Clarity is Everything
When you're clear on what you want, it focuses the mind. There's a great mind 'trick' you can try that demonstrates this. Let's try it now...
Look around the room you're in and pick out everything that's red. In five seconds make a mental note of exactly where each item is. Now close your eyes and try to remember the location of every item coloured green.
Hard isn't it? The reason for this is that we condition our brains to go looking for the stuff we want. So if our brains are conditioned to go looking for things that are red, when we actually want green things - we're in trouble. That's why having a vision for what you want is so important. This applies just as much to your business as it does to your personal life. By creating a clear vision for what you want, supported by specific goals that feed into this vision - you have a much higher chance of getting there. As the old saying goes "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."
Now that's all well and good - but how do you get clarity? If you're anything like me, it's hard to suddenly switch the brain from getting through the tasks and meeting deadlines into 'vision and goal-setting mode.' You have to change your mindset first. Edward de Bono is a great advocate for this - and in his book 'Six Thinking Hats' he asserts that we can switch on different ways of thinking, with each way represented by a different coloured hat. Red for instance is gut-feel, emotional thinking - while black is logical reasoning.
I love this approach - but I struggle to simply snap into a new way of thinking, at the drop of the hat (if you'll excuse the pun). So my approach is to add meditation to the equation. It's a simple practice of closing your eyes and slowing your breathing so your in-breath is as long as your out-breath - each being around 4-5 seconds. Do this for a few minutes and you'll notice your mood change. What it does is slow your brain waves so you go from an alert state to a relaxed state. This effectively drops the firewall between the thinking, logical part of your brain and the intuitive, feeling brain. In doing so you open up to your values and beliefs - and that's where you need to be when you ponder your vision.
So next time you sit down to plan your business or personal life - start with donning a metaphorical 'planning hat' and do a simple meditation exercise. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.