Slowing Down to Speed Up: My 3-Step Process for Creating an Authentic Vision

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This ancient Biblical wisdom from Proverbs 29:18 captures a fundamental truth: Without a clear vision to guide us, we struggle to find meaning, direction and inspiration in our lives and work. We drift aimlessly, failing to manifest our fullest potential.

But what does it really mean to have a vision? And how can you craft one that authentically reflects your deepest values, purpose and desires – a North Star that illuminates the path to your highest destiny?

In this article, I’ll share a powerful 3-step process I use to help my clients and students look within and uncover the building blocks of a truly meaningful and authentic vision. I call it, “Slowing Down to Speed Up”.

Let’s dive in.

As a young executive, Sarah had all the trappings of success – a corner office, a team of dedicated employees, and a vision board filled with images of exotic vacations and luxury cars. Yet despite her achievements, Sarah felt strangely unfulfilled. She was working hard, but for what? The vision she had crafted felt hollow, disconnected from her deepest values and purpose.

Sarah’s story is not uncommon. In my work with leaders across industries, I’ve seen countless individuals struggle to create visions that truly inspire and guide them. They dutifully follow popular goal-setting strategies, pasting magazine cutouts onto vision board and crafting elaborate mission statements. But all too often, these efforts fail to yield the desired results. The images and words remain flat and lifeless, mere visuals lacking meaning.

The Consequences of an Inauthentic Vision

The consequences of an inauthentic vision are severe. Leaders without a true north find themselves drifting from one opportunity to another, never fully committing. They struggle to inspire their teams, feeling disconnected from their own work and purpose. They fail to make the impact they desire, not because they lack talent or drive, but because they’ve lost touch with the deeper why behind their efforts.

So, how can someone like Sarah break free from the mirage of inauthentic vision and tap into something real and powerful? The answer lies in a journey of self-discovery – a process of dropping into your heart and uncovering your core values, life purpose, and heart’s desires.

Slowing Down to Speed Up

In my work with leaders, I guide them through a process I call “Slow Down to Speed Up.” Unlike traditional vision-crafting methods that focus on external goals and metrics, this approach invites you to drop from your head into your heart, connecting with the essence of who you are and what truly matters to you.

The journey begins with cultivating greater self-awareness and presence through practices like witnessing and heart-centered meditation. Witnessing involves observing one’s thoughts, feelings and sensations with open, non-judgmental attention. Heart-Centered meditation involves breathing is a pattern of slow, deep breaths that helps synchronize the heart, brain and autonomic nervous system.

With a more present and attuned state of being, we then explore three key areas:

Core Values

The first step in crafting an authentic vision is to clarify your core values. These are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide your decisions and actions. To uncover your core values, reflect on the following questions:

  • What were the top 3-5 most important decisions in your life?
  • What values were driving those decisions?
  • What were you hoping to feel as a result of making those choices?
  • What values do you want to embody more fully going forward?

For example, reflecting on these questions you might identify values such as authenticity, courage, compassion, truth, and love. The key is to go beyond generic values and articulate what they uniquely mean to you. When I went through this process, I discovered my core three values are love, creativity, and freedom. Since them, they’ve become my guide when making important decisions.

As you explore these questions, look for common themes and patterns. What values seem to show up again and again? These are likely your core values – the deeper, often hidden determinants of your life.

Life Purpose

The next step is to connect with your life purpose. Purpose is what you want to ‘bring forth’ out into the world – the difference you want to make. When you are living “on purpose,” you feel a sense of vitality and meaning that goes beyond mere happiness or success.

To explore your life purpose, consider the following seven questions:

  1. What has brought you the most joy in life?
  2. What has brought you the most pain?
  3. What are the natural gifts and talents you believe you have?
  4. What are the natural gifts and talents others see in you?
  5. What contribution do you want to make in the world? What problem do you want to help solve?
  6. In what area do you want to be a leader or attain mastery?
  7. What do you believe is your higher calling or soul purpose? Why do you think God put you here, or your soul decided to incarnate?

As you reflect on these questions, look for the common threads that weave through your experiences and aspirations. What emerges is a multidimensional view of your life purpose, a compass that can guide your choices and actions.

Your purpose, for example, can be “To be a compassionate leader, creating innovative programs and services, so that refugees can live with greater dignity and opportunity.”

Heart’s Desires

The final step in the process is to tune into your heart’s deepest desires. These are the longings and aspirations that reside in the core of your being, the things you most want to create, experience, and contribute in this lifetime.

To tap into your heart’s desires, ask yourself:

  • What do I most long to create, experience, or offer in this lifetime?
  • If I had 1 year to live, how would I spend my time and energy? What matters most?
  • What is my soul yearning for? What would make my heart sing?

One leader I worked with uncovered a deep desire to use her business acumen to support vulnerable teenagers. Another realized he longed for more adventure, freedom, and travel. As they gave themselves permission to honor these desires, their visions (and lives) came alive with new energy and possibility.

As you sit with these questions, allow yourself to dream big. What would your life look like if you were living in full alignment with your heart’s desires? What would you be doing, creating, and experiencing?

Putting It All Together

Having clarified your values, purpose, and desires, you’re ready to weave these threads into a cohesive vision statement or declaration that captures:

  1. The overarching impact you want to create (informed by your purpose)
  2. The core values and strengths that will guide your actions
  3. The desires and experiences you want to manifest along the way

When I went through this process myself, I arrived at the following realization and vision statement:

“My vision is to be a loving, courageous leader doing God’s work as a spiritual teacher, coach, and artist, guiding people back to their hearts and, through their hearts, to the eternal heart of God. Guided by the values of love, creativity, and freedom, I create transformative programs, content, and experiences that empower individuals to embody the Christ presence within them, enabling them to live fulfilling lives from a place of heart-centered authenticity so that they can help others do the same. In the process, I get to experience the joy of connecting deeply with others, the thrill of exploring new frontiers of human potential, and the satisfaction of contributing to a global movement of elevated consciousness and harmony.”

How Do You Know if Your Vision is Authentic?

As you go through the process of crafting your vision declaration statement, it’s important to pause and reflect on whether the vision that’s emerging is truly authentic to who you are.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this me? Does this vision reflect your true self, your personality, your passions, and your values? Or is it a vision you think you “should” have based on external expectations or influences?
  • Does it reflect my beliefs and ideas about myself? Does this vision align with your self-image and self-concept? Does it feel congruent with how you see yourself and your potential?
  • Does it allow me to express my natural gifts and talents? Does this vision provide a platform for you to fully utilize and express your unique strengths and abilities? Will it allow you to operate in your zone of genius?
  • Is it in alignment with my big Why? Does this vision connect with your deeper purpose, the reason you feel called to lead and serve? Does it align with the difference you want to make in the world?
  • Will it support my livelihood and lifestyle? Does this vision align with your desired standard of living and way of being in the world? Will it provide the resources and opportunities needed to sustain yourself and your loved ones?
  • Will it benefit me, others, and the world? Is this a vision that creates win-win-win outcomes? Does it have the potential to positively impact yourself, the people around you, and the larger world?
  • Will it allow me to express God through me and as me? Does this vision feel in alignment with your understanding of the Divine and your role in the larger unfolding of life? Will it allow you to express your highest self and most sacred purpose?

As you sit with these questions, tune into your body and your intuition. Notice any sensations of expansion, excitement, or rightness that arise. These are often signs that you’re on the right track, that your vision is resonating with your deepest truth.

At the same time, be aware of any feelings of constriction, heaviness, or misalignment. These may be indications that some aspect of your vision is not quite authentic, that it needs to be refined or released.

The key is to stay connected to your inner truth, to keep checking in with yourself and adjusting your course as needed. By doing so, you ensure that your vision remains a true reflection of who you are and what you’re here to create.

Living the Vision: The Journey Continues

Crafting your authentic vision is a major milestone – but it’s just the beginning. The real test is whether you embody that vision in your daily life and leadership. This requires ongoing intention, awareness, courage, and support.

To integrate your vision:

  • Share it with others. Declare your vision to friends, family, colleagues – anyone who can serve as a sounding board and accountability partner. Ask for their support and feedback.
  • Make decisions through the lens of your vision. When faced with a choice, ask: “Which option best aligns with and advances my authentic vision?” Let your vision be your guidepost.
  • Take aligned action. Each week, identify 3 specific actions you will take to manifest your vision. Break them down into doable steps and schedule them.
  • Reflect and recalibrate regularly. Carve out time each quarter to revisit your vision. Is it still resonant and relevant? Are you living in alignment? What needs to shift?
  • Invest in support. Leading from an authentic vision is joyful and energizing – but it’s not always easy. Work with a coach, mentor or peer group who can provide ongoing encouragement, accountability and guidance.

Overcoming Obstacles to Your Authentic Vision

As you aspire to create an authentic vision that expresses who you really are, you may wrestle with doubts and perceived roadblocks. Here’s how to navigate the most common challenges:

“I don’t have time for introspection.” While life’s demands can make reflection feel impractical, investing in self-awareness is a leadership prerequisite. Start with just 15 minutes of daily journaling or meditation. The clarity you gain will more than compensate for the time spent.

“I’m not sure I have a ‘calling’.” If you’re struggling to identify your unique contribution, notice what activities energize you and what problems spark your curiosity. Your purpose doesn’t have to be grandiose – it can be as simple as “being a force for good.” Trust that as you lean into what lights you up, your path will unfold.

“My vision seems unrealistic.” Authentic visions challenge the status quo and stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Remember, a vision is a guiding star, not an overnight goal. Chunk it down, find fellow travelers, and keep moving forward. The impossible will start to feel inevitable.

“I have to be practical.” When you honor your true desires and values, you tap into a renewable source of energy and creativity that allows you to be of greater service. Yes, there are practical constraints, but often there’s more room to maneuver than you assume. Challenge yourself to find synergies where you can meet responsibilities while honoring your heart’s calling.

The World Needs Heart-Centered Leaders

We are living through a time of great change and upheaval in the world. The old systems and ways of being that lack heart, authenticity and integrity are crumbling. A new era is emerging – one that calls for greater truth, transparency, connection and care. In this pivotal moment, the world desperately needs a new kind of leader – heart-centered leaders who have the courage, compassion and clarity to guide us into a brighter future.

These heart-centered leaders are not driven by ego or external measures of success. Instead, they are deeply connected to their own hearts – to their core values, purpose, and most authentic desires. They have done the inner psychological and spiritual work to uncover the truth of who they are and the unique contribution they feel called to make. From this place of alignment and integrity, they lead with love, building a world that works for everyone.


Final Thoughts and Invitation

Where there is no vision, the leader and their followers perish. This twist on the ancient Biblical wisdom from Proverbs 29:18 captures a fundamental truth: Without a clear vision to guide them, leaders and those they lead will struggle to find direction, meaning, and purpose. They risk metaphorically ‘perishing’ – failing to thrive and reach their full potential. 

If you feel in your heart the call to become this kind of transformative leader, I invite you to join my Heart Leader Certification Program, a 9-month journey in Heart-Centered, Transformative Leadership and Coaching. In a safe and nurturing community space, I will guide you through the deep work of connecting to your authentic vision and developing the nine key skills of heart-centered, transformative leadership.

You will gain the clarity and confidence to lead from your deepest truth, making the impact you know you’re here to make. You will be supported by a global community of heart-minded leaders who share your commitment to creating a world of greater harmony and wholeness. Together, we will be a force for the heart awakening that our planet so urgently needs.

“Gabriel’s Heart Leader Program helped me step into my power. I find that I am more impactful in my work with young people, activists, and leaders because I am authentic and able to use my special gifts.” – Shammillah Wilsom, Inner Activist Coach

The world needs more leaders like you – leaders with an open heart, a courageous spirit, and a vision for a brighter tomorrow. If this resonates, I encourage you to listen to the whispers of your own heart. Dare to envision the leader you wish to become and the world you wish to create. Embrace the adventure of uncovering and living your authentic purpose.

Will you answer the call?

From my heart to yours, 


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