It’s December and I’m in full-on planning + strategic mode. I like to use this time to check-in with my life vision and identify where I need to adjust. And there’s always need for adjustments. 🤪
I believe having a greater vision for yourself is super important. This isn’t just about goal-setting or New Year’s Resolutions. It’s much larger and more important than that. We’re so caught up in the busyness of life that we rarely take the time to seriously ask ourselves the question: what do I want to try, achieve, have and experience in the short amount of time I have left to be alive?
So, I’m going to share with you my process for establishing + connecting with your level 10 vision. I’ve attempted to include my full process starting from scratch. I’m warning you in advance – this is a lengthy 2,000+ word post with lost of action items. If you’re currently short on time, you might want to bookmark or e-mail this article to yourself to read in full later on.
If you decide you want to implement this process for your own life, here are a couple things to keep in mind:
This doesn’t HAVE to be done solely in December. For me, that’s simply when I like to do it. You may find it more beneficial to do it after the holidays.
This process is NOT short + sweet. Expect to spend some time working on this ideally by yourself and as distraction free as possible. You can do it all at once or spread it out over several days. I prefer to spread it out because when I’ve attempted to do it all at once I end up feeling completely drained mentally. In the end, do what works best for you and your schedule!
The concept of life areas or “accounts” is not new. If you’re at all interested in self-improvement or goal-setting, you’ve probably come across this idea before. I’ve seen it scattered in slightly different formats throughout numerous books and articles.
If you haven’t run into this idea before, the basic gist is that each of our lives are made up of separate, yet interrelated areas. These often include such things as your health and fitness, relationships, and money. Using these as an example, if you’re stressed and worried about your current financial situation, don’t be surprised if that also negatively impacts your relationships or your health. These life areas feed off each other – either positively or negatively. Thus we should be mindful about all our life areas and identify which ones we need to focus on improving.
There are numerous ways you can slice and label your life “pie”. Some folks point to just six areas: social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, environmental, and physical. Others break it out even further. The social category is sometimes split into friends/family and love life/significant other. Others add a slice for creativity or fun + recreation. And, of course, I’ve also seen your business or career as a separate category too.
Now, if you’re anything like me, I like examples to use as a starting point. So, here are my life “accounts” to help you get the ball rolling: physical body, mental mindset, time management, growth + development, marriage, inner circle, home environment, business, finances, and fun + recreation.
And if you’re more of a visual person, here’s my life account pie. 🤓
I don’t just stop here either. I also define what these labels actually mean to me. For example, my physical body “account” encompasses sleep, movement, eating, grooming, posture, self-care and even my personal presentation like clothes and makeup. Obviously, not everyone is going to define it this way.
Whether or not you take this extra step is completely up to you. There are no hard and fast rules with this.
Just remember, it’s your pie – you get to slice, label and define it however you choose.
For me, prioritization is very important. Yes, these life “accounts” are interrelated, but that doesn’t mean my ultimate goal in life is to spend equal amounts of time and energy in each area. Instead, I want to be intentionaland strategic with where and what I’m focusing on.
I believe there are certain life areas that offer a greater return on our time and energy investment. So, if I want to be intentional, strategic and get the best return possible, I must identify those areas and prioritize accordingly.
Now if you’re curious as to how I’ve prioritized mine, here you go:
Personal Growth + Development
Fun + Recreation
And for the folks who like colorful charts + graphs…😉
I’ve done this by asking myself, “which area has the most impact on the rest of my life?” I’ve found that if I do not take care of my physical body (such as sleep and eating right) then the rest goes haywire real quick. When I do that, I feel mentally sluggish. I also don’t manage my time as well as I should (aka more likely to procrastinate). And so on and so forth down the chain.
Keep in mind I’ve moved certain areas around. Fun and recreation – which includes traveling and outdoor activities – was originally higher. But then I asked myself “would I go traveling if I didn’t feel financially secure?” Umm, no – I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the trip because I’d be concerned about how much money I was spending.
So, down the list it went.
Again, and I’m going to keep repeating this concept too, it’s your life. You get to choose what you prioritize. And you can always change it.
One last comment on prioritization – I find it helps keep me accountable. I think it’s important to check-in regularly and ask ourselves, “am I acting in accordance with my priorities?” If not, then either our actions need to change or our prioritization.
And yes, when I’ve asked myself this question this year I realized I’ve got some actions I need to change (more on that later).
I’m borrowing the concept of a “Level 10 Life” from Hal Elrod’s book Miracle Morning because I’ve found it to be meaningful and thought provoking for this next step.
Ideally, we all want to be living Level 10 lives. By level 10, Elrod is referring to a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 being very unsatisfied and 10 being super duper satisfied. Makes sense, right? Well, what does a Level 10 life look like to you? More specifically, what does a Level 10 look like in each of your life areas?
I find asking this type of question is much easier than trying to answer the generic “what’s your vision for your life?” I feel that question is just too broad. But by narrowing it down to something like “what does a level 10 relationship with your significant other look like?” – I get more mental traction. At least that’s the case for me.
The whole point of this step is to create your vision for your life that encompasses everything. This isn’t just crafting a vision only for your career. It should also include your finances, your home, your relationships, your health. All of it.
Here are some additional tips + thoughts to help you with this process:
Keep in mind your timeframe I personally like to approach these questions looking 5, 10, and even 15 years into the future. But some folks like to approach their vision with a much longer timeframe – such as when they’re 80+ years old or even referring to future generations (like grandchildren and great-grandchildren). There’s no right or wrong timeframe, but I do think it’s important to keep in mind what length of time you’re using when you’re creating your Level 10 vision.
Be conscious of your emotions Does your Level 10 vision inspire you? Are you emotionally connected to it? I think this is super important to be aware of. If your vision bores you or doesn’t inspire you, then perhaps you need to dig deeper and include things that do fire you up. Your vision is your “why” in life – make sure you connect with it emotionally!
Does your Level 10 Life make you feel comfortable or challenged? For me personally, my vision needs to make me feel at least slightly uncomfortable. I don’t want a vision I can easily attain. Instead I want to be challenged by it. Challenged to do things differently. To become a different person. To do better. I encourage you to create a Level 10 vision that challenges you too.
Be as detailed as you want Some folks like to get super detailed with the visions for their lives – from how much money they’re making from passive income a month to exactly what their dream home (or homes) look like. The level of detail you put into your Level 10 vision is completely up to you. For certain life areas I’m more general (like home environment) and for others I’m super detailed (like finances and business). Some folks even create vision boards for themselves to help with this process. This is not something I’ve done before, but I’m definitely intrigued by it and I might add this to my future process since I recognize we respond and remember visual images better.
Don’t hesitate to change your vision as you change We change. Our priorities change. How we see and interpret the world changes. I believe our vision needs to change with us. It’s not a snapshot in time – it’s something that should grow with us. If you find you review your vision and you’re no longer connected to certain aspects of it, then update it. Or perhaps you have more things to add, then do so. It’s YOUR vision!
Stay connected to your vision Your Level 10 vision is not something that you create and then never look at again. Instead, it’s something we need to regularly check-in with. The frequency is up to you: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually. I personally believe that I’m at a point where I need to be connecting with my vision on a daily basis. In addition, I think it’s important to ask myself at the end of the day, “did I move forward today?” Ultimately, find the frequency that works best for you.
STEP FOUR: WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY AT IN EACH AREA?
We need to be honest with ourselves regarding where we currently stand in each life area. This step is absolutely critical for determining what you’re going to work on next (more on that later).
So, it’s time for a reality check.
Option 1: How would you score each life area from 1 to 10?
Again, using Elrod’s level 10 concept, how would you score your current satisfaction in each life area on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 being very unsatisfied and 10 being super duper satisfied?
Yes – I know – scoring your life can be rather intimidating. Especially if you’ve never done it before. But I’d rather be uncomfortable and face the truth than continue to bury my head in the sand. I understand not everyone is like this – some prefer to stay in denial – but if you’ve gotten this far in the article you probably aren’t one of those people. 😊
If it makes you feel better, there are no areas in my life that I currently rate as a level 10. In fact, there are some areas I’ve given myself a 2 or even a 1. Because I’ve still got a lot of work to do. Please don’t be discouraged or ashamed of yourself if you give yourself a low score. Yes, it might sting at first, but use it to fuel your inner fire to improve!
Option 2: What’s your state for each life area?
Now, another way to evaluate this besides (or in addition to) scoring each area from 1 to 10 comes from Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s book Living Forward. Hyatt and Harkavy argue we exist in four different states for each life area:
Drift = No passion and no progress
Lift = Passion, but no progress
Shift = Progress, but no passion
Gift = Passion and progress
The ultimate goal is to be at the gift state where we’re experiencing both passion and progress in each life area.
By passion, they’re referring to strong feelings of enthusiasm and excitement. For example, are you excited about your day-to-day work? What about your financial situation? How about your love life?
By progress, they’re referring to the results you’re seeking. For example, maybe you enjoy running but aren’t seeing any difference in your physique or time/distance improvements. Or maybe you’re excited about how much money you’re bringing in each month but your actual net worth is barely growing.
Depending on which state represents each life area, this also can give you a clue as to what aspect you need to focus on improving – either your passion or your process for progress.
If you’re not sure which state your life accounts are in, there’s an online quiz, which takes about 15-minutes, to help you out located here.
Taking your scores from Step Four, now it’s time to hone in on what you want to work on. Ideally, you want to focus on no more than 3 life areas at a time. If you choose more, don’t be surprised if you get too scattered and overwhelmed with all the changes you’re trying to implement.
I fully empathize if you’re having difficulty picking which areas to start with. I always want to pile on more things to work on and, coming from personal experience, it’s never ended well for me.
Ideally, you want to choose from the areas that you scored lower on the satisfaction scale and/or you’re in either a drift or lift state. If you’ve got a lot of life areas that are in the drift or lift state and are struggling to choose, I recommend going back to how you prioritized your life “accounts” and using that as your deciding factor on what to focus on.
And if you’re curious, for me the areas I’m working on are my physical body, home environment and business.
Stay tuned for the next part of my planning process where I walk you through how I’m identifying my goals for each of these areas to work on and how I’m setting up my tracking system to ensure I stay on course.