with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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Do you have a clear vision for your life? If not, then this one is for you.

“George Gray”
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me–
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire–
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
– Edgar Lee Masters, 1868 – 1950

I have met a thousand people frustrated with their life. Stuck in their own harbour of safety. I've been there. Sometimes they are even working their tails off and still going nowhere. Sometimes they are dreaming and not taking action. But I've never met someone whose actions were aligned to a vision that was in harbour. No, they were always at sail towards their destination risking the open seas and reaping the rewards internally and externally for their effort.

The very first time I did a vision board was in 2007. It was a transformative period of my life and I was reading self-help books by the dozen.

They ALL said you need a vision. Without it you simply don’t know what direction you’re going. It is like when you decide you want to go away for a weekend and what you do first is imagine what the perfect weekend would be like you create a vision in your head. Then you go about finding the right region, accommodation and activities that’ll help you achieve your vision. It all starts with vision. Without the vision you don’t even leave your home in the first place.

I found myself sitting in on the deck of a cafe in the mountains with a blank pad, my favourite tunes and a hot coffee. No phones. No social media. Just me with an inspiring vista . I dreamed and journaled. And while it was my first go and it was a little clunky I was energised and started to form some of the earliest ideas of what I do today.

Every year since then I’ve recreated my vision board. It’s kept evolving and I’ve learnt more and more about how to create them and how to execute them.

There are two steps to creating your Life Vision – Dreaming and Vision Creating.


The first step is to free the mind and record all things in life you always wished you could:

  1. Be
  2. Have
  3. Do

To start with it can be a list, a drawing, a written description or even pasted pictures.

Don’t worry about planning or anything yet. Just let the mind be a dreamer for a while. Day-dream. Listen to your soul and what it wants.

You’ve likely become so disconnected you can’t even hear yourself over all the noise.

So stop. Turn on your favourite music or sit quietly in nature. Dream big, dream and let your soul do the talking. It’s got some things you likely need to hear. [Click here to listen to an episode just on dreaming]

I normally do this in a stand alone session. Then I do a session on creating a vision.


Your personal vision is a description of your future state and includes all the aspects from your Life Scoreboard that we covered in Episode 55 but it’s the ultimate outcome of each at a particular point in time.
I suggest as a start point creating a vision for either 5 years from now and include:

  • Your dream role that you will be in
  • Your education, mastery and learning
  • Your financial position as an individual or unit
  • Your health
  • Your contribution to the greater good that allows you to live with more purpose
  • You relationships with significant others
  • Any big goals you’ve completed
  • Any traditions
  • Any travel or other activity dreams

To really bring it to life you can add more detail in a notes section. The power of words has been discounted of late because a picture tells a thousands words. But the vast majority of our stories are verbal or written and a simple description can tell an entire story better than any picture.

Now Chief, this should be a little scary. It will likely feel so big and different from your current way of living that you’re even a little nervous. That is a good thing. It means we are stretching you out from your comfort zone.


A couple of years ago I was catching up a client who’d become a great friend of mine. He was the CEO of a good sized company and spent a lot of time on the road. A few minutes into our beer I asked him how his wife was. He tensed up, grimaced and said, “She’s left me”. It flawed me and I really felt for him. Every discussion prior had been how close they were. I fumbled over asking what the hell happened and he just said, “Can you really blame her? I’m never there.”It was the most sombre reminder of the cost that so many leaders pay because they give so much of their time and energy to work there is little left for their family or significant other.

Often, the root cause of the troubles that lead to turmoil are down to expectation. One person thought the future would look and feel like their dream and the other had their own dream. It was like they were climbing two different mountains. In the end no one got what they wanted.

They even spend their energy on trying to slow the other down because they haven't signed up for the summit their partner is going towards.

The principles here is the same as all high performance team. Create a shared summit that lets you both have as many wins or dreams as possible.

You can do this  your partner or a trusted friend. If it is your partner it is your opportunity to share in something that could change your entire life together. To get very closely aligned on the shape of your life going forward.

If it is a trusted friend it is a way of growing together and holding each other accountable and to help refine or talk through some of the points.

The great news is whoever you share it with can now help you achieve your dreams

Every great chief starts with their dreams and vision. It is the foundation of all success and if you’re listening to this and are unsure about your personal vision then make your very next step before anything else to create a vision.

If you’d like to do your visioning with your partner make sure you share this episode with them or send it a trusted friend and tell them to meet you for a coffee a week from now to go through your dreams and visions together.

Stay epic,