Life can absolutely get better. It’s not about the things that you have; it’s who you’ve become in the process. You get to take you everywhere.
— Joel Brown
Living a life worth living starts with defining what kind of life you want to live.
Think about it. Have you ever daydreamed about creating a successful business? Or making a masterpiece? Every successful person you know started with a vision. But the main difference is they didn’t stop at dreaming; they envisioned the details of great success until it became a reality.
So how do you turn a vision into a plan that you can act out confidently?
Fortunately, Vishen Lakhiani talked to a leader in the envisioning process in a Mindvalley podcast episode — someone who’s literally writing a book on the subject as we speak. Before Joel Brown became the founder of the world’s no. 1 success and motivation website, Addicted2Success, he started out as a snake catcher in Australia.
He never went to college. After rising in the ranks, he became a sales executive. He’d pick up every personal growth book he could get his hands on. But he still didn’t know how to get out of his frustrating work environment and truly make an impact.
He let his frustration become his fuel and went to a workshop led by Jordan Belfort (you know him as the guy who inspired The Wolf of Wallstreet). Belfort asked Joel what his vision of great success was — and got him thinking about his 10-year master plan.
Belfort asked him 3 questions:
- What are you good at?
- What do you love?
- And what solution will you bring to the world?
That was in 2011. Those 3 questions have made all the difference. Joel’s been able to master that 10-year plan in even less time by working with the 9 principles he lays down in that podcast episode.
Joel says this about the impact a vision can have on your life:
The day that I saw the vision and it was so real to me was the day that I built the courage to lead a life of no excuses.
Here are those 9 principles for envisioning your way to success:
1. Understand the Law of Intention
You’ve probably heard of the Law of Attraction. But there’s actually something more powerful than even that — the Law of Intention.
Think of it this way. If you were standing across the room from a person you wanted to get the attention of, they might see you and come over. But if you started walking toward that person? Well, that would cut the time in half.
2. Identify your top 3 – 5 values
Knowing your values means you’ll be able to consciously vet your choices with them in mind. You can ask yourself questions like,
“Does this opportunity align with what I believe in?”
“Am I acting courageously/compassionately/intelligently right now?”
When you ask the right questions, you make better choices. And when you make better choices, you find more fulfillment.
That’s the power of the vision. It disciplines you. It chooses your friends for you. It teachers you what to say yes to and what to say no to.
3. Don’t chase unicorns
This is probably a good time for an important point: Don’t chase after someone else’s dreams. In the age of comparison, it’s real easy to get sidetracked and sidelined by falling into the Facebook or Instagram rabbit hole.
Joel’s got a phrase for this. He calls it “chasing unicorns.”
Your safeguard against this? For one, minimizing your time on Facebook and social media. But secondly, make sure that you define and redefine your core values. Stay focused on understanding yourself — your motivations, your visions, your responsibilities — and you won’t find yourself on the wrong path.
4. Answer the wolf’s questions
Okay, now that the basics are out of the way, here’s the moment of the truth. How would you answer Belfort’s questions?
After all, you need to find out what crazy dreams you’re willing to chase.
As a recap, Belfort’s questions were:
- What are you good at?
- What do you love?
- And what solution do you bring to the world?
Take the courageous act of consciously looking into your life and future. Write out your answers to these questions when you’re feeling particularly inspired.
5. Use this format
If you’re wondering how to structure your vision for the best chance of great success, here’s your cheat sheet, created by Joel to simplify the process.
- Start with the skeleton: Bulletpoint the core things that matter to you, like how you’d like to help people or what you’d like to be doing 10 years from now. Originally, Joel mapped out 20 bullet points and expanded it later.
- Make the meat the middle: Now’s when you bring in descriptions, feelings, accolades, and specific relationships you’d like to evolve. Ask yourself questions like, “How would I like to feel on a daily basis?” Or, “What kind of friends do I want to have?”
- Save the skin for last: The skin includes the super fine details, such as specific numbers, colors, routines, and more. These will help you see your vision even more clearly.
Joel also mentions that it’s empowering to write out your vision as if you were already there. That way, it can double as a mantra. After all, you have to practice being the person you want to become.
Here’s an example of what he means. You could write out, “I will run a multimillion dollar company in the future,” which is pretty good. Or you could write, “I’m running a multimillion dollar company in the Palisades that gives 20% of my profits to nonprofits of my choice.” Which do you think is more powerful?
6. Find mentors and responsible shortcuts
Being successful takes time — but it doesn’t take as much time as it used to. There are already people out there who are doing part of what you want to do, have the habits you want to develop, or reach an audience you want to reach. You don’t have to copycat someone else — but you’re certainly allowed to draw inspiration and lessons from what they’ve already accomplished and experienced.
So learning from the best is a good idea but what if we don’t all have the cold hard cash or connections necessary to meet those who inspire us?
Joel’s suggestion is that you find ways to create value with your potential audience, peers, and mentors to build your life as you build your community. He says this is exactly what he’s done through his podcast. He offers a platform to the people who inspire him, so that they can reach and teacher a different audience.
In return, he’s had one-on-one conversations with Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Deepak Chopra. He gets to spend a whole hour learning from them, which could easily cost upward of $10,000 if he paid for it straight. Instead, he creates a different kind of value.
The point is, you can do this, too. Sure, you might not have acquired Joel’s audience yet — but there’s always opportunities to create value. You just need to keep your eyes open.
7. Don’t shortchange yourself
Another quick reminder is due: Don’t set your sights too low.
It’s tough in the beginning because we don’t know what we’re capable of. The simple clichéd but totally true answer is, “So much more than you think you’re capable of.”
Of course, it’s natural that we create our vision from where we start, from the mindset we have at the time.
But there’s also a way to hack that. Tim Ferris suggests that if you want to go far, you should ask yourself crazy questions. In fact, Ferris says that all of the most successful people he knows in the personal growth, business, and entertainment fields do this.
Because our brain is designed to solve problems.
So if you ask yourself, “How can I achieve my 10-year vision in 6 months?” your mind will start coming up with solutions you’d otherwise not dream of.
And then, once you’re in the mindset of making sense of wild opportunities, you’ll start seeing them everywhere — and you’ll be bold enough at that point to act on them.
8. Be flexible
Here’s another trick: You need to be excited by your dreams but not attached to them. Otherwise, your dreams trap you instead of liberating you.
By staying unattached and flexible, you are welcoming even greater opportunities to come your way. Having a vision helps you navigate your daily reality, but the other side is knowing that part of life’s joy is allowing ourselves to experience the surprises that come our way.
9. Believe you can achieve great success and ACT
This might be the most important step on this entire list.
Even without a vision, self-belief is a necessary ingredient to learn, grow, and achieve great success. With vision, you’re 10x more likely to achieve what you set out to do.
And when you’re able to combine a vision with belief and action? That’s when you become explosive.
But many people, as Joel says, “live in reward more than responsibility.” So when you subvert that and start living in your responsibility, your ability to respond, your potential, you shoot your chances way up.
Because, to put it simply, most people just aren’t doing that.
When you act with your values and vision in mind, you change not only your life but the lives of those around you.
So, on that note, here’s one more quote from Joel to leave you feeling ready — so that you can open yourself up to what you want and make it happen:
If you doubted your fears instead of doubting your dreams, imagine how much you would accomplish.
Check out the full podcast episode of Vishen interviewing Joel on his envisioning process.
What would the ultimate version of you look like ten years from now? And what do you need to do right now to get there?
Share with us in the comments below.