The Personal Narrative Vision
In my previous article on how I perform my Annual Review, I briefly discussed the Personal Narrative Vision (PNV) exercise. I’ve developed the PNV by drawing on many other visualization exercises I’ve encountered over the years, synthesizing them into a simple yet profound writing exercise.
The PNV is one of the most important but also least structured exercises I perform. It is like a blank canvas, allowing me to paint a picture of a desired future without constraints or boundaries. I don’t use any particular guidelines or rules myself. The only instruction is to write, in present tense, a detailed description of what my life will look like in one year. It doesn’t need to be feasible or even realistic.
Because there is no checklist, the only way to demonstrate what it looks like is simply to show you my own.
Tiago’s Personal Narrative Vision 2018
I wake up in a clean, beautiful, yet minimally furnished apartment, in a vibrant neighborhood in Mexico City. Lauren and I are married, working on a mix of projects that profoundly impact communities and the world, and fill us with excitement and passion. We eat a light, healthy breakfast in a light-filled kitchen, setting our intentions for the day and coordinating our plans.
We both meditate and exercise every day, maintaining balance and mindfulness throughout our days. Our days are full of conversations, relationships, and communities. We do all our work in collaboration, with each other and with others. Our family and friends are deeply connected and integrated into our lives, and we contribute to them in every way we know how, and even some we don’t.
I go to work in a local coworking space, where I know everyone and am known as a leader and connector of people. I work hard but without suffering. Each day has a strong unifying intention, either free of appointments so I can focus on producing something, or open and spontaneous to make myself available to people who need me. I remain faithful to the day’s intention, while also remaining adaptive to whatever life throws my way.
My work is purposeful and balanced. I make consistent progress toward my goals in short bursts of focused activity. I respect and leverage the cycles of my mind, body, spirit, community, nature, and nation, leaning into each season as an opportunity to bring balance to a new area of my life. I know and believe that everything is perfect, that every situation I face is an opportunity to grow and to open.
Forte Labs is growing explosively, not because of what I’m doing or pushing through, but because of who I’m being.
- My books are selling in 20 languages all around the world, generating a constant stream of revenue and new opportunities
- My online courses are managed and continuously improved by a dedicated team of remote collaborators, who take total ownership for their success and know how to leverage me and my skills when needed. Thousands of people take my courses each month, breaking through limiting paradigms, creating groundbreaking new projects, products, and businesses, and becoming leaders in the movement to transform people’s relationship to their work. Everything I know is open-sourced and available to help people create more freedom, pleasure, and impact in their work and lives, whether they ever buy from me or not
- Praxis is thriving as the most impactful community of leaders, visionaries, and doers on the planet. It has 1,000 paying members and generates enough passive income every month to pay all my expenses. Every month I publish groundbreaking articles and host town halls on the future of work, which become building blocks and intellectual catapults for people who are themselves having a tremendous impact. Guest articles and tutorialspush the boundaries on topics I couldn’t myself. Everyone in the community shares their learnings and supports each other in a conversation that is greater than the sum of its parts.
- I facilitate workshops and immersive experiences for companies, non-profits, and other groups around the world, creating a safe environment where transformational breakthroughs happen naturally and continuously. I charge premium prices and overdeliver, using these events to train a team and test new ideas
- I speak regularly at events and conferences around the world, using them as platforms to spread my message and impact people directly. I am paid at the top of the market, and am building a network of groups and events that become allies in the movement
- The online forum is the world’s best source of conversations, curated resources, tutorials, and experimentson the future of work. It isn’t for everyone – only those with a manifested commitment to personal growth and serving others
- I consult with the world’s most influential organizations, shaping the development of products and services that manifest human-centered design principles and what I’ve learned about human-centered work. I recruit a customized team of collaborators and contractors for each project, demonstrating in how we work how to work remotely, collaboratively, and through a network
- I oversee a portfolio of experiments pushing forward the boundaries of my field, such as group knowledge management, design thinking, science fiction prototyping, behavior change, self-tracking, art and music, crowdsourced collaboration, full-stack freelancing, online marketing, project management, community building, creativity, emergence, history, self-awareness, online learning, time-tracking, visual thinking, and writing
In all my projects, I work with the world’s smartest, most capable, most innovative, and most self-aware and generous people. We value each others’ time and attention, constantly surfacing mutual opportunities for greater leverage, self-expression, and contribution. All the financial, legal, and administrative aspects of the business are secured and in order, enabling highly creative and risk-taking initiatives. I work with a team of service providers who keep everything running smoothly while advising me of changes and improvements needed.
The Forte Labs brand has been completely redesigned by a world-class designer, bringing it in line with the world’s strongest brands aesthetically and in reputation. Every property and channel we operate through is consistent and cohesive, providing a unified customer experience across whichever ones they choose to engage with. Forte Labs is a platform upon which a diverse range of people and projects are reshaping what it means to work, and what it means to be human.
I oversee an online course incubator, which regularly turns out new courses and other offerings that generate income and value for the people that have developed them. I provide every piece of knowledge, service, and counsel the participants need to develop their idea to fruition, and take a small percentage while giving them a worldwide sales and marketing platform. I am continuously enabling new businesses and lifestyles for those willing to complete the curriculum and dedicate themselves to content creation.
My health is the best it’s ever been. I exercise every day, a mix of intense and moderate, strength-building and endurance-building, social and solitary activities. I treat my body as a temple and as the source of my pleasure and freedom. I respect my body as a precious gift from the universe, on loan for the purpose I was born to fulfill. I feed it along every dimension – nutritionally, physiologically, sexually, socially, spiritually.
I eat home-made, healthy, fulfilling, affordable meals for myself and my family. I am constantly learning and trying new foods and cooking methods, sharing what I learn through the food itself and through working alongside others. I see food as an opportunity and a source of sublime enjoyment and healing. I don’t waste anything, eat processed or fast food, or skip meals.
My family is thriving in their own lives, fulfilling their dreams and enjoying every day as an adventure.
- Marco is a leader in the dance world, pushing the boundaries of his art, teaching the world’s most talented students, and choreographing performances seen by millions. He is thriving financially and spiritually, feeding his passion and art while taking care of his practical needs.
- Paloma is working at a new school that appreciates every skill, talent, experience, and piece of knowledge she has to offer, while also challenging her to grow her understanding of what children need to grow into thriving, healthy adults. She is paid at the top of the market, and is developing a reputation among her friends and family, school community, and professional community as someone who integrates principles across a wide variety of fields and domains.
- Grant is leading Guayaki as a top executive, spreading his vision of healthy, ethical energy promoted by thousands of evangelists and fans inside and outside the organization. He is recognized as a visionary and executor, and people look to him for courage and grounded wisdom in what it means to build a movement to change people’s lives
- Lucas is thriving in his work, responsible for a portfolio of custom homes worth millions. He continues to develop every skill he has and wants, building a foundation for running his own business. He operates at the very extreme top of his field, teaching and developing the people around him to elevate their game and embrace their passions
- Kaitlyn is happy and fulfilled, raising a beautiful, healthy child in a household full of love and communication. She works on a variety of projects inside and outside the home, fulfilling her interests and passions and contributing to her friends, her communities, and her family. She feels the love and acceptance of her new family and is comfortable sharing her dreams, her challenges, and her thoughts with us.
- Mom is working on projects that make her happy and fulfilled, including genealogy research, photo collections, historical research, and others inside and outside the home. She is deeply connected to and engaged with her family, in California and Brazil, and contributes to all the communities she is a part of her love, compassion, empathy, and wisdom.
- Dad’s business and work is thriving. He is selling more paintings than ever, through a variety of channels that understand and know how to market them. He is able to focus on the topics and themes he is passionate about, without worrying about financial limitations. He continues to develop his skill and truthfulness in his painting, and expresses his faith and his truth through his art.
Lauren is working for a variety of social impact organizations, taking the roles and responsibilities that maximize her contributions and her satisfaction. She focuses on activities where she provides the most value, delegating everything else to assistants, collaborators, and other organizations. She knows herself and what matters to her, and feels comfortable saying no to anything that doesn’t fit. She is surrounded by a community of friends, mentors, mentees, and collaborators that hold her accountable, help her learn and grow, and appreciate everything she does and is. She sees and accepts how much she matters to people, and rests in the knowledge that she is fulfilling her purpose every day and in every conversation.
Lauren’s family is also thriving, healthy, and happy, growing their skills and knowledge while doing meaningful work in line with their passions.
We end the day by winding down at home, putting aside work and devices. We have a healthy, home-cooked dinner, read or watch a movie, and share what we learned and experienced during the day. We go to bed early, reading and meditating, and fall asleep with a sense of peace and deep gratitude.
We travel regularly, both for work and for pleasure. We bring family and friends along with us, making new experiences available to them. We enjoy exploring and learning about new cultures and languages, drawing on their wisdom and tradition to live a meaningful life.
I am surrounded by a group of authentic, intimate friendships with men and women who love me and respect me. We all share what’s going on with us, what matters to us, what’s missing, and the new possibilities we’re creating, without judgment and without fear. They all know each other and form a real community. We spend time together every day, casually hanging out and going on adventures. We share our lives fully and freely, creating relationships that stand the test of time.
My voice problem is disappeared, a long-lost memory. I maintain the habits, practices, and self-care needed to keep my chakras and my heart open. I respect and am grateful for every experience I’ve had, as a lesson that made me who I am and gave me the life of my dreams.
My relationship with Lauren is vibrant, exciting, juicy, and exhilarating. We support and accept each other in every way, listening and challenging each other as needed. We both have full integrity in every aspect of our lives, while always looking to the next game. Our love for each other is extraordinary, a light that shines on everyone it comes into contact with. Our household is warm and welcoming, a place of peace and refuge for everyone we care for. We regularly hold gatherings and dinners to strengthen our community and bring people together. Our relationship continues to grow and deepen, and we are deeply engaged with each other’s families as our own.
I’ve received my senior skipper certification, and regularly sail with Lauren and friends. I continue to learn skippering skills in preparation for a circumnavigation around the globe.
I continue to seek out mind-expanding experiences, finding new ways of understanding and experiencing myself and others. At the same time, I appreciate everything I am, have, and do, living in the present. I am ambitious but equanimous, driven but forgiving. I go to extremes consciously and only when necessary, and understand the impact on myself and others. I put to use the lessons, principles, and practices I’ve learned throughout my life, living and breathing my wisdom while always striving to see more clearly and to act with more power.