As I have said before, New Year’s Day is my favorite day of the year. Fresh start, clean slate, blank canvas… call it whatever you want!

I want to share a practice that uses the energy of the “blank canvas” and turns it into action. It’s been called “Painted Picture”, “Vivid Vision”, or Jim Collins’ version “Envisioned Future”.  

Here is what I do…

I take the first week of the year, in January, to finalize my Painted Picture for the upcoming year. I try to make sure I am in a highly creative, quiet and meaningful space…often completely by myself.

I start with a journal and a pen and simply start to imagine a PERFECT year. Not really good, not amazing, but perfect. As in everything went totally perfectly. Now I know perfection is impossible so why come at it from that perspective?

You see, a Painted Picture is about imagining what is POSSIBLE.

What would you do if you couldn’t fail?

What is “the sky is the limit”?

What does it mean to think bigger and bolder than I ever have?

This isn’t a strategic plan, or an operational overview. It is a creative thinking exercise. A dream big exercise. A challenge your beliefs exercise.

In fact, there is a litmus test that if more than 50% of what you imagined came true you didn’t think big enough… more on that in a minute.

So how exactly does the process work?

After you sit and imagine, pen and journal in hand, of what perfect looks like, you start to write. But you don’t write in the third person, and you don’t write about the future. You imagine, or I do anyway, it is New Years Eve of that year…in my case it is 12/31/2023. I am looking back on the perfect year and imagining every aspect, every detail. What did it look like? Feel like? Sound like? Obsess on the details.

Then in first person, present tense (super important is writing as if it already came true), vividly describe the year in very bright detail. I am including a sample from the Painted Picture I am writing right now for 2023… see next paragraph.

Full Circle Mastermind 

“I cannot believe we created the community we have been talking about for the last 4 years. We launched the Full Circle Mastermind as a place for entrepreneurs to come together to connect about the journeys they are on and to learn how to build value in their businesses that are ready to go FULL CIRCLE – all the way to prepping for an extraordinary exit. We have 117 of the most amazing entrepreneurs in our group paying $25,000 per year. We hosted 3 incredible in-person hospitality experiences at our space in West Chester for the group where people were able to connect, share ideas, learn, and grow. We are delivering at least 10x the membership cost for every single member, and many have shared it has been worth over $1MM just from the ideas and things they have learned…”

It goes on from there but this is a sample of how this works in practice. By the time I am done there are normally 10-15 pages that describe all areas of the business: sales, marketing, operations, finance, new products, every business line, new hires, etc.

When done well this document becomes a guide to make better decisions, and it is my chance as the entrepreneur to share what’s in my head and get it on paper.

I encourage you to use this exercise to create excitement for yourself and your team about a bold future!


Founder of the align5 Companies,  CEO of Scaling Up Coaches, and Serial Entrepreneur

P.S. Just remember, dream big, think about perfection but let the team know you would never expect to hit more than 50% so you don’t create stress


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