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What Does it Mean to Cast a Vision?

As a high school student, you get asked so many questions about your future. What are your plans after graduation? Where do you want to go to college? What do you want to do for the rest of your life? You have conflicting emotions between sadness, anxiety, anticipation, happiness, and fear as you enter this life transition. It is a big step. You also likely receive conflicting advice from adults who, while they mean well, are simply adding to your confusion. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to have life completely figured out at age 17. Seriously! But I do believe you need to begin to cast a vision for who you want to be, what you want to do, how you want to live, and what you value in life. A vision is more than a goal. It’s more than simply saying that you want to get an A on your next history exam, or that you want to run a marathon. A vision is much, much more. Creating a vision requires a degree of creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking. It involves thinking beyond the immediate present and imagining what could be possible in the future. Once a vision has been created, it can be used as a compass to guide actions and decisions towards achieving your desired future state. They say that knowledge is power. I want to take that a step further and say that selfknowledge holds even greater potential. But self-knowledge is a tricky, fluid and everchanging entity that never fully forms. Why? Because we as humans are always growing, changing, and evolving as the world around us brings good stuff and bad stuff into our orbit. We don’t wake up one day and say “Great! Now I know myself fully.” That may be a completely true statement at that moment; however, we don’t know what that day may bring that will cause us to question again. That is totally OK. It’s an ongoing process, not an end product. Continual self-reflection is key to being able to create a vision of where you want to go, what you want to do, and who you want to be. A true assessment of where you are in the present - your strengths, personality traits, and interests - will allow you to make an informed decision about the direction to take in life. Creating a vision refers to the process of developing a clear and compelling mental picture of a desired future state, goal or outcome. It involves identifying and articulating an understanding of what you aspire to achieve and how you will get there. It’s considering various factors such as your current situation, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and your values and beliefs. Personal assessment is one way to gauge your present and potential future through unlocking the possibilities. Learning about how you interact with people, how you make decisions, how assertive you are, or what type of outlook you take in life will help you make informed decisions. Also consider your interests. Do you prefer activities that involve working with your hands? Do you need to have an impact in helping people? Do you love research and data in all things scientific? Are you a creative thinker? Once you have the answers to these questions, do some research. What types of careers fit your particular traits? Talk to people who are currently doing the career you might pursue to see if it feels right. Maybe even dip a toe into that world by volunteering or shadowing for a day. Is it something you would be happy doing? Would you feel fulfilled? Does it fit with your vision? Also, practically looking at factors such as salary projections and potential job openings will allow you to make an educated decision about your potential career path. But don’t be afraid to change that vision as you grow. It doesn’t mean you “gave up” or “quit,” it simply means that with new information, you have shifted your thinking. You have learned that the only certainty in life is change, so you have to change and grow with it. There are very few people who enter the workforce doing one job for the rest of their life. All decisions in our lives lead us down a certain path in a chosen direction. Even the simple, seemingly minute decisions can alter our lives in ways we can’t imagine. I don’t say this to overwhelm you - I say it to inspire you. There are an infinite number of possible paths before you. Sure, some may be “better” than others, but all paths can teach you something if you let them.


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