By Jennifer Hawthorne April 2008 If you have a vision, the first and probably most important step towards your dream is taken, says this internationally-acclaimed author ‘If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.’– Henry David ThoreauA vision is something that has been seen. It may be a fantasy you had at a young age that never let go, or a passion that emerged in a time of crisis. It might be born when you find yourself at a crossroads, no longer willing to do things the same old way. It may arise out of need, as an answer to a problem, or a deep soul desire felt within. And it may seem impractical, even impossible.But remember what the Queen said when Alice in Wonderland noted that one can’t believe in impossible things: “I dare say you haven’t had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”It seems to be a quirk of nature that visions can take on a life of their own and find the support they need to come to fruition, once you’re clear. If you just trust your vision, the means of fulfilling it seems to gather around in support.A great example is internationally known hairstylist and product developer Jon English. Jon’s impossible vision came in his early teens, as he was growing up in a rough area of London. His family was so poor that his father always cut his hair for him. Until the day that is, when at 13, Jon put his foot down and ran away from his father as he tried to catch him. His dad finally gave up, tossed him some money, and told him to go to the village for a haircut.Jon did, and his first ‘professional’ cut at the barber shop changed him forever. As he walked home, he couldn’t stop looking at himself in the glass of the shop windows, unable to believe it was really him. He was acutely aware of how his new look made him feel. And in an instant, a vision of giving that feeling to others arose in him. He got a job at a local beauty salon sweeping up hair after clients’ cuts, and the rest, as they say, is history. My vision began to emerge the day I finally admitted that, while I had once loved my job leading business-writing seminars, standing in front of corporate managers from 8 am to 5 pm, it was no longer so. So I sat down one day and asked myself what I really wanted to do with my life. The answer came quickly and easily: I wanted to speak–not about how to write a better business letter, but how to live a better life. I wrote down my vision.Shortly after that, my dear friend and colleague Marci Shimoff saw the flyer I had created for my new speaking business and asked to join me. It felt like a wonderful match, and our partnership was born. The first thing we did was to write down our vision: “To help women understand and experience their inner power and self-worth, so they can create and live their own vision.”We approached Jack Canfield about our vision and asked if we could create a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book for women. Jack said yes; we continued to get clearer and clearer about our vision. We wanted to touch the hearts of women around the world! Sixteen months later, Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul became a reality. Within two months, it hit number one on The New York Times best-seller list; a million copies had been sold.When vision comes from the heart and is coupled with the willingness to work, miracles can happen. Marci and I worked extremely hard on that first book. The learning curve was steep and we had to put the book together while still building our speaking business and teaching in the corporate world to earn an income. Even finding days when we were both in town at the same time was challenging. But we knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime. And our visions proved to be important stepping stones along the path of our destiny.Jennifer Read Hawthorne is an international speaker and co-author of the #1 New York Times best-sellers Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul. This article is adapted from her latest book, Life Lessons for Loving the Way You Live, with co-authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, now available in bookstores everywhere. To book Jennifer for a keynote address, visit her website at www.jenniferhawthorne.com
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