As a veteran project manager, I know that the vision is all about creating a picture of where you want to be in the future. My personal favourite was provided by John Kennedy in a speech to congress in 1961 when he said, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
How succinct is that for a vision? It is so simple and furthermore, it meets the usual Goal acronym – SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound), although it was more of a vision than a goal. This translated into a series of missions that encapsulated the fundamental elements that eventually led to the successful realisation of his vision.
I am not saying that you should become NASA, but I am encouraging you to learn a great technique from our recent history. There is a reason why Honeywell, Chevron, Shell, Toyota, Walmart and Starbucks are all successful at what they do, it is because they have great mission statements that their people can relate to and focus on.
A vision takes account of where you are now, but it should also set out your dream of where you want to be and give you something to aspire to, something to reach for and something to focus your mission on when times get tough. Don’t get confused, a vision and a mission are different! Some companies have combined mission/vision statements and that’s okay, but I want to talk about you and you guys are not Fortune 500 companies (at least not yet), so let’s keep it simple for the moment.
We can create your vision for your future. This is a powerful tool so you need to make an effort and write it down, it’s no good just going through the motions in your head, you need to commit it to paper and then stick it on your desk, on your shaving/make-up mirror, on the fridge and on your PC and tablet. You should place it so you see it at least five times a day!
Okay, so you got some paper? Let’s begin.
First up, conduct a personal SWOT analysis. Then you should ask yourself the following questions:
- “Where do I want to be in ten years time?” Be honest with yourself and be true to yourself as you won’t have time later to repair it, so make the effort to get it right NOW!
- “What do I want to leave as my legacy to my family and to the world?”
- “What qualities/values do I most want to demonstrate in my life?”
Next, I want you to close your eyes and visualise where you want to be in five to ten years time. You are promoted to your sought after position, you have a successful dream team who are all empowered to be better than they already are, you have a wonderful family and a marvellous social network with all the accompanying attributes of wealth and status or you are living comfortably and manipulating large funds in a meaningful and philanthropic way, fully realising your true altruistic self. Dare to dream a little, if you have always wanted to go to Australia or Antarctica, then write it down. Think about what you really want to do and achieve.
A word of caution, it is important that you are realistic about this, “Is it achievable and is it realistic?” Most kids dream of being an astronaut, but if they have any sight or hearing problems, these create additional challenges and will make it harder to get there. I am not saying you can’t do it, I am simply saying that the journey will be more difficult and you would probably benefit from tenacity as a strength and a good supportive network so you can successfully meet the challenge.
I would also recommend that you don’t make an earnings type statement – “I want to be worth a million or own a Jaguar.” If you aspire to be better than the others, playing to your strengths and taking advantage of your opportunities and developing those weaknesses you feel it is important to develop, then the financial side will take care of itself because you will be in demand and sought after like any good product. People buy Apple because of its quality and functionality, not its price. Build your product with quality as its primary feature.
Once you have all this, boil it down to a single or couple of sentences!
Wow! How am I going to capture all of that? It’s easy, trust yourself and just write it down. Then start to refine it, take as many drafts as you need, share it with your friends and family and hone it down to YOUR Vision. Keep in mind when you are doing the refining that you want a vision that is both inspiring and challenging to you, especially when you read it out aloud.
So what’s your vision statement I hear you ask… My vision is:
“I want to be recognised as an individual of integrity, with a passion for empowering others to find their true potential and to develop genuine talent that will change the world. I wish to leave a legacy of an egalitarian community who are more inclined to resolution by contributing collaboratively with their minds than with recourse to violence and bloodshed.”