Some of the most successful companies in the world became that successful because their founders had a vision of the future that inspired their customers and staff.
Google sees technology helping in areas of our lives never before imagined. Apple envisions a future with our technology being an experience rather than just a tool. Tesla envisions a world that is completely released from the shackles of fossil fuels. These visions of the future are what propel their success and navigate them through business and moral decisions as companies.
But how do we get a vision like these if we don’t already have it?
Are we born with a vision?
It seems like the common belief is that these innovators and founders of such inspirational companies were born with their vision of the future. While many of these individuals may act as if they were always motivated by a tangible, articulate vision, but that isn’t often the case. In actuality, it is more like a belief in how things should be, and the vision of a world that meets those “shoulds” slowly develops over time.
Okay, that’s all fine and good, but you still didn’t answer the question. How do we get a vision like the successful innovators of our time if we don’t already have it?
How we develop our vision
There are a few different ways people develop their vision of the future. Some read as many books on as many subjects as possible in order to better understand the way things are so that they can imagine how things should be. Others live their lives always with their ‘innovator antennas’ up. When they bump into something that is taken for granted, or could obviously be improved upon, they take their curiosity and dissect why we have accepted the status quo and how things could change for the better.
There are many other ways, but I’d rather take the time to give you one tool which can help you develop your ability to create a vision of the future you want. This vision is going to help you articulate the purpose of your efforts, and most importantly, help you identify tangible goals to navigate your decision-making.
I do want to make a quick note that, while this article may use terms more associated with inventors and entrepreneurs, this tool is essential for helping you find fulfillment in your career.
So, enough with the intro. What is the tool?
Okay, the tool is called “The Miracle Question.” It’s used by therapists, social workers, life/executive coaches, and even some mentors. It goes like this.
The Miracle Question
If you went to sleep tonight, and as you slept a miracle happened. When you woke up everything in your life was as you have always wanted it to be. What would be different about the world that would indicate to you that the miracle occurred? What would you see? Would anything be happening differently? Would you be doing anything differently?
That’s it. That’s the tool.
you can work through the question as quickly or as slowly as you would like to articulate your answers as much as you want. Here’s how this tool helps.
Picturing the future
When we take the time to picture a future we want to live in, and we practice actually living in that hypothetical world, we are able to point out what is better or different. When we point those things out, have just taken the first step to articulating a tangible change that you want to see happen. For example:
I wake up and spend the morning with my kids. I make breakfast for the family and see the kids off to school and my wife off to work. After that, I take the time to have a few moments to myself in silence and head to work.
At work, I feel important. Not like I’m management, but that I matter. When I work I feel like the work I am doing is actually impacting something. And when 4:oo o’clock rolls around, I have no problem closing down and heading home to my family.
Okay, does anyone see an unreasonable future in this description? Anything like flying cars by next week? No, it’s completely reasonable and even attainable. This, by itself, is a vision for someone’s personal life. Simple and beautiful. I would love that life.
Best yet, we can take a lot from this quick vision of the future. We just need to take the nuggets out of the picture to make goals for our vision.
Break it down
First, we know that kids are wanted. Goal number one. Next, a work schedule that allows mornings and evenings to be spent with family. Goal number two.
On the professional side, we have a desire to be connected to the work. So, finding a job where each person is respected and appreciated. Goal number three. Also, this person wants their work, as a whole, to be fulfilling. Menial and tedious work would not be a good fit! Goal number four.
So, out of that quick vision of the ideal future, we have four articulated goals that can navigate us make that ideal future a reality.
When to use the Miracle Question
The Miracle Question is a fantastic tool for any time you want to improve something in your life, but don’t know where to start. Many times, we try to make changes as they come. Instead, try using the Miracle Question to begin at the end point and work your way back to the present. Knowing the path to your ideal world is half the battle to finding fulfillment.
If you have any suggestions, questions, or thoughts, please write them in the comments section below!