Crafting your vision statement will help you get really clear so that you can be intentional and focused on where you want your business to go. It expresses what your world would be like if there were no limitations or boundaries and it should be inspiring to you (and your team, if you have one).
Keep in mind that as your business grows, your vision will change. You can hit your vision many times.
Proverbs 29:18 tells us that “Without a vision, the people perish.”
This piece of wisdom is ABSOLUTELY valuable.
If you’re looking to pursue your powerful purpose in life and work, you need to get in touch with what you truly desire in the long term. You need a VISION for your life. Trying to set and meet goals without a long-term vision is like picking up a map to follow directions when you have no idea where you’re trying to go. You’re going to end up like the Israelites, wandering around in the desert! That’s not what I want for you, and it’s certainly not why God put you on this earth!
But I know it may seem difficult to clarify your vision or write a vision statement if you’ve never had experience with that concept before.
My goal is to help you get crystal clear on your vision so that you can begin mapping out your path to reaching it. I wrote this article to get you started in creating your own powerful vision statement!
Are you ready to step into your purpose? Let’s get moving!
What Is A Personal Vision Statement?
Vision statements are tools used by businesses and other organizations to convey their mission, values, and goals succinctly to employees, shareholders, and other parties.
Your vision statement is a brief narrative that describes where you see your business in the future – 1 year, 5 years, or even 20 years down the road. It defines what success looks like to you and expresses what you are striving for.
The goal of a vision statement is to help the people involved in decision-making to make decisions that align with it and the overall purpose of the group. They have proven to be valuable tools that help a company reach its goals without forgetting its values or purpose.
A personal vision statement is nearly identical to the one used for a business but is directed towards a single individual and his or her life. It encompasses one’s values, goals, and purpose in life. Sometimes it also includes a statement of the lifetime impact you wish to have on the world.
Are Vision Statements Worth It?
The overwhelming majority of research on organizational business statements shows that they are effective in helping keep an organization on track and aligned with its values. Less research has been done on personal vision statements, but so far it looks like they have the same effect on individuals when created and used properly.
Personal vision statements can encompass both personal and professional goals. They also tend to include a list of some deeply held personal values. They tend to be short, only a few sentences long, and can be either kept private or made public.
Some of the most successful and famous people in the world have or had personal vision statements. Sir Richard Branson, Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amanda Steinberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Mahatma Gandhi are just a few examples. Each of these people used or use their personal vision statements to guide their lives.
You don’t have to be famous, a hero or a CEO to create and use your own personal vision statement. Many people do it. Millions of people around the world in every walk of life from students to freelancers to artists have a vision statement they use in their daily lives.
It takes some work to create your own personal vision statement, but it’s not hard to do and you don’t need any special help or expertise. All you need is commitment and a willingness to do the work to craft it. After it’s finished, all you need is determination to use it to guide your life.
The remainder of this article is going to be devoted to exploring the benefits of personal vision statements and teaching you how to construct yours.
Benefits of a Personal Vision Statement
You might be wondering why you should go to the effort of creating a personal vision statement, especially if you’re already driven and goal-oriented. What’s in it for you? Will the benefits outweigh the time and effort?
Personal vision statements bring a lot of benefits to the people who have them. There’s not enough space to cover all the benefits you’ll get from creating your own vision statement, so here are the top three.
It Gives You A Sense Of Direction
A personal vision statement will provide you with a feeling of direction, of knowing where you are right now and where you are trying to go. This motivates you and makes your work feel meaningful. This is something most humans crave, especially in a world as chaotic as the modern one.
If you start to feel lost or rudderless, all you have to do is look at your vision statement to help you realize the truth. This is an important psychological benefit -don’t underestimate it!
It Helps Motivate You
Motivation isn’t something you feel all the time. It comes and it goes. Sometimes you’ll be more motivated than others. Sometimes you won’t want to work on your goals at all, either because you’re too busy or you’re frustrated at a lack of progress.
Lack of motivation is where discipline becomes important but getting your motivation back is also a prime goal.
Personal vision statements have been shown to provide additional motivation when it’s lagging. It can provide you with that extra “oomph” you need to keep pushing and get yourself over the finish line when times are tough.
It Provides A Framework For Decision Making
Making decisions is part of being an adult and sometimes it becomes hard to make decisions that keep us moving forward towards where we want to be in life and that are aligned with our values.
A personal vision statement helps with decision-making by providing a framework you can use to evaluate options, especially for complex decisions. Which options move you towards accomplishing your next goal? Which will move you further away from it? And which ones would let you uphold your values? Would any require you to break your values?
You can use this yes/no framework to decide which options to evaluate further and which to eliminate. This takes the stress out of decision-making and lets you make decisions that will help you succeed.
8 Awesome Personal Vision Statements
Personal vision statements are just that -personal. No two are the same and many might not even be recognizable as examples of the same thing. Some will focus more on personal issues and others more on career or spiritual issues.
The one thing they all have in common is a deep focus on creating a life of purpose for the people who hold them. Most people don’t share their personal vision statements with anyone, or only with a few trusted people such as a spouse or advisor. Others make them public.
With that said, here are some examples of personal vision statements that people have been willing to share, both those of famous people and those of ordinary people.
Examples of Personal Vision Statements
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” – Oprah Winfrey
“To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes.” – Sir Richard Branson
“My purpose in life is to dedicate myself solely to God and the performance of good works in His image. I want to heal the broken, feed the hungry, and bring justice out of injustice. May my every decision reflect these goals.” – Catholic Priest (anonymous)
“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.” – Denise Morrison
“My vision is to create a company that will balance my three core principles of people, planet, and profit and leave behind a lasting legacy.” – Startup Founder (anonymous)
“I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Purpose by Design…Advancing God’s Kingdom.” – Ricardo Newbold (Entrepreneur)
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
Keep these examples close at hand as you go through the next several steps of creating your own vision statement. Refer to them when you need inspiration. Your personal vision statement might be shorter or longer than these and more or less detailed. It’s up to you. It’s your personal vision statement, after all!
Step 1: What Are Your Goals?
The first step in creating your personal vision step is going to be writing down your goals for your life. What do you want? Do you want to start a multi-million-dollar company? Do you want to become an entrepreneur? An artist? A stay-at-home parent?
You need to create this list before you go any further. Start by brainstorming. Get a sheet of paper and a pen (not a computer) and write down every single thing you’d like to do in your life. Don’t hold back and don’t censor yourself. Write down everything that comes to mind.
If you have a hard time doing this at once, that’s okay. Take some time with it. Carry the list around with you for a few days and add to it whenever something crosses your mind. Keep going until you feel like it is completed.
Again, don’t worry about what anyone else’s list would look like. Everyone is different and unique. Every person has different goals. Your list of lifetime goals will be different from every person you know, even if you have an identical twin. That’s normal and to be expected.
Next, go down this list and think through every item you wrote down. Is this something that you want in your heart of hearts? Or is it something you think you want? Or that you think you should want? Mark these latter items off at once.
Determine Your Top Three Goals
What’s left is a list of things you do want to achieve in your life. Which ones do you most want to accomplish? Some of them are going to exert a stronger pull on you than others. Put a star beside these.
After you’ve done that, go back through the list and consider the compatibility of all of your goals. You’re probably going to find that some of them are contradictory or at least can’t be accomplished together. You’re not going to become a famous actor and an astronaut simultaneously, for example.
This is the hard part. It’s time to choose. You’re going to have to make some painful choices here -which goals do you want most? Which are you willing to sacrifice in order to get to the others? Mark off the ones that don’t make the cut. It will hurt, but you have to do it.
When you’re done, copy the surviving goals down onto a clean sheet of paper. This is the beginning of your vision statement.
Step 2: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
The second step in creating your personal vision statement is to make a list of your strengths and skills and decide how they relate to what you want to do with your life. It’s time to get out the handy pen and paper again.
What are your strengths as a person? Write down everything you can think of. This is another brainstorming session. Don’t judge yourself and don’t hold back because of uncertainty or insecurity.
Are you strong (physically or psychologically)? Stubborn? Independent? Are you a freethinker? Are you good at helping people get along? Lastly, are you highly intelligent? Empathic? Incredibly organized? You have a list of strengths just like everyone else. Don’t stop with this list until you feel like you’ve covered them all.
Identify Your Primary Skills
Next, you’re going to do the same thing for your skills. List every skill you can think of that you have, in particular those that are related to the goals you identified in step one. What skills do you currently have that will help you get to those goals? How many of those are good to go and which need work?
Now, look at the list of goals once again. What are the strengths a person who reaches each of those goals must possess? Go down the list and evaluate them one by one. Take your time with this; don’t rush this process. When you’re done, do it again and write down the list of skills needed to accomplish these goals.
You may have already guessed what the next step is going to be. You’re going to compare the two lists you’ve created – the one of strengths and skills you already have versus those that you need to accomplish all of these goals you want to achieve.
The differences between the two are your weaknesses. These are things you need to work on if you’re going to make all of your goals a reality. Circle all of these weaknesses.
If you like, you can add working on or developing some or all of these weaknesses to your personal vision statement. You don’t have to do so, but if you don’t, you still need to keep the list handy because you will have to work on these things to reach your goals.
When you’ve finished with this step, set the lists you made aside – but keep them handy for later – and go on to the next step.
Step 3: Discover Your Values
You’re almost ready to write your personal vision statement. You’ve written down your goals and come up with a list of strengths and skills you need to work on. The next part of the process is to decide what your most important values are.
As with steps 1 and 2, this step is going to yield different answers for everyone. There are no wrong answers so don’t get anxious or worked up. All you’re going to do is decide what’s most important to YOU, not what is important to anyone else or that you think should be important.
Personal Values Assessment
Once more, you’ll need your pen and paper. Write “My Values” across the top. What’s the most important thing in the world to you? Your top priority, the thing you work so hard for, the one rule you always follow, the one guideline you use to define everything else in your life.
It’s a hard task, isn’t it? It may require some thought. Or maybe you know right away what it is. If so, you’re one of the lucky ones. The rest of us have to think about it for a while!
The answer, when you come up with it, might be simple or it might be complex. It might be the Golden Rule. It could be taking care of your family. Making money is a top value for some people while making a difference is most important to others. Some write a single word, such as “love” or “caring.”
Again, there are no wrong answers. This is about you and no one else. Your answers are private and should reflect your innermost self, or your vision statement won’t be genuine. Being honest with yourself is the most important part of this process.
Once you have an answer, you’re going to write down your second and third most important values. These might take you a while as well. You might even discover you have two or three on the same level. That’s okay too.
Now write down any other values you hold in high importance. Don’t write down too many; you don’t want to dilute the issue. You’re going to want to include your top value in your vision statement. Depending on your personality, you might want to do your second and third most important and maybe a few others as well.
When you finish with this exercise, you’ll be ready to write down your vision statement.
Step 4: Put it All Together
You’re almost finished. You’ve reached the final and most difficult step -combining everything into a coherent statement. If you’ve done the first three steps thoughtfully and honestly, you should be able to come up with a moving and motivational personal vision statement for yourself.
Get out a new sheet of paper. Write down all the things you’ve already come up with that need to be included in your vision statement. That is, write down your most important goals, any strengths or skills you want to include, and your personal values. These together form the nexus of your vision statement.
You’ll create drafts of your vision statement by playing around with words. Start a sentence with any of the following phrases and write until you have incorporated everything you want to include. Your vision statement may be anywhere from one sentence to a short paragraph long.
Vision Statement Opening Words
“My purpose/mission/vision is…”
“My life will show…”
Don’t just try one set of these opening words. Try several. Play around with them. Come up with four or five draft vision statements. Use active, first-person verbs in all of them. That means you should write “I [verb]” as much as possible.
Take some time with this, at least as much as you spent combined on the first three steps. Make multiple drafts of vision statements that all start with the same opening words. Add things in and take out other things. Use synonyms and antonyms.
Try different lengths, sentence structures, pacing, and tones. Make drafts that sound as different as possible while still expressing the same core set of beliefs.
How will you know when you’ve finished? If you’re extraordinarily lucky or a talented wordsmith, you might be able to come up with the perfect vision statement just from these drafts. If not, keep working on drafts until you get tired of it or frustrated.
Set the task aside for a day or two, then come back and read your drafts again. Circle things that you really like. Mark out things you don’t. The bits and pieces that you like are going to form the core of your final draft.
Start making another set of drafts and this time use only the phrases you’ve circled from your first drafts. Then repeat the process until you’ve formed a personal vision statement that suits you. You’ll know when you’re finished.
What’s Your Personal Vision Statement?
I’ve found that distilling my vision into just 3 words – Purpose by Design – has helped me to focus on the BEST opportunities to move my business and life forward and support my family and clients to my highest abilities.
Your vision, mission, and values are the foundation on which your business is built. You probably have an idea in your head of where you want to go and why you do what you do, but if you don’t have it codified, then it is easy to go off-track. You get an idea, start to work on it, get another idea, change directions, get another idea. . .rinse and repeat.
By codifying your vision, mission, and values, you have a touchstone on which to make your business decisions. Thinking of creating a new course? Considering branching out into a related area? Intrigued by a hot new social platform? Test it against your vision and mission statements first, and you’ll know if it’s something you should pursue. By considering opportunities in light of your vision and mission, you’ll be able to make better choices.
Today’s workbook will help you craft powerful vision and mission statements to guide your business. Download the workbook here.