When asked to define ‘vision’, the first thing many say is the act of seeing with ones’ eyes. While sight can play an important role in creating a vision statement, one must become more introspective for a deeper understanding of the type of vision being explored here: a prophetic vision or the power of anticipating what may come.
People are commonly influenced by more than one type of vision throughout their lives. For instance, a person may have a personal vision statement, a corporate mission statement, and a vision statement pertaining to one aspect of his/her life (volunteering, parenting, faith, etc.).
Personal vision and corporate mission statements are similar in that they represent a future picture of you, your business or the company you work for. Setting the framework for future planning and goal setting, vision and mission statements answer the following questions respectively: What do I want and where are we going?
Whether personal or corporate, vision/mission statements are created to help articulate dreams and aspirations. Using your imagination without limitation will help capture your inner passion.
Let’s get started!
Developing a Vision
When developing a vision statement, focus on the future in a positive and inspirational way while keeping the statement simple and easy to remember.
For a personal vision statement, reflect on strengths and talents when asking yourself the following questions:
- Why am I special?
- What makes me happy?
- What do I love about me?
- What am I best at?
- Where do I excel?
For a corporate mission statement, ask your team the questions above and include the following:
- Why do we exist?
- What is our purpose?
Vision and mission statements set the framework for future planning and goal setting by describing the future in present and powerful terms. Whether for yourself or your company, the statement should be…
…written in present tense.
…aligned with your core values.
…specific and include action.
Microsoft’s mission statement went public in 1980 when Bill Gates pronounced, “We will put a computer on every desk and in every home.” On the verge of a technological revolution, most people underestimated Gates’ vision. His statement was a glimpse of what he imaged the future could be. Today, nearly every household, business and school operates using a computer.
Many more examples like the one above exist to inspire and guide your efforts. Spend time researching successful people and companies to see what influences their success and take note. Every success story started with a vision.
Defining and Understanding Wants
People are eager to talk about what they want… more money, more time, more flexibility. Developing your vision statement includes identifying what you want and, just as importantly, discovering what you don’t want from life.
When writing your statement, consider the following to help you define exactly what you want.
- What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I want less of in my life?
- If money were no object, what would my career look like?
- What relationships do I need to nurture? Let go of?
- What is my relationship to money?
- The dream I never mention because it’s too big to think about is …
- What are my fears?
- What must occur during my lifetime to call my existence well lived with few or no regrets?
- What would bring more joy into my life?
- What am I grateful for?
As you reflect on answers to the above, review your core values. Are the things you want in alignment with the values originally chosen?
Make Your Vision a Reality
Ensure your vision statement represents you. If you discover that what you want fails to align with your original core values, start over. What you want must be fully aligned with your core values in order to live in harmony with your vision statement.
After refining your statement, follow the suggestions below to help make your vision a reality.
Define and develop measurements for success. Visions typically include ambitious ideas so organizing your thoughts will help to manage the tasks at hand. Break your vision into bite sized goals and celebrate each triumph leading you towards achievement of the bigger vision.
Find someone you trust to serve as an accountability partner. A partner will be honest and unbiased when questioning the systems developed to measure success. Together, you and your accountability partner will identify potential roadblocks and develop a plan to guide you when challenges arise. Finally, your partner will remind you to celebrate the victories while keeping you mindful of the bigger vision.
What do bite-sized pieces of your vision look like? In what order does each step need to be complete? Outline an action plan with small steps that must be accomplished in order for the bigger vision to be realized.
A reward system can keep you on track and give your accountability partner another tool to guide you on your journey. For instance, if health is a core value and your goal is to lose 100 pounds, perhaps you establish a mini reward of a manicure for each 10 pounds you lose. When you reach your entire weight loss goal, then you might reward yourself with a vacation or a spa weekend.
If you would like to learn more about how make your vision a reality and get a clearer understanding of what you want, then you shouldn’t miss the free eBook “Setting Your Vision And Defining Your Goals” written by Shenandoah Chefalo.