In reflecting on the legacy of Dr. King, the “I Have a Dream” speech, and the upcoming inauguration, I thought about what holds us back on an individual level from achieving freedom in our lives.
Given the way my life started, no one would ever think I would be where I am today. Growing up, my mother had a severe drug problem. We lived in one of the worst housing projects of the South Bronx. To give you some example of my environment, on my daily descent from our fourth-floor apartment, the stench of urine greeted me every day. One day, while heading to school, a large pool of blood welcomed me in the lobby. Apparently, someone was attacked and likely killed. Needless to say, this was not the life I desired for myself.
When we’re in circumstances that are not ideal, safe or limiting, it can crush our hope. Currently, you may be looking at your life and thinking, “I don’t want this for myself any longer” or “I’m meant for so much more than this.” The job may no longer fit you. The relationship doesn’t honor your worth. Yes, it’s alright to feel that way!
When I decided I didn’t want my mother’s life, I was eight years old. It was a sunny spring day and I was sitting in my bedroom gazing out the window at my favorite tree. In response to this decisive thought, I heard a voice say, “Go to Harvard and become a doctor.”
Until this day, I have no idea how my eight-year-old self, a poor Black girl from the South Bronx, could formulate such an idea. I concluded God spoke to me that afternoon. My own question followed this directive. I asked, “How will I do that?”
Within seconds, the voice answered, “Keep doing well in school.” This brief inner-dialogue motivated all of my decisions until twelfth grade.
I share this story because it highlights the first strategy you must employ to break through obstacles holding you back. Before I share the strategy, let me ask you this:
What’s preventing you from living your dream life?
Are you still living the life your parents or others expected of you?
Are these expectations in opposition to what you really want to do?
Do you sometimes feel sad or depressed about your life?
Do you have a certain dream, but are you scared to pursue it?
Perhaps it will require you have to leave the comfort of the “known”- such as your job, family or the friends you’ve known since childhood.
Or do you just not know how to get to where you desire?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have an obstacle preventing you from your dream life:
- Other people’s expectations
- Unsupportive environments
- Apathy or feelings of hopelessness
These obstacles prevent you from living on your terms. Declaring a Vision is #1 strategy to overcoming these obstacles. Why? Vision propels!
Have you heard this before: “You can be anything you want to be” or “You can do anything you set your mind to.” These statements are partially true or rather they are true, but what people don’t tell you is the HOW part. When I figured out the HOW, many things became easier.
How to Create a Vision
Create a vision not of what you want to do, but who you want to be. Being is a way of existing in the world.
When you start to envision your dream life, consider how you want to be known. For example, will you be known as a woman who values excellence or someone who is great with problem-solving? An adventurer or an overcomer?
My initial vision included a profession and a specific school. But really, my vision was about me being a person who had opportunities. I realized to fulfill this dream, I had to take advantage of what I already value: Being a person who cherished doing well in school.
As I matured, I understood I wanted to be a person who lived life satisfying her curiosity and helping people. A doctor fit into that vision and what I liked even at the age of eight.
One of the reasons I didn’t go to Harvard or become a doctor was I became the person I desired to be. The way I wanted to live out my dream in terms of career changed over time, so the HOW revealed itself in different ways.
When we discuss vision, you now have to do it in a radically different way. It’s not solely what you want to do, but who you want to be & become.
Let’s Declare Your Vision for Your Life
You envision a dream for your whole life or a specific component of it. For example, you could envision who you want to be in your relationship or who you desire to be as you navigate this season of your life.
Take time today to speak a NEW reality into existence.
Your Sista in Success,
P.S. Once we have a vision or we’re figuring out how to craft it, the next step is to build support. If you desire support in activating your vision and getting the help you need to take your life & business to the next level, apply today for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session, click here to learn more