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Visualise your dream job
I don't dream of labour, darling
When my previous CEO sat me down to explain how her friend Charlotte had built her whole business through visualisation, it probably had the opposite effect you’d expect.
Charlotte turned out to be Charlotte Tilbury (she talks a bit about her visualisation process in this article), and indeed it’s a powerful tool of imagining the outcomes you couldn’t even hope to dream of, and working back from there to figure out the steps you need to take to start building that dream life.
Said CEO (the ineffable Lucy Yeomans) intended to inspire me in my role in the business as Head of UX- to keep calm, carry on and kick ass. Instead, doing the manifestation and visualisation process was one of the key factors that made me realise I needed to quit!
So we thank her for that, even if it didn’t turn out as intended. Sorry Lucy!
Let go of others’ definitions of your strengths
To visualise your ideal future career, you first need to let go of other folks opinions.
I’m a big believer in ‘what you can’t see you can’t be’, and I believe that for yourself as well. It’s so easy to get caught in the rut of how others define you, what you have been praised for in previous roles etc.
I thoroughly believe we should not dream of labour. But we should dream of our legacy that we leave the world with.
None of us will live forever. We’re all in the process of slowly dying. Wouldn’t it be nice to leave some cool shit behind- whether it’s a piece of art, or people’s lives you’ve improved in small or big ways?
That’s my idea of a dream job. What’s your own definition? Workshop that ish.
Build a board
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What would you do with your life if you had all the time and money you needed?
I encourage you to spend some time with these questions. Your brain may immediately go to the material- the house you want, the car, the school for your kids. That’s ok! Those are often easier for us to visualise than the deep, soul-quenching desires- the juicy stuff we want to get to.
Make a list, then build a board of these disparate references (but for the love of god, set it to private.)
There is a second step- analysing the themes in your board.
Do all of your pins have a glam, jet set aesthetic? The unseen private driver and butler in the background? Is it the implied wealth or implied social status that appeals to you- or purely the aesthetic of having means and time to perfect your appearance?
Do your ideas belong to many different locations and lives? Croissants and cigarettes in Paris, next to yoga retreats in Bali? What is the theme between these disparate images (travel, aesthetic, weather?) What of that are you missing now?
Pull out the simple things (I really want a 50s convertible hatchback to drive along English country roads on a summer’s evening, smelling of brambles and promises and engine oil), and the more nebulous things (I want a career where I schmooze clients in smoky Tokyo hotel bars). Both are guiding stars towards the picture of the life you want to create.
What does a really good day look and feel like?
Work facilitates the life we want to live.
Even if we’re not living our dream careers right now, there are parts of our jobs and routines we enjoy, or have enjoyed in different seasons of our life.
Reference your life now, in the past and in the future. When things have felt really good- what’s it been like, what was different than now?
What would a day of working look like if you were living your dream career?
Are you exercising at 6am, blasting through emails to clients until 9, taking a 3 hour lunch break as you walk your dogs and then going to the office for an afternoon of running workshops?
Are you working 15 hours a week in your village charity shop, then caring for your home and garden while your wife goes off to work in the big smoke?
Are you flying business class around the world to design weddings for the international elite?
Put yourself in the life of dream you. Why are those specific activities appealing? What will you need to do to get there?
Find imagery for all of this and add it to the board. This is likely more practical than your big lofty “I’d like a private jet” goals. These are the tangible artefacts of routine that you can work towards.
Visual imagery is key
Some people will say that they have a bucket list or a goal list or a career plan- that’s enough. They don’t need this Pinterest crap!
I DISAGREE! I’m an artist at heart, and goddammit if my professional experience isn’t all about DISPLAYING INFORMATION TO INSPIRE ACTION! Imagery is a powerful motivator- humans are visual creatures. Making those plans visual helps solidify them in your mind. You can’t be what you can’t see.
Some words on a page describing the city you’d like to live in, or the job you wanna do, are great.
But BETTER is the screenshot of a blogger who particularly inspires you (😘)- a candid pic of the reception of a company you wanna work at- the art setup you want in your dream home. Through evocative imagery we find the details that allow us to build the blocks of our dream career.
Define yourself- let go of the expectations around you
Question yourself. What is success and happiness?
Make it tangible. Imagery is the first step to creating our visualised future.
Any goal worth setting should scare you. This visualisation will grow with you, and help you break those big life goals into a daily lifestyle that is meaningful to you!
Letter from the Editor
I turned 30 this week!
Now that it’s over, let me share with you the invitation card I designed. My manifestation board helped me build it.
I am happy to be older. Being able to experience more years on this planet in good health is a joy I will always treasure! 🏆
Tune in next week for the story of how I turned down my dream job (and why!)… or maybe 30 things I’ve learned before 30, if I don’t have the guts to air my neuroses on the internet for all to see,