Are you afraid of being too specific about what you want your future to look like?
As a leadership coach, this is something that I see holding leaders like you back all of the time.
No matter the industry or the experience level – SO many leaders come to me struggling with clarity, and when we peel back the layers, a fear of specificity is what’s holding them back.
There are two main fears associated with calling your shot. Let’s get into them, as well as explore strategies to overcome those fears so you can get crystal clear on your Vision. Because the more clarity you have around where you’re going, the better equipped you are to get there.
The two types of fear around specificity
Are you scared that if you declare your Vision – (your definition of success at a specific point in
the future), you will be locked into that Vision forever?
You might worry that you won’t be able to change your mind.
On the other side of the coin, there are Visionaries that fear getting specific because they’re trapped in perfectionism.
In this case, leaders aren’t worried about being ‘locked in’ to their vision. They’re scared they may choose the ‘wrong’ Vision entirely.
This can often manifest as:
● Fearing your Vision is too small and that you’re not challenging yourself to see what’s
● Fearing your Vision is too big and that you’re being overly ambitious, thinking there’s no
way you’ll be able to accomplish what you set out to do
● Fearing that your Vision is simply not the right path – and what’s the point in getting specific on a path when you’re not even sure it’s the right one in the first place?
By overanalyzing, you get stuck in that perfectionist mindset.
When you look at these two different variations of the same fear, you may begin to realize that
you’re stopping yourself before you even get a chance to start.
If either of these fears resonate with you, there is a way that you can break through them and
It’s a framework I use with all of my Visionary clients and it will help you combat your fear of specificity. Are you ready to hear it?
A framework that gets to the heart of Visioning
You don’t need to operate from a place of fear anymore.
Even if you’re afraid of getting crystal clear on your Vision, there is a way to eliminate your worries moving forward.
The framework is a blend of what I call ‘Extreme Specificity” + ‘Intentional Vagueness”.
First, what is Extreme specificity?
It’s when you are SO clear, right down to the exact details, about what you want your future to look and feel like.
I’ll give you an example from the first 5 Year Vision I wrote when I was 25.
If you were to read it, you would feel like you were right there with me.
I wrote my Vision in the present tense, like it had already happened. Like it was already 5 years later. And I described the living environment I had created by then:
The cozy blankets on the couch, the candles flickering in my cherished outdoor space, the smell of fresh Spring air breezing in through the windows.
I was incredibly detailed in my descriptions, and every time I read that part of my Vision, I could imagine myself in that space with crystal clarity.
THAT is Extreme Specificity.
But, if you were to read that paragraph in my Vision again, you would realize that while there were a lot of specifics about the environment, I never detailed where I had created that environment. I never said what city, state, country or even hemisphere I was in by that 5 year mark. And I never said if I had created that environment in an apartment, or a bungalow or a house boat.
I left those pieces of the puzzle Intentionally Vague.
Because the environment I wanted to create was a non-negotiable for me. No matter where my Vision took me over the next 5 years, I knew I wanted to be living in that kind of space. But where that living space was located and what type of space it would be were totally negotiable, so I left those parts Intentionally Vague.
Now for someone else, that might be flipped. Let’s say that living in a San Diego high rise was a non-negotiable for them, and how the space looked and felt was negotiable. Then they would be extremely specific in their Vision about the where and the what, and intentionally vague about the living environment itself.
Ultimately, you want to be Extremely Specific about the non-negotiables in your Vision, and Intentionally Vague about the rest, because we want to leave room for all the change and evolution that will occur during the timeframe of your Vision.
That’s why determining your true non-negotiables is such an important part of the Visioning process I guide my clients through.
The beauty of this framework is that the blend of Extreme Specificity and Intentional Vagueness is different for everyone and there’s no right or wrong mix of the two.
Breaking free from traditional goal setting
The fear of specificity often comes from a leader’s experience with traditional goal-setting.
Oftentimes leaders tell me that their list of goals – both for their life and their business – have started to become demotivating.
That might sound counterintuitive.
Isn’t a key benefit of goal-setting supposed to be motivation? It can be.
But when you set a goal without clarifying your Vision first, it can start to feel like a burden more than an inspiration.
One client of mine had a long-standing goal of getting a second home overseas.
He had written down and told people about it, it checked all the boxes of a “SMART” goal. But while it once felt exciting, he started to wonder if that’s what he really wanted.
When we dove into the Visioning process, he realized he wasn’t sure if that was part of the future he wanted to create, after all.
That’s when the fear of specificity reared its head.
If he included it in his Vision, would he be committed to something he was ambivalent about? And if he left it out, did that mean he had given up on this longtime goal, or failed to hit a milestone he had aspired to for years?
He was relieved when I told him that the answer to both his questions was a resounding ‘no’!
I explained that by uncovering his true non-negotiables we would be able to create a blend of extreme specificity and intentional vagueness that opened him up to possibilities, rather than boxing him in.
It would help him create the future he actually wanted, not keep him tied to a goal that no longer served him.
Through the process, he realized that his true non-negotiable wasn’t actually having a 2nd residence overseas.
It was about having a relaxing retreat where he could get away, whether that was for a quick trip or a couple of months.
And with that, his priorities shifted.
Now instead of feeling pressure to find the ‘perfect’ place overseas, he gets to play around with all the different ways he could live this part of his Vision into existence.
Instead of feeling pushed by a goal, he feels pulled forward by his Vision.
As you start to explore these questions for yourself, there is one thing that will come up…
But don’t worry. You’re ready for it.
The fear of specificity WILL show up
It’s inevitable – as a leader, this fear WILL show up. Because the Visioning process will call on you to get really honest with yourself.
You may find yourself avoiding some of the big questions that Visioning brings up, because you know clarifying your answers will spur you into action. Action you feel like you may not be ready for.
But here’s the thing. If you wait to be ‘ready’, you’ll be waiting forever.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re curious. Curious about the big answers to the big questions you have about the future you want to create for yourself, personally and professionally.
And that tells me you ARE ready to overcome your fear of specificity, and remember – you’ve got the framework of Extreme Specificity + Intentional Vagueness in your back pocket.
Ready to dive in and gain this clarity for yourself, but don’t want to go it alone?
I would love to hop on a call with you!
We can see if it’s the right time for you to go on the Visioning journey, and if I am the right guide for you here.
I’ll help you find the blend of Extreme Specificity + Intentional Vagueness that helps you accelerate your Vision and create the future you really want (not the future you think you’re supposed to want).