Why Transformation Can't Happen Without a Vision or a PlanJul 07, 2021
I lied. Transformation can happen without a vision. The problem is that you can’t be at all assured that the transformation will be a desirable one.
For instance, if I eat Cheetos every day for 3 months, I will undergo a transformation.
If I am bored and lonely, and I spend a lot of time on Amazon ordering random shit, my credit card balance - and my financial situation, likely - will be transformed.
Even in your career - if you get a job, and just kinda go along with it through the years, how much of a transformation (in this case, success, development, promotion, satisfaction) do you think you’ll achieve?
Well, to put it bluntly, if you’re a woman, you will be sidelined. It’ll be chalked up to not making work a priority, or being focused on family, or not being very smart or ambitious or capable.
A man, on the other hand? MUCH better chance of moving up the ranks, getting raises and opportunities, even if he’s a bonafide slug. Don’t believe me? Go look at the research.
So, yes - the transformation can happen without a vision, but it’s worth asking what might happen if you did have a vision.
What the hell do I mean by ‘vision’? Do I mean an epiphany, a drug-induced phantasmagoria, akin to “Kubla Khan” (shout out to the literary geeks like myself!). No. At least, I hope not.
Like ‘transformation’, it’s definitely the word du jour - trending everywhere. I’m not a big fan of jumping on the train (in fact, I generally run in the opposite direction), but this is something that I was dedicated to long before it was ‘cool’...like plaid.
I wore plaid before it was cool, when it was cool after it was cool….probably be buried in plaid.
Vision 1.0 I will retire to the West Coast.
Vision 2.0 I will retire to Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, by the end of my 55th year. I will purchase a Cape Cod-style home within 2 blocks of the beach. The yard will be a full-blown garden, with areas for sitting and reading. I will wake each day in my queen size bed with white cotton sheets and a puffy white duvet, complete my 10 minutes of stretching, and then walk my dog, Zeus, down to the beach for a 45-minute session of stick throwing and deep thinking. When I return home, I will prepare and eat breakfast - berries, a buttery croissant, and a pot of locally-roasted French press - and sit down to my morning’s work - writing. My desk will face out towards the ocean, with a full view of my garden.
Big difference, right?
The interesting thing about the 2.0 version is the power that that kind of imagination starts to have on possibility: once you’ve gone to the work of painting such a full picture, you’ve got several things already sorted out - and you can begin to see where other things need to be dealt with in order for this to vision to become reality.
Survivor - The Transformation Edition
It is at this point that the proverbial rubber hits the road: it’s well and good to visualize an intricately detailed dream for your future, but it’s an entirely different reality to make it happen. This is where the girls are separated from the women.
You see, what happens at this point is the difference between transformation-with-a-plan versus the Wild West approach of “whatever”.
Many women - if they get as far as the detailed vision - panic. They tell themselves it’s too hard, too expensive, too impossible, that they’re not good enough, worthy enough, lucky enough.
Which is, of course, utter bullshit.
A vision - and subsequent transformation - is not magical. If you want magic, go reread Harry Potter.
What you actually need is a plan.
A real plan.
A plan with goals.
And accountability - you can’t forget the accountability.
And THAT’S why I say you need a vision BEFORE attempting transformation: because how will you plan, make goals, build in accountability if you DON’T HAVE A VISION?
The vision gives you the details to break down into specifically digestible - and therefore achievable - steps. It ALSO (and this is the bonus part) gives you the motivation, the desire, the dream of what it is you are actually pursuing - the end game if you will.
Too many women go through goal-setting activities without a vision - just a nebulous idea of a future self that seems kinda desirable. And that’s simply not enough to keep going when things get hard.
Which it absolutely will.
I’m always surprised by how many women have never heard of SMART goals. Or, if they’ve heard of them, it’s in a sort of distance, not-for-me, it’s only for men/corporate settings...again, utter bullshit.
Or it’s “too much work”.
So, “hoping for the best” and just “going along with things” and “settling” is preferable to setting (and keeping) goals?
Like I said: THIS is when the girls are separated from the women.
Was I always a goal-setting-and-achieving machine??
Of course not.
In fact, I was raised in an environment where a planned goal wouldn’t have been recognized if it slapped everyone upside the head.
What changed for me? Simple. I watched what was happening over and over again, witnessing how nothing ever changed, how promises were made and broken, lives were lived (to their ends) with regret, lost potential, and bitterness.
The pressure was enormous for me to stay in that world: that family, that town, that culture, that business, that lifestyle, that future. I didn’t have any resources - money, support, opportunity, you name it.
In fact, the more that I wanted to leave and change, the more the obstacles stacked in front of me grew. One path was left clear - making it easy and obvious - and entirely wrong. But the hope was that I’d take that path, given the problems I’d have to surmount to take - or, in this case, bushwhack, a new route.
You know how the story ends: if you’re hearing/reading these words, you know that a route was found.
I will fully acknowledge I had a number of things going for me: I am white (super-white, if we’re measuring skin tone), literate, English-speaking, non-immigrant, finished a high school education, didn’t suffer certain forms of abuse, had enough to eat, had shelter and safety, am cisgender. I am aware that any one of those things changing would have made the difficulties even greater, in some respects.
However, negating my experiences doesn’t serve anyone - because there are lessons I’ve learned (the hard way) that can be leveraged beyond my personal experiences. And that’s where we circle back to SMART goal-setting.
My first few years on my own were not planned - they were definitely lived in the ‘point and pray’, ‘living on a prayer’, ‘hope for the best’, ‘ride or die’ fashion. Dumb luck and damn hard work helped a great deal, but it was definitely ad hoc.
I was probably 24 or so before I came across goal-setting; I was probably 39 before I got serious about it; I was 45 before it became a non-negotiable.
The interesting bit - and this is where this all ties back to transformation and vision - is that I had a very clear vision for a long time. What I didn’t have was a plan (and, subsequently, no goals).
It wasn’t until I lined all three up that truly amazing shit began to happen.
And that’s what I want for you. I want you to desire transformation; I want you to build a vivid, powerful visualization of the life you want to live; I want you to come up with a plan to get you to your vision.
Amazing shit will happen to you, too.
I’m here if you need me.
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