I get a lot of questions from coaches who want to help their clients with life planning or life visioning. Often people - and their coaches - are looking for a catch-all tool, workbook, visualisation or some other technique to help their clients.
The thing is, there are endless life vision exercises and ways to come up with a life plan. Maybe that's why we sometimes feel overwhelmed and need help.
First, let's get clear about why people might want a life vision:
Well, if you don't know what you want you'll end up with what you get!
1) DIRECTION: When we have a life vision - it gives us something to work towards. It gives us clarity, so we can go through our days knowing we're working towards what we want - and what's truly important to us. This clarity of direction helps us make the right decisions and choices - for us.
2) INSPIRATION: A life vision should be inspirational. If your client's life vision is ho-hum, they're not going to want to do anything about it. Our life vision should align with our values, and be inspiring so that we WANT to take action towards it. The purpose of a life vision exercise or plan is to create a desirable future that helps us to focus our lives - and inspire us to take action towards it.
Here are the Life Vision Exercises I Use With My Clients:
This is a series of 3 simple, but powerful one-page life vision exercises to help clients connect with themselves and what they truly want from life.
- Rocking Chair Life Vision Exercise. This is a writing or journalling exercise where they imagine being 90, happy, healthy and look back over their life and what they have achieved. This gives a broad life vision - and points to key life values which can be helpful when helping to identify a client's values.
- Get Perspective Vision Exercise. This exercise asks them to detail where they want to be in 10 years, then 5, 2, 1 and 3 months time. The exercise deliberately works back from 10 years to the present day - this way they really get a sense of what they need to do NOW to make their 10 year goals happen.
- 3 Month Vision Worksheet. This exercise asks people to consider where they would like to be in 3 months time in key life areas (eg. Personal Life, Home and Family, Health and Well-being, Career). It then asks for obstacles, who they need to be to achieve these goals.
When you do these 3 life vision exercises in sequence like this you get a broad overview of the vision our clients have for their life AND bring it right back to the present day/immediate future. This helps them focus on what they need NOW to do to get moving in the next 3 months that fits beautifully into the overall vision they have for their life. And there is plenty of scope for additional coaching, homework (or homefun) around each of the exercises.
And 7 Other Great Life Vision Exercises or Life Planning Ideas:
- What would they want said about them in their eulogy - or at their funeral/memorial service? What would be written on their tombstone?
- Ask them to write about their "Ideal Day". They should start their "Ideal Day" from when they wake up - and write out what they would like their day to be like - what they would do, how they would feel, who they would see, what they are working towards etc.
- You could do a creative visualisation exercise where you talk them through meeting their future self and explore the life, relationships, environment etc. that their future self is living.
- The magic wand question. If they had a magic wand, what life would they create for themselves? What would they do in the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and then 25 years?
- You could also simply use a Wheel of Life and ask your client what they would like their life to look like in each of the key areas? They could write a list of what they want in each of the wheel segments.
- Also, (especially if you coach people in person - but this could also be done over the phone) you can make this experience even more memorable by turning the exercise into something 'physical' they can do. How? Devote a whole session to their life visioning: Put pieces of paper on the floor representing the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and then 25 years. Get them to step on each piece of paper in sequence, close their eyes and then ask them questions - what do they see/feel/hear, who is there with them, where are they, what do they love about it? Use the Wheel of Life Categories to ask what is going on in their life. Make notes for them as they go and then (if they are interested) give them homework to summarise and write this up in their own words.
- Get your client to create a Vision Board for their LIFE.
Top Tip: The more they write, the more life vision exercises they do, the more detail they will go into. And the more rich and detailed their life vision is, the more inspiring it will be.
Like I said, there are endless ways to help people create a strategic life vision. Take an idea, play with it. Get creative and have fun!
"The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams." Og Mandino
If you liked this article on life vision exercises you may also like:
- Goal-Setting Tools Value Pack (includes the 3 life vision exercises mentioned above)
- How to Identify a Client's Values - A 3 Step Process for this Essential Coaching Tool!
- Give Your Client a HUG – A Huge Unbelievable Goal!
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