We need to start our road to the future somewhere – to develop the habit of visioning, planning and assessing our progress.
The Vision Journey is a planning tool that has helped many people (women and youth as well as men) to plan how to use their money, savings and loans to achieve at least parts of their vision – higher education for children, better houses, buying land, setting up new businesses for themselves or their family members, buying means of transport (that women as well as men can drive).
Your happy dream vision for the future
What is your dream vision for happiness?
Close your eyes. Think of what your life might look like in 5-10 years time if you are happy?
What will your Happy Family look like? Who is there? Who is doing what?
How is your farm or business? Your house? What do you want to have? Who will get the money? Who will decide what? Who owns what?
What do your friends and the community environment look like?
What do you yourself look like if you are empowered to change and achieve this vision?
Draw a vision sun circle
On the first page of your notebook draw a very large red circle like a sun with rays shining from it. Now you know how to draw! All other drawings are just circles and lines of different types. Put symbols for family members so you can recognise them.
Draw your dream vision
Inside the circle draw your vision. It is important to draw because we dream in pictures. It is the visual things we see that will inspire us when life becomes difficult. Even if we can write, drawings are also clearer when we show them to our family and friends. Have fun!
1: Vision or dream
Every journey starts with a dream vision – what you are hoping to achieve. This will depend on the type of project, but should be something that will inspire you. You should dream big and as long term as you wish, but not so big that it is impossible.
Open your notebook at the front page.
Start by drawing the Dream Vision in a big circle. Make the Circle fill the whole page. Then draw lines on the outside like rays of a sun. It should be shining bright to inspire you.
Inside the circle draw the different elements in your dream vision.
Starting the Vision Journey
The Vision Journey then follows across the next double page. Use the book horizontally. Start in pencil first and then add colour.
Put a big red sun circle at the top right of the paper and draw the main elements of your vision inside.
In the top left corner put also your name, group/organisation and date symbols. Or write these.
Put your name (or think of a personal symbol) and a date (or another symbol) at the top left corner of each page.
2: Current Baseline
Reflect on your current situation in relation to the vision.
Draw this inside a black circle at the bottom left of the paper. Join the two circles with two black lines for the road.
3: Opportunities and challenges
Opportunities: Draw 10+ opportunities top of the road in green as things you plan to make happen. The more potential opportunities you identify the more likely you are to succeed and keep positive.
Challenges: Draw challenges underneath the road in blue as things you want to perish. Do a detailed but realistic risk analysis so that you can address or avoid them.
Analysis: Things more controllable (individual strengths and weaknesses) go closer to the road. Things that cannot be controlled (contextual opportunities and threats) go further from the road.
Balance the road: finally identify new opportunities so that opportunities still are more than risks. Or possibly abort plan. TAKE YOUR TIME.
4: Target and Milestones
Vision Journeys have a medium term SMART target as a thick green circle placed next to the vision to make the plan concrete. This could be eg one year, a key festival, harvest, next workshop etc.
2-4 milestone targets are then placed as thinner green circles on the way. The first should be after 1 month so that action starts immediately. The others can be equal distance, or a specific time like agricultural calendar or a project monitoring time. Put circles and planned progress in green.
5: Action Plan
What actions are needed to go from target to target? Put drawings in green for all the things you need to do:
- to take advantage of your opportunities
- to avoid or address your challenges
- to achieve the things you have put in each milestone.
6: Track, reflect and share
Journeys are ‘live plans’ that are tracked over time to assess progress, and also to reflect on reasons for progress or lack of it.
- Things achieved (milestones, actions, opportunities, challenges) are ringed in red as ripe fruits.
- Things that did not work/you no longer wish to do are ringed or crossed out in blue as perished.
- Things that are still in process and still planned are ringed in green. They can be moved from past to future and any new plans/opportunities can also be added in green. Any new challenges added in blue.
The tool, and also your experiences are also shared with other people to exchange experience of which strategies work and which do not.