This series of exercises moves people from Dreams into Design; from big fluffy pictures towards setting goals.
It doesn't have to be done in one session, there are natural break points, but you do need to plan to complete the activity.
You can write the lists on paper, but it helps if they are written on index cards, one item of the list on one card.
It may help to link this with 'Fantasticat' - if you think that the group will have a hard time owning any positive virtues make sure you have done that excecise first.
Step 1 (5 - 10 minutes)
Imagine you can send a video phone forward in time and through it you can interview your future self.
The connection isn't good, time-travel is pretty new technology after all, and for some reason you can only hear sentences that begin with the words 'I am'...
Not on ly that but the connection doesn't last very long, so you have just a few minutes to write down the snatches of that interview begining with 'I am'
'I am living in Italy'
'I am speaking Italian with my friends on the terrace around a table'
'I am a great cook'
'I am a landscape gardener'
(Use an example that resonates with you - preferably an actual example from your own dreams)
Fast and furious list making, or one 'I AM' per post-it or card.
Note that you may need to have a go, then build on what you get.
Step 2 (10 - 20 minutes)
A quick and light sequence that may be repeated a number of times in order to work through the list of 'I AM's
Start with a jolly exploration of what people have written in keeping with the style of the group.
- For boisterous groups: seek out the most outrageous, the most boastful, the most tragic, the lamest or whatever you can think to stir things up - but don't pick on people, ask the students to offer in response to your call - if no-one responds move on, or use a different tack.
- For quiet types: move around the groups and get them to talk through one or two items on their list.
Next ask them to pick out one that jumps out at them this minute (or any one at random) and ask them a series of 'why' questions that helps them to explore the personal importance of the statement:
2.2 - establish motivation
'From the list pick one that stands out for you right now'
(or you may have observed that an item on the list has more emotional charge for that person)
'Why is that one important'
(their answer is likely to be somewhat generic)
'Yes, I see (/ hear / feel) that that is important (/significant / great / wonderful etc), but what its particular importance to you personally'
' And how does being that benefit (/help etc) you personally?' (and of course you could just nod, say 'hum, hum' or anything to keep them talking)
'And what if you are not like that, if you don't make it, why would that matter?'
The check in with reality: 'how close are you to <whatever the I AM says> right now'
Great, their's a mission...
'Wow, so you're speaking Italian with your friends, why is that so important'
'Well, you need to speak with your friends, don't you?'
'Yes you do, and you are speaking in Italian with them, why is that particularly important to you personally?'
'Well, I'm in Italy, and my friends are Italian'
'Yes, ha ha (nod, nod)'
'And I'd want to connect with them'
'And what would it be like if you didn't speak Italian?'
'I'd be like an idiot, they'd think I was some kind of retard and leave me alone'
'Hu, hu (nodding sumpathetically'
' And I wouldn't have much of a life, and I'd have to come back to England and the cold and the rain and the grey'..
' Wow, speaking Italian is really important to you'
'And how good is your Italian now?'
'Great, so you are going to be learning Italian, how brilliant, there's a juicy mission, keep a note of that'
Having gone through the list of 'I am's' - or at least a good portion of them, point out that they now have a list of good intentions - this is really exciting because you are beginning to have a path towards your dreams -
But right now they are a list of good intentions, and you know the phrase 'the way to hell is paved with good intentions' - We'll need to do some more work to make sure that these really happen.
Great work everyone!
3.1 - Pulling the notes of good intentions together in one list...
Note that this uses the phrase 'I WILL' and not 'I could' or 'I should'...
Remember how we started this with an interview with your future self?
Now you are going to send some messages back to them, but again the line isn't very good and they can only hear things that start with 'I will' - they can only hear your promises to help them become the person they are now in the future.
So write doen all the missions you have noted down one per line starting with 'I WILL...' - In fact start by writing down 7 times on new cards (orlines on the page):
' I WILL...'
'I will learn Italian'
'I will learn to cook'
'I will become a landscape gardener'
This starts to look like a list of goals, but at this stage:
Don't try to make them well-formed or timed - this comes soon, but not yet.
Do help the students to spot the gaps ('I will move to Italy')
Do help the students to 'unpack' the goals (I will explore Italy, I will chose a region, I will find a house)
3.2 - walking the line
At the moment we have two lists -
- I AM's
- I WILL's
We will bring these together into sentences that run:
' I WILL do x, by y (time), and I'll have succeeded when I AM....'
This excercise is a development on the one that many will have come across in the Vision My Future workshops.
Do this in pairs -
Your buddy sends you along the route travelled by your time-travelling video phone (remember that one in step 1).
... (you walk away from your buddy as though walking away in time)
Now put down the cards with the I AM statements on the floor - Buddies, help the person to place the I AM's in the right place on the timeline - Could you say 'I AM a great cook' before you moved to Italy, or did you learn after you could say 'I AM living in Italy'?
Now place the 'I WILL' cards along the line at the place where you start to do whatever it is - 'I WILL learn Italian', can go really close to the now, and 'I WILL find a house' will go further down the line, for instance.
Now drop some dates onto the cards.
Finally - Summarise the lot by writing out the sentences formed.
This forms the basis of some fairly well-formed, timely goals and moves you towards using the GROW model.