+ direction, expectation, and vision +

I have had it. Being limited by others is one thing, but self-limitation is something that we must refuse to partake in. There has been much growing under the surface for awhile now, and it’s about to sprout. It’s going to cause a scene. In my personal life, in my professional life, and everywhere in-between. I’m getting my vision back, and I’ll explain this soon, as well as what it looks like. But first, some backstory.

Direction, Expectation and Vision.

As kids, we were most likely given one of these things, and maybe two. The problem with this recipe for life is that it’s just like baking: if one ingredient is missing, it won’t rise.

The first half of my childhood was marked with direction and expectation.

By expectation, I mean hope merged with well-meaning standards. Expectancy to do well, expectantancy that I was fully equipped to succeed. Let yourself escape from the “my parents pushed me too hard” for a moment and recognize the healthy benefit of expectation. Children should never doubt that they have what it takes to be and become an amazing, fully alive, valuable human being. Complete with glittering stars and confetti.

Direction. Direction is a gift. If we were blessed with ‘involved’ parents or teachers, they pointed us in healthy directions. They laid out our schooling in a wise and effective way, with our best interests in mind. They recognized our strengths and put corrolating opportunities in our paths, encouraging us along the way. They affirmed both our interests and our bents, and showed us how to manifest our talents in real, tangible ways. They introduced structure to our creative, questioning minds and taught us how the world worked.

But vision, I lacked.

Vision. The ability to see the purpose, the meaning, the big picture. Something that resonates in the depths of your heart that fights when all odds are against you. What makes good men great. There was no ultimate goal, and no driving force that had been anchored in my heart that held me faithful to a consistent path.

Vision can go one of two ways. Vision can be implanted deep into your heart, the core of the being that is You. Or, it can become a sometimes-mocking voice that taunts you with not being enough until you accomplish enough to reach something distant and unattainable. Healthy vision is drawn out of who you are and the purpose of your life. Unhealthy vision is simply expectation on steroids. Re-read that.

I’ll cut my parents a break on this. It’s nearly impossible to give a young child true vision within
the bounds of his or her education without it seeming like expectation taken too far. Debilitating, can’t-live-up-to, never-good-enough expectancy. In order to impart vision to a child, a clean line must be drawn between school (accomplishments) and his or her personal identity. Children define themselves by their schooling – and so they should! It’s the majority of their daily life. They aren’t old enough to compartmentalize and to separate who they are from what they do and how they do it. Still, if you are influencing the life of a child, make every effort to draw that line, and plant seeds deep into their soul – let go of pruning for a bit.

Let me transition to the second half of my “education years.”

My unhealthy vision culminated when I was 14 years old. My parents were ecstatic. Finally, I cared. I was motivated, I pushed myself, and it seemed to them that I had finally found something I loved. Any outsider watching my outrageous ‘success’ would have assumed years of direction, expectation and vision had finally collided and was resulting in the type of fireworks that are every parents’ dream for their child. What they saw was me latching onto success in the political and educational realm – something “clicking” for me internally.

What was really going on was the invisible birth of a new vision. A new love. Unfortunately, it manifested itself in a way that (I believe) caused my parents to withdraw their direction. Perhaps it seemed that it wasn’t needed – direction was complete. I became obsessed with politics, teaching, traveling, staffing, speaking, debate, week-long conferences – all at the age of 14. Not because I loved the content, but because I LOVED people. Networking. Connections. Traveling. Seeing new things, feeling new things, hearing new things. I loved the necessity of attention to detail, organization – all infused with Big Ideas. A new love and a new vision was growing rapidly, but the content was all wrong.

This continued throughout high-school, literally ’til the end of the first semester of senior year when I had 43 credits and only needed 21 to graduated. I was at the end of my rope with classes on politics, American history and economics. Yes, they interested me – but so did other things. I was burned out. Two isolated, off-color incidents had pulled me out of both major high-school social networks (within the political & debate realms) and I was left with a handful of things I just didn’t care about anymore, revealing the unhealthy vision in all of it’s nakedness.

Other things – other people – were pulling on my heart strings, and I was slowly processing through this unhealthy vs healthy vision that slowly been weaving itself through my heart and mind.

I still had the expectation, and I had conflicting visions. And no direction.

So I quit. I spent the second half of senior year working, trying to deal with family issues, found that I couldn’t – and left. I dropped everything. I moved out, moved to Phoenix, and started a new life. I made some mistakes, yes – but when we’re burned out, we burn bridges. And sometimes when we reach a level of inner turmoil, we have to give ourselves forgiveness in advance, with the understanding that death precedes life. And more often than not, that pain births vision.

The next five years was spent filtering, re-filtering, and identifying vision. Finding the direction that I lost. Turning down the expectation a few notches. Seeking wisdom and fighting to find the correct measurements of these three that will result in something that will rise.

I explain this all to you in hopes that you will somehow be able to pick out some structure points that connect with your story. In hopes that you will begin to draw the line between your expectation-on-steroids vision and your true, heart-and-soul vision. In hopes that you can grasp and appreciate the outrageous task that is parenting, and cut your parents some slack. In hopes that you will make a conscious effort to draw the line between actions and heart in your children, now or later. In hopes that you recognize the lack of direction given to you in your own life, come to terms with it, and now seek it out.

It’s never too late, and your life is still as pliable as it ever was. Truly.

Find the sources of your expectation, or lack thereof.

Find the sources of your direction, or lack thereof.

Find the sources of your vision, and your lack thereof.

Reflect, be released, choose love, and move forwards.

Vision is everything – fight for it.

I will post more on vision later; I know that not nearly enough was said about it, and I raised some internal questions that I haven’t answered yet. Until then, I will email a copy of Danielle LaPorte’s Authentic Dreaming Worksheet to anyone that would like it. Leave your email in the comments. She’s a vision addict, and an amazing asset in recovering it.

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  1. Han says:

    I think I had the vision till I got to Uni and now I don't have it. When I was about 8 or 9, I knew that I wanted to go to University because thats what clever people did. Then I got there and was like "erm okay what do I do next?" I took performing arts which at the time seemed like a good idea – all my courses leading up to that point had been arts based. In my second year I did an AS level in Sociology so I had something other than arts.

    I looked into teaching but now I'm still working as a Customer Service Representative because there are bills to pay and things like that. So where did my vision go and how do I get it back? I work in a little office so it's not like I can aim for promotion. argh Life it's so complicated.

  2. Trish Palac says:

    I love reading these words coming directly from your soul. I lost my vision quite awhile ago and am working on finding it again. Trying to keep that pursuit away from blame and bitterness. I would love to see that worksheet.


    Love love,


  3. Michelle (michabella) says:

    Oh I def can relate. I cant wait to hear more about vision. I seriously have no clue where my life is going. My parents have guided and directed me in the right ways a parent should but at the age of 25, I have never found my vision. I have settled working as a receptionist doing the least of the things I love.

    I would love to have you email me that worksheet.

  4. Michelle (michabella) says:

    I could have sworn I left my email address…oops!


  5. kelly says:

    Sometimes the things you say and how you say them just astound me. You're amazing and I love what you write. Vision is something I've been struggling with for a while, and reading this was perfect timing. I love you. Please send me the worksheet, too. wrshphim14@aol.com

  6. frankenstein says:

    oh man, i haven't read this yet bc my brain is to scattered, but i will. xxx

  7. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog because I feel I can relate to you quite a big – I'm glad someone on Twitter #FF'ed you and I decided to see why he thought you were so special šŸ™‚

  8. WhiteHotTruth says:


  9. lauren lanza osias says:

    wow. that's making me think. lots. self-limitation has been a huge problem of mine… sometimes i just need that push… i don't know. you've given me a ton to ponder.

    those crazy gleeksters…

  10. Paige Baker says:

    I forgot to tell you how much I love this. I thought it–but I never said it. You are a truly incredible human being.

  11. l.e. yar says:

    Yes, please – ley3813@truman.edu

  12. tiny twig/hayley says:

    would love that. thetinytwig (at) gmail.com

  13. Elizabeth says:

    great! love your blog

    i would love the worksheet: lizanne.b055 (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. Margaret Moon says:

    Thanks Nicole. May I wish you all the best that there is. Courage, mon ami!

  15. Nicole says:

    Just discovered your blog and would like your worksheet please


  16. Nathan says:

    I am learning so much from your blog! I hope this isn't too late for you to not read this… My email is NarratedOffhand@gmail.com and would love a copy of that. Thank you so much, for that and for your writings. Max is so blessed, but really, we all are in our Lord.

  17. Me says:

    Can I still get the worksheet? Katigrow@gmail dot com

  18. kristensarahbruce says:

    i'd like the worksheet if it's handy! talktokrissyb@yahoo.com

  19. Amanda says:

    I love the 'Good Writing' board! Thanks for a great article, and I'd love to get started with Pinterest! My email is amandabmahony@gmail.com

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