A vision quest can mean a couple of things. Back in the day, when Native American boys would go through puberty, they would go on a vision quest where they would starve themselves in order to see a vision into the future. They used these visions to chart their course into adulthood. It’s also an amazing 80s movie starring Matthew Modine as a high school wrestler, trying to cut weight to wrestle an unbeaten opponent, while hooking up with an older chick while Madonna songs play in the background. It’s one of my top 5 favorite sports movies of all time. The pre-match warm up scene, with the song “Lunatic Fringe” playing in the background, is amazing and inspiring. Watch it. The movie is terrible and incredible all at the same time.
Anyway…let’s talk about our vision quest.
Getting advice from someone you don’t really know or buying into something without a history of belief or proof of success is difficult. A leap of faith or a lack of options is what often brings us to a place where we look for a ray of hope or the answer to our prayers.
When you are staring at life from the bottom of a well, it’s hard to maintain a vision of where you want to go. Sometimes in life, you just need to believe in something that doesn’t make sense on paper and cannot be confirmed with facts. You have to use a little imagination and put faith in mental pictures.
Some believe the act of visualization is the stuff of desperation. The thought of visualizing goals and dreams is not in the mental wheelhouse for many. Instead, they lean on doing the same thing that brought them (limited) success over the years. It’s safe and nobody will doubt you.
Self help gurus and motivational speakers might be onto something. The consistent message from all these speakers and authors is rooted in the act of visualization. If you build it-they will come. If you make it your vision-it becomes a reality. Look, I didn’t go to school for this stuff and I’m just as much as a doubter as the next guy, but when I look back at my life, it’s hard to argue with the results and how I came to those results.
I can honestly reflect upon most of my accomplishments in life and connect the dots of visualization. Yes, actually seeing the outcome before it occurred. To be fair, life will surprise the hell out of you sometimes, but if you commit to visualizing and embracing the right things in life, the results are pretty amazing. Focus and faith are key.
Here are just a few….
Getting into radio. I sat at in the cafeteria in 6th grade, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and another student asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up?” (I actually remember exactly who it was, but I won’t embarrass her in this chapter) My response, “I want to be on the radio so I can play whatever songs I want.” In 6th grade I figured out what I wanted to do and I visualized myself doing it. I imagined myself on the radio. I would fall asleep listening to the radio every night. I read books about it. I called DJs and asked them questions about radio. My brothers and I would make radio shows and whenever there was an opportunity to talk into a microphone, I jumped at the chance. I pictured myself in studios taking with famous people. What I began visualizing in 6th grade, eventually became my career. I’ve been reaping the benefits of my 6th grade vision for decades now.
Going to college. I was the first person in my family to ever go to college. Generations before me and my older siblings never saw it as an option, but I knew that college was in my future. When I had my first one-on-one with my high school counselor, it went pretty much like this:
Counselor: What do you want to do after high school?
Me: I’d like to go to college.
Counselor: Barnum and Bailey has a clown college. I can get you the application.
Me: I can’t juggle.
(No really. That was the exchange).
For years I was convinced that she was serious, but as I got older I came to the realization that perhaps she was joking a bit. Honestly, I may never know. I did use it as a driver to help motivate me to continue to embrace my vision to attend college. I even added “get scholarship money” to my vision and later made that a reality on graduation day. I knew that college was going to be important to my progression in life and I made it a reality. From the day I started high school, I started to dream of my next step in education. I got scholarship money. I graduated in 4 years.
Getting the job. Every job that I have ever taken in my career has come to fruition through some form of visualization. Each move has been a stepping stone to the next and a building block in the foundation of my growth in the industry. I visualize winning people over. Seeing myself in that city and meeting those listeners. Working with the kind of people who I want in my life. I visualize winning, growing and influencing those around me. True story-I had seven rounds of interviews before being offered my current job in Houston. Before each phone conversation I pulled up pictures of the city and stared at them while answering interview questions. Like writing down goals and making them real, I put visuals in front of me so that my focus would never waver.
Remind me to tell you about how I keep focused by using post it notes. I’ll share that in another chapter at some point.
You can’t just wake up one day and start putting pictures in your head of the things you want to do next. You can have success with the process and become cocky and start visualizing the dumbest things. Hanging pictures of Brad Pitt in your room will not guarantee you will marry him one day. There has to be a little more leg work done to make the process real. Be careful not to visualize yourself into bad positions in life. Although the result may eventually be where you are supposed to be in your journey, negative visualization can result in a lot of heartache and strife. Stick to the positives and know that you may just have to experience some bumps along the way.
#Tryharder to realize that this world is what you make of it. The result of your vision quest is determined by the faith you have in the process, your commitment and belief. Even if you are relying on a higher power to determine your direction in life, you still need the put forth the work and energy needed to see things through. Most amazing things in life come with a leap of faith and a commitment to something you can’t see or ever truly control, but it all starts with a vision and the desire to do something with it.