The exercise at a glance

Your desires and vision for the future are hidden behind stories and conscious layers in our brain. It resides in our limbic system. We need to give words to what is contained there. Journaling helps us do so. This Vision exercise consists of 13 journal questions to journal, to journey, to that vantage point. After journaling, jot down your vision in the Vision Canvas.

The Process

STEP 1: Preparation

STEP 2: Journal Questions

STEP 3: Vision Canvas

  1. Preparation

Make sure you can work undisturbed. Close the door. Turn off notifications and any alerts. You’ll need that peace and quiet to get in the flow.

Get a pen you can write comfortably with and some piece of paper. Enough paper! I would strongly advise against using your laptop for this. Studies have shown that when using a digital device to write, you write less generatively and more structurally and orderly. We want the generative creative energy!

Get a drink ready.

You'll need something that keeps track of the time for you so that you don’t need to think about it. Something to tell you whether or not you’re ready to move on to the next question. A timer on your phone can work. A Pomodoro App like Tomato One or this one online will do the trick. We'll use 9 times 3 minutes; then 3 times 5 minutes; and finishing with 10-15 minutes of free writing on the last question (13 questions in total).

Download and preferably print out the questions with the pdf in the link below. Besides the 13 questions, it contains 4 pages of a ‘Vision Canvas’.

2. Journal Questions

First off, what is free writing. Free writing (sometimes called journaling) is the opposite of staring out of the window, think of the right answer and writing it down in 3 succinct bullets. This is not a test!

The trick is to read the questions, start writing and keep writing until the time runs out. Write down what comes up for you. Don't take your pen off the paper. Don't know what to say? Write that down. Everything that doesn't make sense (and that will be a lot) you can filter out afterward. "Write drunk, edit sober".

Again, the goal is not to write down the correct answers. It's about writing down, period. Do not filter on realism, truthfulness or what you're supposed to. I understand, we're trained to only answer what we believe is correct. But we need to be able to write down the wrong answers in order to get to the juicy stuff. Expect and hope to be wrong! It'll trick your brain into lowering its guard and be honest.

And, you don’t need to “finish” each question. The questions are triggers to awaken a certain part of your brain and memories. Each one building on the next. Bringing you to a point where you could get directly.

It's deceptively simple, but trust me on this.

There are 13 questions. Sit down and answer them 1 by 1, for as long a time as is given.

3. Vision Canvas

After journaling on these 13 questions, hopefully you have a vision/picture of your future in your mind.

Now, spread out the last 4 pages with the 10 boxes on it. Each box contains one facet of your Vision, of you future work.

Fill in each box with what comes up after doing the journaling. Do so in any order you feel like and jump back and forth if you want.

Take about 20 minutes for this.

See you soon!