keep saying that about ignoring my entire faith walk, or I keep saying that about I want to spend more time with my bride. What are those patterns that keep jumping out as you look at those words? And then the last step of the reflect piece, this is the big one, is to figure out to jot down, to identify specifically who is the person I want to become. Who? Not what do you want to accomplish, not what goals you can achieve? Who is that person that you want to become? Because that’s gonna drive everything else and everything we’ve done in the reflection piece up until this point is leading us to that who aspect. So get really clear on that. That is the driver of this whole vision piece. That’s our reflection aspect.

Dr. Cooper

The next section is the collect piece. Now here’s where you’re going to start just brainstorming different themes. You take all those words that you’ve jotted down and you’re gonna start trying to pull them together and maybe form concepts or draw some pictures on a piece of paper. Or start looking at images on a computer that represents some of the things that you’re looking at. And then once you’ve done that, start bringing them together and we’re not looking for some beautiful picture at this point. Just a nice, rough draft, if you will, and I’ll talk about my process this year, it’s literally pen scribble with things marked out all over the place. But it will help you start to bring these things from this wide open, there’s words and thoughts and phrases and images all over the place into this. Okay, I’m starting to get my arms around this thing. So we start with reflect, we go to collect, the last section is to connect. Now, as you have this rough draft version, this is where you’re gonna pause and ponder a little bit. Does this theme, does this vision resonate? For you? Not does it sell to your boss? Not does it sound great to your spouse or your best friend? But to you? This is who you want to become. It’s not who they want you to become. Is not who you’re becoming for them. It’s who do you want to become? So try it on with you first. And then once you’ve done that, then maybe pick out a person or two and float it. You’re just kind of putting little pieces out there. You know, I was thinking… I was just pondering… What do you think of this? Do you think this fits me? If you got somebody that knows you well, this is a good opportunity. Get some feedback and it might reinforce what you were thinking. Or it might make you kind of go back to what you had and maybe change a couple of things.

Dr. Cooper

Now, once you’ve done that part of the connect piece, now we’re gonna try to create something that is kind of cool, and I’m no artist. Anybody, you knows me, you can ask my kids, you can ask my wife, Suzanna. Anybody who knows me knows I have never been accused of being an artist, but I have a lot of fun with this final design piece. And that’s where I take my scribble, my chicken scratch, usually in one of the pages of my journal that I’ve been creating for the last three weeks, four weeks. And I’ll start looking online for images that try to represent that, to pull it all together and start creating this picture. Because you want this to become something that you’ll look at on a regular basis. Maybe it becomes a wall paper on your phone. Maybe it becomes a page you print off and you put it on a three by five card in color that you stick in your day timer. Maybe it sits on a little plaque next to your computer screen at work. Maybe it’s on your mirror so that when you’re getting ready in the morning, you’re reminded this is the person I want to become. This is the theme that represents the person I’m becoming. But you want this to be something that, as you look at it, you say, yeah, yeah, that’s where I’m headed. And then the last step is the follow up. This is where you pull in your coach, your friend, your mentor. Somebody that can provide both accountability, how’s that going, Brad? As well as encouragement. Oh, you stumbled. Welcome to the club. We all do that. How can we get back on track with this vision that you created? So that’s our process. It starts with reflect. Then it leads in to collect putting it all together, and then you wrap up with connect where you’re connecting it to make sure it resonates, that it’s something you look forward to reviewing and you connect with others. Maybe that others is just a single person, but somebody else that can help both encourage you and keep you on that track.

Dr. Cooper

All right, so let me give you a brief example of the one I’m working on for this year. I’m not gonna go into detail because mine should frankly be meaningless to you. It is completely personalized. The one you’re developing, hopefully, you can find a friend or a mentor or coach who can come alongside you and support you with it. But it’s not going to truly resonate with them because it’s your vision. It’s unique to you. And the same thing’s true for me. So we’ll post a picture of this somewhere. And if you’re totally into this and you’re like, well, Brad, what does that picture mean? That’s fine. I’m happy to answer those via email, but I’m not gonna bore you with the details of my life when we need to focus on your life and where you’re going with this. So let me just walk through the steps we went through. I’ll give you a brief version of how I went about that, and maybe that will spark something for you as you move forward in doing this yourself. So again our three major target areas are reflect, collect and connect. So in that reflection period, we actually do a business planning retreat. Suzanna and I get away for a couple of days. No Internet, just nothing. Just the two of us journaling, reading, brainstorming, sharing ideas, those kinds of things, and it’s incredibly valuable. We just started doing that a couple of years ago, every single time, it’s hard to get away. It’s tough to put things aside for that period, but it’s so worth it. And so that was a big part of my first section of reflection. Getting away, pondering some of these things, looking ahead, pulling all the personal business, etc, etc together. And so that was the first step. And so I’d encourage you take a similar step. Maybe it’s not a two day retreat. Maybe it’s, you know, a couple of hours. Maybe it’s a a long hike, but something that gets you away from the constant onslaught of everything else.

Dr. Cooper

I have been doing this for about seven years, so I did have my previous couple of themes with me, and I looked through those and I journalize, well, how did that go? How did you address this? Did that come together? Those kinds of things because our patterns can help us identify key things for the coming year. And so that was a valuable step for me is to pull last year’s especially and go through that and kind of ponder that. Then, the F5, so the faith, the foundations of fuel and fitness, the family and friends, the finances and then the fields of play and just going through each one of those specifically. And again for me, journalizing is very helpful. For you it may be more just talking it out with someone else or on your own or on a walk or something like that. But I really encourage you to hit those five areas because one of the downfalls of the theme is we can get very, especially some of us and I fall into this category on the negative side. Sometimes you can get really focused on one thing and super excited about that. And what happens is that’s great. You know, the whole phases of life thing. Maybe this is the time to focus on that thing. But you don’t want to destroy the incredible value of the other four areas in the process of pursuing that one. And so, by going through that F5 and hitting faith, foundations, family finances and fields of play, it keeps everything in perspective. It allows you to say OK, yes, this is something I’m going after, you know, big time focus. The center of my radar this year. But as I’m doing that. Here’s what I’m going to do to continue to develop my marriage. Here’s what I’m going to do to continue develop family relationships. Here’s what I’m gonna do to make sure I don’t blow up our finances. Here’s what I’m gonna do to make sure that my fitness and my fuel doesn’t fall off the radar, and I turn around five years later and wonder what happened. So all of those things, the faith component is that being left off the table. You look at that F5 in the context as you begin to develop this theme. And again, we’re not looking for balance. But we are wanting to make sure we don’t blow up our lives because we get excited about something.

Dr. Cooper

So I’ll go through that process because I do fall into that tendency far too often, frankly, and then from there I start just creating this rough draft of things and, you know, that’s kind of the collection phase. I’ll start brainstorming phrases, words, concepts, and that frankly, for me, is usually a couple month process. At least you know three or four weeks minimum, where I’ll start jotting a few ideas down in my journal, and then I’ll come back to it and I’ll ponder that. And then I’ll come back to it again. And so for me and again unique to me, you may want to do this in one sitting, but for me, it’s really helpful to put some of those things down, leave them, ponder them and then come back and that’s where we had that collect. And then connect phase to think it through and decide does this resonate as I’m pondering this? So one of the big things for me in 2020 is a concept of margin. So am I creating any margin in my life? I have not historically done a good job of that at all. I’m very poor about creating margin. Suzanna is great at it, and if I would listen to her more, maybe I finally am. But it’s really a valuable thing for me because when I have that margin, that’s when the creativity comes. That’s when the relationships get developed. That’s when I’m able to learn more in terms of education and picking up books and talking to people and working with mentors and that kind of thing. And it’s something that I have not done a good job with in recent years. So for me again, I’m not gonna go through the whole vision here. But one big piece of this theme, as I’m looking at it, is this big, it’s basically a border around my picture. So I’ve got my theme. But around that theme is this big border that for me represents margin, creating this margin in my life.

Dr. Cooper

So that’s just one example. And that was a word that kind of came to mind, you know, six weeks ago and I just kept thinking about is that the right word? Is that the right concept? Is that something that’s important going forward and over time, I decided, yeah, that’s really at the core of what I’d like to see happen in 2020. And so anyway, that just gives an example of how that reflecting and collecting it and then connecting it to see does that resonate and then building things around that. So at that point I had this rough draft kind of scribbled that I’d come back 2,3,4,5,6 times on one page in my journal that I kept adding things and crossing things out and scribbling little things and, you know, marking this one out, putting an arrow over there and then from that, I just get on the computer to have some fun with it. I am definitely not an artist. No one will ever accuse me of being an artist. So I just get on and play a little bit and I’ll say, okay, well, I’m wanting, you know, this and so I’ll go on and look for some images of that, and pull it together. And then I tried to put that into a structure and in the end, you’re trying to find something that resonates with you. It doesn’t matter if I like it. It doesn’t matter if your coworkers like it or your best friend or your mentor. You’re looking for something that resonates with you. And so, as you turn your rough draft into this kind of final visual, just make sure it resonates with you. You’re the one that matters in this thing, because this is a visual that you’re gonna keep coming back to for an entire year. And frankly, I’ve had fun looking back 2,3,4,5,6 years. And so maybe it’s something I think it would be really cool maybe down the road, you know, when I’m long gone, if our kids or grandkids can look at that and say, wow, there was grandpas theme for, you know, the last 20 years of his life or whatever ends up being so maybe you’d have that in mind. But again it comes back to you. Does it resonate with you? Is it something that you put it up on your mirror to look at every morning, and you put it by your computer or you stick it in your day timer or whatever your processes is, the wallpaper of your phone that when you look at it, it makes you think, and it allows you to come back and say, am I becoming this person that in the quietness of my heart, in the quietness of my life three months ago, six months ago, nine months ago, I committed to and I was very focused on the Why’s and what that would produce in terms of a life worth living. Am I doing that? So that’s your goal. That’s your goal.

Dr. Cooper

So, again, final summary here you’ve got reflect, collect, connect. The reflect phase, you’re just thinking through where have I been. And who is that person I want to become? If you go back and listen to last year’s end of December version of this podcast where I went through the same process, the big emphasis was the who. We miss that. We focus too much on the what. We focus too much on the goals and if we’ll first stop and focus on who is it I want to become? That creates this incredible ground swell that, frankly, makes the goals relatively easy to pursue. Once you’re fully committed to that who, the what? That’s just dotting I’s and crossing T’s folks. So that’s that reflect piece. Collect, you’re putting it into this rough version. And then connect, you’re creating this visual. You’re running it by other people. You’re thinking about it with yourself. Does it really address the person I want to become? So that is the concept 2020 vision. Super excited. I would love to see yours. I would love to see yours. Send samples to [email protected] Don’t send me a 17 page document on what everything means, but I would love to have the short version. You know, send me a paragraph about. Here’s why this one really mattered. But I just love this stuff. We do some of this around our Thanksgiving dinner table, we do some of it around New Year’s with our family. And it was funny. I didn’t do it at Thanksgiving this year, and I think two of our kids actually commented and said Dad, like what was up? We’re waiting. We’re waiting for the questions. And so it was a good reminder that even though they may think it’s hokey in the end, maybe there’s some value there. So hope this is helpful to you with again love to see your examples, your samples. And even if you did it last year, how did it go? I’d love to see that as well.

Dr. Cooper

If you have any questions about coaching in general, talking about vision, we have a couple of extra coaching certification fast tracks coming up in 2020 because this is the year everything changes. At the end of 2020 the National board certification gets tougher. You’ll still be fine if it’s not the right time for you, you don’t have to rush into it for the wrong reasons. But if it’s on your radar and you’ve been thinking about doing it, I would just encourage you to get it done. The requirements change at the end of 2020 which means you’re gonna have to take several more courses, and as a result, you’re going to spend more money. So if you’re on the fence and you’re thinking, yeah, probably want to do this next year or two again, totally up to you. But you can save a decent amount of time and money if you go for it. The next one coming up is February 8th and 9th in Denver, Colorado. Great time to come to Colorado if you’re skier, especially. Denver’s Fine. We have dry roads most of the time, but the mountains have great skiing in February. So if you want to come and extend your trip and get some skiing in before or after the course, that might be good timing. But regardless, beautiful time to come to Colorado. The one after that will be April 4th and 5th, also in Colorado, and love to see you at either one of those. Those two courses will fill. So don’t wait too long. Because of the changes, we’re having a lot more interest, people contacting us about, you know, when is this coming. How do we get in? How do, you know, what’s the process for the board exam? And again, keep in mind if you’re wanting to go for the national board exam, we have some study groups that are set up to help you with that. So enough me talking about the fast track. If you’re interested, you know how to find us. [email protected] I’m so excited about this episode. I love this theme stuff, even extra excited about it, as I mentioned before about this whole concept of the 2020 vision for the year 2020. Give it a shot. It’ll make a difference. Until next time, this is Dr Bradford Cooper signing out. Make it a great rest of the day and I’ll talk to you soon on the next episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness coaching Podcast.