Dream Big: Discover Your Personal Vision

Have you ever had a dream so vivid that you wondered for a few moments after waking up if it was actually real? Can you recall having dreams that were so wonderful you wanted to hold onto them forever?

Visions are a lot like wonderful dreams that express the deepest desires of our heart. In order to develop your own personal vision, I’m going to challenge you to dream big. However because you are going to do this dreaming while awake, you’ll need to dig deep and work hard to capture a true vision for yourself.

It may take you days, weeks, or even months to develop a vivid vision for yourself. But once you do, it will serve as an anchor for every other decision you make. It will guide you and motivate you to create meaningful changes in your life.

I will share some steps you can take to get started on developing your personal vision. Before I do, you need to know that visions can be adjusted and often morph as we go through different life changes. Don’t be afraid to refine your vision as you gain more insights about yourself.

The first time I developed my own personal vision, I had just gone through an unexpected,  divorce after 25 years of marriage. I felt lost and directionless. However, the sudden change in my life did motivate me to do some soul-searching and identify a clear direction for my “next” life. While I have made other changes over the years, my vision is still essentially the same. I’ve always had a passion for encouraging  others to make positive changes. For the past several years, I’ve been guided by my vision as an educator. Now that I’m nearing retirement, I have revised my vision and related mission to help guide me as I move into another phase of my life:

My vision is for individuals of all ages to discover they can harness the power to make positive changes in their lives and in the world around them. (This is my dream – what I see happening as a result of my life work and actions.)

My  mission* (how I’m acting on my vision) is to inspire, encourage, and assist others  in making positive changes in their lives and the world around them through teaching, speaking,  mentoring, modeling, vision map workshops, and writing.

*In future posts, we’ll be discussing how to act on your vision by developing a measurable action plan to carrying our your mission.

Here are some steps you can take to start developing your own vision:

1. Do some deep soul searching about what excites and motivates you.When you have felt the most energized and motivated, what kinds of things were you doing?For and with whom? In what way(s) do you want your life to matter? What problem do you see in the world that your particular passions, interests, or skills could help solve? How do you want to be remembered? 

2. Take an inventory of your interests, skills, and experience. List things that have interested you and where you have spent time investing in these interests. Identify particular skills and talents you have. Don’t forget to think about the experiences you’ve had so far in your life. How have these experiences given you insights or prepared you for your next steps in life?

3. Think about what you want your life to “look like” within the next 3-5 years? What will you be doing? For whom? Where will you be living? What kinds of activities will you be engaged in? Why? (If you are having a difficult time thinking about your life in the future, consider “seeing yourself” in the future by using an app such as Aging Booth  http://www.piviandco.com/apps/agingbooth.)

4. Consider using an intuitive process to circumvent the rational, controlling mindset that often limits our potential. I have a friend and colleague, Susan Rochester, who does visual journaling workshops (www.artephilia.com). As an artist, she recognizes the power of images to speak to us in ways that are “deeper than words.”  I have attended one of her workshops and learned how I was drawn to different images that spoke to me. I’ve also put together a collection of images that I’ve used for a personal collage that speaks to me. My collage includes certain colors (blue, red, and black), pictures of people I admire, images of women speaking, etc., etc. As I built my collage, a picture of my own life became clearer.

5. Think about people you admire or who inspire you. Who are your role models (past or present)? Why do you admire these people?  How have these people influenced or inspired you? What values do you share with these individuals?  What passions do you share with these individuals? Read about some well-known people you admire. How did their life vision keep them moving forward regardless of the circumstances?

Dr. Viktor Frankl, who survived the holocaust and wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, once said, “He who has a why can bear any how.”  Your vision gives you the “why” in life. It reminds you that no matter what you face, you have important work to do with your life.

Your life matters. You have great potential and do have the power to harness that potential once you get a clear focus.

My challenge to you is to start working on your own vision. Grab a notebook and write down some answers to the questions I’ve posed. Do some reflecting. Grab some old magazines and cut out images that speak to you. Make notes about what you are seeing for yourself in the future. 

If you get stuck and have questions, feel free to get in touch. Also, please consider sharing what you learn about yourself and your vision for your own future.

Paula Marie



I am an associate professor of communication in Southern Oregon. I'm also an ancient spirit who has learned how to create positive changes in my own life and use unexpected changes to become more of the person I believe I am meant to be. My vision is to help empower others by sharing how to dream big and develop measurable action steps to achieve those dreams.

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