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The Power of a Personal Vision Statement

If you’ve ever gone through an attempt to write a company’s vision statement, you know how tough it can be. If the end result is 50 words or less, it is likely there were 500 drafts before the final statement came out. Yet it’s easier to think about a company’s vision statement than think about your own, personal vision statement.

Finding Vision
Finding Vision

Stephen R. Covey is famous for teaching us to “begin with the end in mind” (this is part of his “7 Habits” book). What does that mean?

Beginning with the end in mind is so easy in many parts of our life, but very hard in the most important aspect. It’s easy to decide on a restaurant for dinner or choose a movie to go see or even pick a destination for an awesome vacation trip out of the country.

Yet when our future is on the line, few of us really have a vision for what the next 3 to 5 years should look like. Instead, we wake up in the morning and let destiny happen. How’s that been working out for you?

Vision

Much is written about relying on leaders to give us vision. Whether the leader wrote the vision statement or was given the vision by stakeholders or the Board, the vision becomes the rally point for the team/organization to drive toward.

Without vision, the people perish. ~Prov 29:18

In addition to executing on the corporate vision strategies, successful leaders invest the time and energy to periodically review their own personal vision statement. Your view of who and what you are will directly impact your ability to perform and win in this world.

Our lives are perfectly designed to give us the outcomes we are currently experiencing. If you don’t like the experiences and/or outcomes you are having, in your life, then you should give serious consideration to new possibilities, be open to new paradigms, and redesign your life in a manner that will give you the outcomes that you desire and deserve. ~John Younker, Ph.D.

The absence of a personal vision plan creates drift. By drifting from day to day, week by week and month by month, you find yourself on a course that has no particular purpose.

Just as you drifted through an entire day without a plan and accomplished nothing, some people drift through their entire lives. They do it one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time. The months run into years and span a life. It happens so gradually that they are unaware of how their lives are slipping by them until it’s too late. ~Mary Kay Ash

Personal Vision or Charter Statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal charter statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for the future.

vision

The Process

Definition: A Personal Vision Statement defines and describes, in sufficient detail, an individual’s “ideal future state.” A well-conceived and written out Personal Vision Statement energizes and mobilizes the individual, in question, to realize and live out their ideal future state. It empowers you and creates enthusiasm, within us, by describing the unique and distinctive contributions that we intend and will make in our lives. It is a statement of both affirmation and purposefulness. (excerpted from John Younker’s “Vision-Based Personal Charter Statement Guide”).

To begin the process of preparing your personal vision statement, you will need to write out the information for the following five steps:

What are your core values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” charter statement for a reason. Core values encompass your whole being, not just work related endeavors. Think big here. Include family plus really personal, and community life too.

For starters, I usually ask clients to get five close friends to provide three keywords they would use to describe them. It is always amazing to see the patterns this feedback reveals. Use that trick as a starting point for yourself.

What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year and over the next five-to-ten years, of your life? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.

One of the best programs for goal setting I have ever known is Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever. He’d argue it’s much more than just setting goals. I have to agree. He only offers this material in Q4 each year, so if this interests you, be on the watch for his offerings.

What image (vision/outlook on life) do you hope to project for yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your future image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals. State this in terms of the future state.

Look at it this way. If I ran into you at an airport five years from now and said “Wow, you look great! What in the world is going on with you?” What might your answer be?

What are the action statements that come from each core value? These action statements describe how you will use those core values to achieve your three goals. Start the statement with “I will…”

The journey toward realizing your true future-self begins with action statements to get you moving toward your new future.

Rewrite your personal charter statement that includes your action statements. Put it all together. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office. Refer to it often. Some actually commit this to memory, reciting the creed to reinforce the behavior.

You deserve the future

That’s a loaded statement. Do you want consequence or accomplishment? It’s all up to you.

I offer a special acknowledgment to my friend and colleague John Younker, Ph.D., Vistage Master Chair, Silver Fox Advisor, PEP Executive Volunteer, Trusted Advisor – A Career-Life Coach. John introduced me to this way of thinking and has been my mentor to revisit this critical planning step, one which I now review and refresh year over year.