“Envision your goals.” “Think big.” “Dream!” Such are the refrains we often come across in some motivational lecture, speech, or blurb.
And, there is truth to these ideas. After all, our visions do inform our actions. Our actions, in turn, build our visions.
But I think it is equally important to dream small. Now when I say this, I do not mean we should aim for low accomplishments. And perhaps to some extent I do mean we should consider the smaller steps that build our larger goals.
But more to my point, what I mean is:
Deliberately envision your very next actions, even simple ones.
This may not be something you do with every action. But there are many times where doing this simple act can bring great benefit.
Doing so provides an anchor for focus. It helps us build momentum in short term and the day. We minimize distractibility and better find flow.
You may wonder, of what benefit is it to consider something small, to pause and imagine something seemingly inconsequential before doing i?. Or you may recognize that plans, simply the written forms of vision, rarely go the way you ever thought they would. What you envision now, may not even be worth doing down the line. Why bother?
Well let’s take, as an example, a morning routine. Before beginning, imagine moving through each step. This may take a moments to do. When done, begin the work.
As you engage, perhaps you notice something out of place—a piece of napkin on the kitchen floor. It was not in your original vision. You’ll need to adapt. Reimagining, you may envision a detour of picking up the napkin as you work. Or perhaps you imagine doing so afterwards.
The important part is the imagining. You imagine both the original work intended and the adaptation. You imagine them both until they become one, a singular new vision.
Moving forward, you become much more likely to accomplish both goals of the morning routine and the momentary clearing of the kitchen without becoming distracted.
It is a simple example. But creating a vision, and then adapting that vision as it goes, particularly at the small scales of life, gives a space for our mind to find flow. And, it is practice for finding larger visions and folding them into life.
The pause for a decision, that first, foremost, and sometimes most difficult exercise of work, is where we envision. When we decide well, aiming for a settled decision about what to do next, we allow thoughts and feelings about that decision to come to mind until new ones no longer do.
As we do so, we envision what the decided work would be. What are its boundaries? What would it entail? What are the steps I know? What do I not know? What can I see about it, as blurry as that currently may be?
These visions create an anchor. They give us a holding and foundation of strength from which to act.