Pursue What Matters
Episode 34: Preparing for 2020 Part 1: What is Your Vision for Your Life?
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Are you ready for 2020? Me neither. It’s okay. If you’re not, you came to the right place. I’m so excited because I’ve got a three part podcast series that is going to get you ready for 2020. And today, we’re going to get started with purpose.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:41
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the pursue what matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work? Well, you may still be digging out of wrapping paper. And if you are, that’s totally okay. There’s no rush. But today, we are going to start preparing for our 2020 that don’t worry, we are not doing New Year’s resolutions, I promise, I am never going to do new year’s resolutions. Let me just say, I hate them. And they are almost entirely useless. So I’ll have a bit more to say about New Year’s resolutions in part three of this podcast series. But for now, I’ll just say that it’s so silly that we put so much pressure on ourselves to have these new year’s resolutions figured out on January 1. Life doesn’t work like that. Goals don’t work like that. And so is it any wonder that resolutions set under pressure on New Year’s often tend not to stick no surprise here. Of course, there are other reasons as well. But that’s a big one. So of course, we do not want to fall into that trap. So I hope you will take some time to plan for the upcoming year. So even though I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, I am a fan of goal setting. And the start of the year is an excellent time to do that. It’s just a naturally good time to do that. And of course, the end of each year is a perfect time to review our year, reflect on the time that has passed our successes, our failures, our challenges and our strengths. It really affords us an opportunity to consider our values and our purpose and to realign as needed. So that we really are ready to move forward on a clearer path. And I came across this quote from Yvonne one, it’s who and I apologize, I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that correctly. She said sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead. And I think that that is so true. And that is exactly what we want to do at the end of 2019. So that we really can look ahead and plan well for 2020. So that’s what we’re gonna do with this three part Podcast Series over the next three weeks. And so I really hope you will join me each week as we prepare for 2020. Today at part one, we are focusing on purpose. And the question we really are going to focus on with this podcast today is asking what is your vision for your life? And no big deal? Right? Just Just a tiny question there. So of course, part one really focuses on the big questions. And I want you to think of part one as the mountain. It is your vision for your life. And it’s essential that you have clarity of purpose so that you know where you are heading. Of course, not just in 2020 but long term where you are heading. If you can’t see the mountain in the distance, it will be very difficult for you to find your way. And so today we are really going to be focusing on how to help you get clear on your vision and purpose so that you are crystal clear about where you are going. And here’s the key, why it matters, why it matters. And then next week in part two, we will focus on path and my message to you next week is Don’t let your dreams ruin your life. And I speak from experience without one
Dr. Melissa Smith 4:58
I will have a lot more say about that. We don’t let your dreams ruin your life. So that might sound strange to you now, but I promise you, it will make more sense as we jump into part two, with the path. The path is all about having flexibility and recognizing that our path unfolds in front of us. And that we must learn to trust the timing of our path. We can’t know the end from the beginning. And so for those of us who are control freaks, yeah, I’m talking to you, I’m also talking to myself moving along the path can be really painful at times, because we have really rigid expectations about how our life should be proceeding, we, you know, tend to believe that there’s an owner’s manual, and our life is not following it, you know, like, how dare it. And ultimately, this is a recipe for misery. And so that’s all I’m gonna say about Part Two right now. But Join me next week, and we’re going to do a deep dive into the path. And then in two weeks, we will tackle part three, which is priorities, where I will address this little truth, you’re overwhelmed. Now what, and I promise, I’m going to help you break down everything you’ve learned in the podcast series, so that you can move into 2020 confidently with some goals, but without the pressure, the overwhelm or the guilt. Because like, seriously, let’s go into 2020. Without the guilt, because you’ve got enough, you’ve got enough to do and you’ve got big, big plans, and you’ve got great things ahead, and you do not need guilt, you do not need pressure, you do not need overwhelm. So hopefully that sounds good to you. Let’s get started with part one. Of course, this podcast is titled pursue it matters. And so of course, I’m totally passionate about helping you pursue what matters, because otherwise, you are just wasting your time. And there are very few things that I hate worse than wasting time. My kids like they see me come in. If it looks like they’re wasting time, like they know, they just need to like head for cover. But how sad would it be if you discovered that you spent all of your time and your energy pursuing something that in the end didn’t matter? I mean, my goodness, I would be so sad. But the truth is that this happens for us all the time. We pursue the titles, the paychecks, the degrees, the corner offices, the size for pants, I mean, whatever it is, believing those things will give us something that we desire, only to discover, when we’ve collected the ribbons earned the title squeezed ourselves in those jeans or not. We still feel empty inside. Or the accomplishments are fleeting, at best. And this is this is my, this is my thing, there’s got to be something more. And my guess is you’ve had that thought too, there’s got to be something more. And there is. So the research is really clear that pursuing external rewards, right? So the degrees that paychecks The, the jeans, whatever, leads to only fleeting happiness, but pursuing purpose leads to lasting happiness, that leads to peace, and it leads to resilience. So let’s define purpose. Let’s kind of try and pin this down a little bit. So purpose is a noun. And a really basic definition is the reason for which anything is done created or exists. So when you consider purpose, think about directionality think about fulfillment. So I want you to think about fulfilling your purpose as an individual. So it’s kind of easy to think about moving into the future. So you’re, you’re heading in a direction you’re heading into the future. And so when you think about purpose and goals, you want to do what contributes. So purpose asks, What can I give the world? And that comes from Morton Hanson, who wrote the great book great at work. And passion and purpose are related but they are not the same. So passion is this idea of doing what you love. But passion asks,
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:54
What can the world give me? Whereas purpose
Unknown Speaker 9:58
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:00
What can I give the world? And how can I contribute? So purpose is really focused on contributing to other people, and serving others meaningfully. And passion is kind of what’s going to be personally fulfilling to me and kind of what can the world give to me. But the key is, with when it comes to passion and purpose is you want both in order to be effective. And so, Morton Hanson has done some great research on this. And he talks about this as p squared, that you need passion and purpose in order to be effective. And so I also want to talk about purpose and meaning because these are also related terms. And so when we think about meaning, and I was talking with Dr. Anna Packard, she’s been on the podcast before, she’s one of my dear friends. And, you know, she’s taught some positive psychology classes about this. And so I was like, asking her again, like, okay, help me, help remind me the difference between purpose and meaning. And so we’re kind of batten this back and forth. And meaning, they’re, they’re definitely very closely related. But meaning is often reflected as you kind of look back on your life. Whereas if we think about purpose, it’s kind of moving forward. And in terms of like fulfillment, and so again, they’re really closely related. And a lot of times, you know, just in in conversation, that sort of thing, they’ll they’ll often kind of be used interchangeably. And so we don’t need to get too mixed up in, in semantics. But anyway, just a couple of thoughts there on purpose and passion and meaning. But like I mentioned in the introduction, I want you to think about this part one, as a mountain. And this question is, what is your vision for your life? And so if we think about your vision is your mountain and vision really asks this biggest question, this big, big, big life question? What am I here to do? vision asks, How can I uniquely contribute? vision asks, How can I best serve the universe? And these are huge questions. And most of us do not have answers to these questions. I mean, poof, they’re big questions. So this is from Cheryl Strayed, of course, She’s the author of wild, she also has some other great books, including brave enough, which is a fun little quote, book. And it’s really fun, very irreverent, I really like it. But she puts vision and purpose in perfect perspective. So she says, Stop asking yourself what you want, what you desire, what interests you. Ask yourself instead, what has been given to me? ask, What do I have to give back? Then give it I absolutely love that from Cheryl straight, because it really shifts your perspective. And it really is about contribute contributing meaningfully, which is what vision and purpose are all about. And so let’s go back to our metaphor of the mountain. So vision is the mountain in the distance, and sometimes it is shrouded in clouds. So remember, like these big, big questions. A lot of times we do not have clear answers to these questions, because these are some of life’s biggest questions. So the mountain is in the distance, it’s shrouded in clouds, and it can be difficult to see but it is like a North Star guiding your journey. So you may not know the details of the mountain, but you can see it right I mean, because it’s a mountain and you can be hold it and you may even be in awe of it. So you know I live in the shadows of a beautiful mountain. It is the second highest peak in the state of Utah. It’s Mount timpanogos and I live at I live in the foothills of Mount timpanogos and is incredible and it you know
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:58
I can always see it from my House, anywhere I go. In my little community, I can always see timpanogos. And of course, I live along the Wasatch Front. And you know, which is a range of mountains here in Utah. And of course, the Wasatch Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains. And it’s interesting because a lot of people out here often say that they navigate according to the mountains, right? Like, okay, we always know where East is, because of the mountains. And so even though you might not know exactly the name of all the mountains, you always know where the mountains are, because they’re the mountains. They’re huge, right? They, and they’re unmoving. They’re not going anywhere. And so this is what we want to think about when we think about vision. So you may not know the details of the mountain, but you can see it, you can be hold it, and you are in awe of it even. So it we had a really, I had a really interesting experience. Yesterday morning, I had a client in my office and I have these huge, beautiful picture windows in my office on to two sides of my office have a nice corner office. And it was a very foggy morning, and she was looking out my window. And we have a beautiful view of Mount timpanogos, actually from my office. But it was a very cloudy morning. And she looked out my window and she said, I can’t see the mountain. I can’t see the mountain this morning. And she said, I can hardly see the mountain, but I can’t see it this morning. And I said the mountain is there. Don’t worry, the mountain is there. And that is what vision is like for us.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:07
Sometimes you can feel vision in your bones, more than your ability to see it clearly. And sometimes you can only see it clearly in your mind’s eye. But it still exists for you. Sometimes you just have to trust it in your gut. But you still have to climb the mountain. Right? You still have to make that journey. And this is what’s true. That mountain and the peak the summit is a lot further away than it looks. And you know, even though I live at the base of Mount timpanogos. And I see it every day, and I’ve climbed it several times, it is a beast to climb. And every time I climb, am I cool? Now is a lot longer and a lot harder than it looks. So now purpose is absolutely linked to vision. So purpose is your why it is your reason for climbing the mountain. So hopefully that is clear to you. And clarity about purpose is essential. So passion and creativity inform purpose. And of course purpose is all about asking the big questions, right vision is that biggest question. But when it comes to purpose, there is a recognition that you cannot be and do everything. So you must pay attention to what sparks your excitement, your creativity and your passion. And so you’ve got to pay attention and quiet yourself as you consider some of these big questions. And so that that’s it’s really exciting to think about some of these things. And sometimes it can be kind of daunting, and a little bit overwhelming. And I just want to say that it’s okay. If you don’t have answers to these questions right now, the important key is to begin asking them and then to quiet yourself enough to begin exploring possible answers, recognizing that there’s really not one right answer. And so this is why this part one of the series is so important because so many of us just jump straight to goal setting without ever taking the time to slow ourselves down, quiet ourselves and really identify what matters to us. And so we set goals that we’ve been told should be important to us, or that are maybe important to our parents or our employees. To our boss, or are important to our partner. And we haven’t actually taken the time to figure out what matters to us. And so we end up hustling for goals or pursuing priorities that serves someone else’s purpose, and not our own. And then we wonder why we’re burned out, or we wonder why we’re depressed, or we wonder why we’re unhappy. And we just think we’ve got to snap out of it. And we’ve got to be happy, and we’ve got to do more. And maybe that’s not it. Maybe we got to get clear about vision. Maybe we got to get clear about why we’re doing what we’re doing. And maybe we got to stop doing what we’re doing. And we’ve got to start doing something different. Something that truly matters. And that can be scary, because that can really, that can really upset your life. But it’s so important. Okay, as you begin exploring possible answers to these questions, just pay attention to what comes up for you. So these questions include, who are you? Why are you here? What are you passionate about? What excites you? What challenges you what is uniquely compelling to you. So I will include a link in the show notes to my very first podcast, which is titled pursue what matters. I have a great freebie included with that podcast that in that has worksheet that takes you through these questions. So that could be helpful for you if you want to go through these questions in more detail.
Dr. Melissa Smith 22:00
So purpose recognizes that there is something unique for you to do. And that as you do it, you will move closer to your mountain or your vision of contributing meaningfully to the world. But without clarity of purpose. How do you know where you are heading? I mean, you won’t, you’ll be heading in all sorts of directions. And like I said, you may be serving someone else’s purpose or someone else’s vision. And that happens all the time. So how do you know if you are pursuing what matters or someone else’s purpose. So this is why it matters. This is why it matters to take the time to get clear on purpose and vision. Because really, it’s kind of pointless to set goals or New Year’s resolutions. If you don’t have your purpose pinned down, or at least a sense of that you don’t have you know, it doesn’t have to be super clear, because, right, sometimes that mountain is shrouded in clouds. And I know for myself, that vision has gotten clearer over time as my life has unfolded. But you do want to have a sense of that. But it’s really like setting out on a journey without having a destination determined, you know, you might see some cool things, but you will probably not get anywhere of consequence. And it’s highly unlikely that you will do anything of consequence, if you don’t have a destination, clearly determined. So what can help you gain clarity about purpose. So I’ve got some solutions for you to help you with this first part of our three part series. So solution, one, throw out the vision board. So I don’t know if any of you have a vision board that you look at every morning, but throw it out, it’s time to pitch it. So though vision boards are popular, and the idea does seem to make sense, you know, so if you’re not familiar with a vision board, the idea is that you create a board filled within with images of things that you want to attract in your life. So whether it’s a Lamborghini or a mansion or a hot tub, or you know, piles of cash, whatever, and that you, you know, you look at that vision board every day. And it’s kind of the law of attraction that over time you will get those things. But the science directly contradicts the effectiveness of vision board, and actually having a vision board will undermine your efforts. So that’s that’s what the research indicates. So what happens with most vision boards and so this is I’m referencing an Inc article, so I will link to this article in the show notes if you want to follow up on this. But what happens with most people boards is that the individual focuses on attaining the goal. So the dream job, the car, the big house, etc, instead of focusing on the effort required to succeed, and that this focus actually increases the likelihood of failure, who talked about backfire. So you kind of focusing on all the rewards, instead of what’s actually required, which is the effort. And of course, I mean, we’d always rather focus on the reward, but that you’ll never make it to the top of the mountain, if you only spend your time looking at the, the mountain peak. And so really, you’re much better off to focus on effort. And that, you know, I had a conversation with my son after he finished his his first year of college, and we were talking about successful people versus not successful people. And, you know, you’re talking about lots of things, and he had had a great first year of college, but my counsel to him was learn to love work. And that that’s one of the things that will help
Dr. Melissa Smith 26:13
set you apart from a lot of other people. Because a lot of people look to avoid work and look to get out of things. So that kind of spend their time looking at vision boards, rather than learning to lean into the effort. And so getting to a point where you can learn, learn to lean into work and enjoy the process of work, and recognize that, you know, that is a principle of life. And so those people who just focus on the vision board and the rewards, the goal itself, without focusing on the effort required, really will undermine their efforts. Okay. So one study at university of california examined two groups of students, the first group was told to visualize themselves getting a great grade on an exam. And the second group was told to visualize themselves studying for the exam. So that’s the difference. The students who visualize themselves getting a good grade scored lower on the test than the students who visualize themselves studying for the exam. So students who visualize themselves studying actually put more time into preparing for the test. And ultimately, they scored much better. So we’ve got some real world results there. And of course, that’s just one example. But there are lots of studies that show athletes, students and musicians perform worse when they visualize themselves succeeding, as opposed to visualizing themselves going through the steps it takes to succeed. And I was listening to a case study actually on Michael Phelps, of course, the winningest Olympian in US history. And they were the the people doing the podcast was talked about, they were talking about his visualization steps before a race. And he I think he also did this before every practice. But you know, it wasn’t about him winning, that was not his visualization. But it was a very detailed steps of what he would do to prepare for swimming. And like it was like clockwork, I mean, he did it every single time. And so it gets to the point where it kind of becomes this muscle memory. And it’s a really good example of visualizing yourself going through the steps it takes to succeed, rather than just you know, he’s back there visualizing himself on the podium winning a gold medal. That’s not what he was doing. So it’s not just performers who ruin their chances of victory with vision boards. But research shows that people who imagine how they’re going to feel when they succeed, are less likely to reach a wide range of goals. So whether that’s weight loss or getting a new job. And so, when we fantasize about an idealized future, it decreases the likelihood that you will expend the energy required to turn that fantasy into a reality. So it totally undermines your effort. So don’t do it. So when you put a picture of a Lamborghini, on your vision board, your brain reacts as if you already have the Lamborghini. And so, what happens is your brain experiences a relaxation response that reduces your energy and decreases your motivation. I just think that’s fascinating. And so in most cases, of course, you need all that energy and motivation in order to reach your goals. And so, you know, if what you want is a Lamborghini, take that Lamborghini off your phone wallpaper, because it will actually reduce your energy and your motivation for that Lamborghini. Okay? So no vision boards, solution to
Dr. Melissa Smith 30:31
visualize yourself going through the motions of change in your life. So this is an alternative to the vision board. But imagine yourself doing hard things in your life. Imagine yourself taking action and facing challenges. So you can dress rehearse scenarios that are frightening to you, and consider how you can tackle them. These visualizations can help equip you to take action in your real life. So they can be very, very helpful. So for instance, you can roleplay a pay raise negotiation with your boss. So how will you make your case? What are your counter humans? How will you manage your nerves, so visualize yourself tackling challenges, and this will help you take action in your life. And then of course, take action. So actually follow up on it and take action. But this can be really very helpful for you in so many different areas of your life. Okay, solution, three, write your epitaph or write your eulogy. Okay, so this might sound a little bit morbid, but it’s totally not. But this brings purpose, front and center. And it really brings purpose right into focus. So you have a chance to write your story as though you’re looking back. So make it a good one. What do you want said about you when you die? What do you want to have accomplished? What will have mattered to you most? And what will others say about you? And what do you want others to say about you? And if you were to die right now, what would they say about you at this point. So this is this can be a really good gut check and assessment point for you. And you got to be honest with yourself. So if you were to die right now, and they said, we never saw, we never saw him, he was always at work, or she was always stressed out. This is a really good opportunity for you to shift, shift your perspective, shift your direction, shift your purpose, and really pursue what matters to you. So that you can pursue what matters most to you. And of course, we know that when people die, right, so for hospice workers, chaplains, people who work with the dying, what they say is that no one ever regrets working more hours, no one ever regrets, you know, I wish I would have pushed harder at work, but they almost always have their regrets around, I wish I would have expressed more love, I wish I would have spent more time with my family. And so writing your epitaph or your eulogy can be really helpful because it really does bring purpose front and center. And so it can be a very useful exercise, especially if you have a hard time answering some of those big questions that I posed to you earlier in the podcast. So this can be really helpful.
Dr. Melissa Smith 33:59
Okay, solution for write your six word mission statement. So I’ve shared this idea before on the podcast, but it’s such a great one. And it can be a pretty fun one and fairly simple one. So in six words or less, identify a mission statement about yourself. So it can be simple, but it can also be profound. It can also be playful, but the most important thing is to make it authentic to you. So my current six word mission statement, because I totally reserve the right to change my mission statement. As you know, my mood shifts or my you know, some of my priorities shift is this, do hard things and take naps. So that’s that’s my mission statement right now, and it has been for the past few years. So this mission statement totally fits with my value of doing hard things and facing fears. But also my need to balance those goals with self care. And rest, which, you know, hasn’t always been a priority of mine. And so I’m also kind of a zealot about naps these days. So I, I wanted to work that in there somehow. So do the six word mission statement that that could be a fun solution for you to help you connect with purpose. Okay, solution, five, identify your values. So values can be a bridge to purpose and vision, and can help you start to pin down what it is that matters most to you. So is it family is a faith is it independence, so you can find a list of values online, so I haven’t referenced to one listed in the show notes. So if you go to the show notes, you can link to that there, although there are lots to choose from online. But start by just reviewing the list, don’t get overwhelmed, because there are lots of values. But start by just identifying maybe five, that you would identify as your core values. So these are values that are, you know, most important to you, as you look through the list, you’re like, Okay, that this rings true to me. So first pick five core values, then I want you to narrow your list to your two guiding values. That one’s really difficult. So we’re not saying the other values are not important. We’re not saying that you don’t have the other values. But what we are saying is that these two values, guide all of your other values, and that they are the foundation that make all of your other values possible. So they’re really the foundation. So what is that the foundation of your belief system? Is it faith? Is it connection? Is it compassion. So this is this is going to be challenging, but I really want you to take the time and force yourself to identify five core values. And then from that list of five, two, guiding values. Okay, so five core, and then from the list of five to guiding. Okay, I’ve got a great quote from Cheryl straight, I work our job, the most important gig of all is to make a place that belongs to us a structure composed of our own moral code, not the code that echoes imposed cultural values, but the one that tells us on a visceral level, what to do. I love that. So it’s deeply personal. solution, six, make a list of your beliefs. So these can be big beliefs about the nature of God and life itself. And you know, it can include simple and silly beliefs, too, such as I believe everyone should take a nap after lunch, which I do. I think everyone should I think kindergarten had it right on that one. Okay. This, this can also be really helpful to help you start pinning down. What do I believe? What does matter to me? What do I have an opinion about?
Dr. Melissa Smith 38:21
solution seven, pick a theme for the year ahead, if vision for your life feels too overwhelming. So remember, this is a three part podcast series, and we’re focusing on preparing for 2020. So you can totally pick a vision for the year ahead, if going bigger seems too daunting, so maybe just pick a theme for 2020. Just pick your vision for 2020. That’s totally awesome. My friend Anna, Dr. Anna Packard that I’ve already mentioned, that’s what she does, she usually picks a theme for the year, which I think is a great plan. So maybe your theme is growth. And then you set goals related to growth. Or maybe your theme is compassion. And so you set goals related to compassion, or your theme is self care. And so you set goals related to self care. So that can be really, really fun. And it can make vision and purpose just a little less overwhelming. Okay, so solution eight, this is the last one. And of course, all of the seven solutions that we’ve discussed so far, are really designed to help you identify purpose and answering this question of what is your vision for your life. But really, the most important work for you related to purpose is taking time to reflect and get quiet with yourself. And so you know, you can do that with each one of the solutions that especially here with solution eight, which is to reflect reflect and journal on the questions that I presented at the beginning of the podcast, related to vision and purpose. I want you to take time to do that. So I want you to consider the questions that we discussed at the beginning of the podcast. I’ll review them again for you right now. But take time and reflect on those and really consider them. And like I mentioned, I will link to the first podcast the pursue what matters, episode one, because it has a nice freebie where he outlines many of these questions. And that can be really helpful. But let’s go over these questions just quickly here. So the the biggest questions related to vision, what am I here to do? How can I uniquely contribute? How can I best serve the universe? And then when we think about these purpose questions, who are you? Why are you here? What are you passionate about? What excites you? What challenges you what is uniquely compelling to you? So these are the questions that I would love you to journal and reflect on. So what are you called to do? What compels you to action? And as you reflect and journal on these questions, you can begin to discover your life’s purpose. So one last quote from Cheryl Strayed, it’s folly to measure your success in money or fame, success is measured only by your ability to say yes to these two questions. So these would be two more questions to reflect on. Did I do the work I needed to do? Did I give it everything I had? I love those questions. And then of course, join me next week for part two of our three part series preparing for 2020, where we will be focusing on the path, don’t let your dreams ruin your life. It’s a good one, so you don’t want to miss it. So I said that was my last quote from Cheryl straight, but I lied, I’ve got another one. But this is from her book, brave enough. She said, We don’t reach the mountaintop from the mountaintop. We start at the bottom and climb up, blood is involved. So that’s what we’re going to be focused on focusing on next week. This is exactly the focus. It’s great to talk about purpose. We’re in the clouds, we’re looking at the majestic mountain and it’s really beautiful. But you were meant to climb that mountain. And you know what, you got to get to work because the mountain is not going to climb itself. You’re going to get grimy, you’re going to lose your way because it is a darn big mountain. And you can’t climb it unless you get started. And so I will see you next week. And we will get started on that mountain and I am really excited for you.
Dr. Melissa Smith 43:22
So make sure you head on over to my website to check out the show notes. With all the great resources for this episode at www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-34 one more time. www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-34. And of course, I have some great links to the article on vision boards. Also the values list and then the link to podcast one. That includes the pursue what matters worksheet so you can have some guidance on some of those questions. I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai