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Creating a Vision Using the Right Brain
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown
Coaching for Transformation
The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world. —Malcolm Gladwell
So often when we start creating, we only build on the information that our mind offers. We can expand the possibilities and increase the engagement of our clients by engaging the right brain in the visioning process.
One of the keys to right brain vision work is to ask clients to set aside all the rules they live by. Allow space to explore without constraints of money, time, relationships, societal norms, internalized beliefs and physical ability. Reassure them they can get practical later in the process.
Instead of creating their life from circumstances or assumptions, we can support tapping into vitality, energy and choice by using the right brain to create from possibility.
Vision is most compelling when we create from the place inside where we are most alive, by tapping into the seat of creativity. Imagine next year as a piece of music, a poem, a painting, a collection of favorite things, a photo or some other metaphorical representation of what is possible. We can create from these representations by exploring the images and building a plan based on the images that arise.
We explore several other right brain tools to use with clients to expand their visions.
Right brain vision questions
These questions help people look in places they would not ordinarily look to expand the vision. We can encourage them to look for the “flash” answer without pondering so that we engage the right brain.
What is the theme for your vision?
If your vision were a piece of music, what would it be?
What if your vision were 1,000 times bigger?
What if your vision were 1,000 times deeper?
What metaphor describes the vision?
What does nature have to say to you right now about your vision?
What does the uniqueness of your neighborhood say about your vision?
What does your vision taste like?
What feelings do you associate with your vision?
What are the colors?
If you added one outrageous element to your vision, it would be…?
When you picture your life ten years from now, what are you most excited about?
In what imaginary place would you be at your best?
Who would you like to be for a week?
If someone from the future visited you, what one question about your future would you ask?
What would you do with 100 million dollars?
If all your dreams came true, what would the future look like?
What deeper resource is available to you in creating your vision?
What are you forcing about this vision?
What can you take less seriously about your vision?
What rules need to be bent or broken?
How would a 5-year-old describe where you are headed next?
What if you had no limits?
What outrageous elements could you add to your vision?
What talents and gifts do you have to support your vision?
If you asked God (the Creator, the Divine, Allah, your Higher Power, etc.) about your next steps, what would you hear?
What is the magnet that draws people toward your vision?
What will you feel when you get what you want?
What is the secret to your deep success?
When you sit still and ask yourself what stirs your soul, what comes to you?
Who are you and what might it look like to embody that in your life? What’s the reason you’ve been put on the planet?
Right brain vision exercises
Right brain exercises can be an energizing starting point for a coaching session. We can help the client deepen the themes that arise. The key is to avoid literal interpretations and keep the exploration in the land of images as long as possible before making the vision concrete.
When working with clients over the phone, we can ask them to create a right brain representation of their vision, similar to ways we’d work if we were together in the same room. They can send a photo of their collage or painting or simply describe it over the phone. The coaching centers on deepening the image of the representation of their vision, helping them stay very engaged and in the experience of the vision.
We can take our clients out of their heads by offering these visioning techniques:
1. Gather your Vision
For a week, several times a day wander around your home and pick up objects that catch your eye. They can be meaningful, silly or inexplicable. Put them in a box. At the end of the week, spread them all out around you and ask yourself what the objects tell you about your vision. Pay attention to the “flash” images and answers.
2. Capture the Images
Put a large piece of flip chart paper on the back of a door or anywhere accessible. Label it “My Life.” Next to it have a basket of colored markers. Every time you walk by the paper for two weeks, write down something. Don’t second guess what you write. You might write a phrase, an idea, a symbol, a drawing or just a word. Don’t worry if what you write or draw seems disconnected or makes no sense. At the end of two weeks, look for themes.
3. Create a Vision Board
Vision boards can be done from a place of receptivity or intentionality. When approaching them from receptivity, we open to messages that come when we ask ourselves what is ours to create. The vision may come as images, colors, feelings, physical sensations or words. We may get a glimpse of our desire, or a new sense of things. Creating a space for our inner being to express what is emerging is a powerful way to experience the vision that lies deep within.
In this way of visioning we wait for spirit or a spontaneous arising of vision to come to us—trusting all that we receive.
Coming at a vision board from the other pole of creativity, intentionality, we look into the heart of what we want and actively engage in articulating, thinking about and exploring what we want our vision to be. We also pay attention to our feelings and passions. We actively design what we want and manifest our intentions.
Start with a stack of old magazines, greeting cards, post cards or online images. Be on the alert for what is calling you (receptivity) or what represents your vision (intentionality). Choose the images without second guessing yourself. Gather the images over an hour, a week or a month. Arrange your images on a poster board or art board. When they feel right, glue them down. Alternately, you can use various web-based vision board sites.
Hang the board where you can view it daily to reinforce your exciting vision. The magic and mystery of the process comes from watching the images on the board become reality. It is as if the right brain makes requests through the images, and a guiding presence makes them real.
Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.
Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.
Transforming the world.