“Imagination is one of the spoils of colonization, which in many ways is claiming who gets to imagine the future for a given geography. Losing our imagination is a symptom of trauma. Reclaiming the right to dream the future, strengthening the muscle to imagine together as Black people, is a revolutionary decolonizing activity.”
—adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy

You’ve probably heard of the studies that show that when athletes, performers, and leaders imagine a vivid picture of success, their performance often improves dramatically. It’s true.

Having a clear internal image of the future you want can help you clarify your priorities, focus your attention on what’s most important, and prevent you from wasting time following some shiny object away from what’s more important.

When you’re face-to-face with a global pandemic, centuries of systemic racism, and a neofascist president, so much can feel out of your control. It can be hard to hold onto your vision of the life you long for. However, visions that can compel us forward toward the future we desire are arguably more important now than ever. The image of a desired next horizon is like a beacon that inspires hope, helps us move through fear, and make the difficult yet necessary choices we need to get there. The clearer your vision, the better your chances of manifesting it. 

With that in mind, I’m going to share with you the Next Horizon exercise. 

I guide all of my new clients through this practice in our first or second session together, and it can dramatically increase their clarity about their next steps. This practice is longer than most I offer through my blog. It will likely take you anywhere between fifteen minutes and one hour. When you’re ready, I invite you to begin.

Find a distraction-free space where you feel comfortable. If possible, I invite you to do this exercise with your eyes open, standing up, facing straight ahead, as if you were looking out toward the horizon. The shape of your body is a metaphor for who you want to be. When you’re taking a stand physically, it can be easier to feel that you’re taking a stand for the future that is calling you. If that’s not possible, though, you’ll get just as much out of this sitting down.

In this exercise, you will be envisioning the next horizon of your life that you’re able to see. By that, I mean this: Some coaches will ask you to create goals for a specific time period in the future— five years, two years, one year, six months. But the reality is the amount of time you imagine is arbitrary, and the timeline you’re able to imagine depends on where you are right now. Sometimes you’re at the ocean, able to see for miles. Other times, you’re bushwhacking through a dense forest, only able to see a few feet ahead. The exact amount of time you envision into the future is arbitrary, and exactly when you’ll reach your next horizon is unpredictable. Rather than asking yourself what you want to do in one or two or five years, I invite you to imagine the next horizon that you’re able to see. 

Also, it is okay if you cannot see the entire puzzle. Let go of trying to see details you’re not able to see right now. We’re just identifying ingredients you need to feel truly fulfilled, gathering puzzle pieces that you long for in the next phase of your life. For now, you’re not trying to figure out precisely how you’ll meet your needs. With that in mind, I invite you to settle your body and write down every detail that comes up in response to the following questions: 

Your Next Horizon

  • What do I know about what I want to be doing with my life on the next horizon of my life?
  • How do I want to feel on my next horizon?
  • Which puzzle pieces am I able to see? 
  • If you find yourself listing things you don’t want, pause and ask yourself: What’s the opposite of what I don’t want? What is it that I do want?
  • Write down every detail you can see. Keep asking yourself: Is there anything else? What else? Stop when you feel complete.

When you feel complete, write a list of the puzzle pieces you gathered. Write them down in the present tense, as if they were already happening. For example:

  • I have a job that is impactful and fulfilling.
  • I feel healthy and at home in my skin.
  • I am present to the people I love.

Then, put your vision somewhere you’ll regularly see it, such as next to your bed or on your desk. This way, you’ll be reminded of your vision.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Much love,

 

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