Champions visualize. Pitchers visualize throwing the perfect game. Sprinters visualize breaking the tape. Speakers visualize engaging and dominating a room of awed listeners.
Almost unanimously, those who accomplish above average goals engage in some form of visualization. Whether it’s forming a vision for where you’d like to be in two or five or ten years, or it’s visualizing success in the specific tasks that the day holds, visualization is integral to pressing toward big goals. (If you don’t have big goals… GET SOME!)
I’m not writing to sell you on visualizing, though. I’m going to skip that step, assume that you at times put purposeful thought into your future, and challenge you about what you visualize.
Recently I was taking inventory of my various goals, and was putting many of them to paper. One of those goals has to do with building an amount of monetary wealth. We’ll just say a million dollars, for the sake of illustration.
And as I visualized attaining this goal, I had to check myself. Am I visualizing the foolish habit of hoarding money to make myself feel secure? Or to buy myself more stuff so that others will see it and validate my value?
I’m not okay with that.
And so, at the same time that I wrote down my goal, I wrote down what I would give.
I’m going to earn $1 million. That means I’m going to be able to give $250,000 to someone who needs it.
Damn. That’s powerful.
How many enslaved children can I set free? How many starving families can I feed? How many kids can I put into school or shoes can I put on children’s blistered feet with a quarter of a million dollars?
So let me ask you a tough question: when you visualize your goals and your achievements, do you also visualize your generosity?
I’ve started to, and I’m going to tell you 3 reasons why you should too.
Generosity Clarifies the Meaning of Wealth
Committing myself to generosity, particularly when I’m in the middle of an activity that can border on selfishness—what am I gonne earn, what am I gonna do, who am I gonna be—clarifies and reminds me what wealth is. True wealth is not an account balance, but a well-being that courses through every area of my life. If I have $1 million that I am terrified to lose, that I value more highly than the lives of other people in need, I am absolutely not a wealthy man. Focusing on giving clarifies the meaning of true wealth.
Generosity Defies Fear
Every single human being who is willing to be honest will admit that they struggle with fear. It’s only natural. 99% of the time, that fear is related to the future, and is often based in the realm of financial well-being. I would also venture a guess that it is often somewhat unfounded. When I think about giving, I am sending myself a message: “Hey self, I don’t know if you got the memo, but I am done fretting over an imagined future based on the worst case scenario.” Focusing on generosity takes the focus off of the unfounded fear of loss or of going without.
Generosity Promotes the Abundance Mindset
The abundance mindset says that I don’t have to be stingy, because there is enough for all to have what they need. The abundance mindset, in my opinion, is one of the key mindsets to experience a truly wealthy life, as mentioned above. It empowers us to contribute to others’ lives freely, believing that there is enough opportunity, enough success, enough resources, enough abundance to go around. It leads to the richest and most rewarding relationships, and often results in people giving back to you just as generously.
So again I ask: do you take the time to visualize your own generosity? Imagine the legacy you can leave. Imagine the lives that you can impact. Imagine the place you hold in the life of a human being whom you’ve fed, nourished, helped educate, sheltered, maybe even set free!
I would rather visualize that type of impact, than a collection of physical possessions amassed as a tribute to my own glory. That type of impact is the result of a life lived well. That is a life of meaning. That is a legacy.