According to BusinessDictionary.com, a vision statement is
An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
Why do we need a personal vision statement?
Meaning and Inspiration
Carousel rides are fun. You enjoy the sounds, the music, and the sensation of going up and down, around and around.
But after a while, it’s time to get off the ride and get on to the next destination.
Without a vision statement, life can be like one long carousel ride. And without a powerful, compelling future, there’s no motivation to get off the ride!
Picture Rip Van Winkle waking up… on a carousel!
He slept through his life! To be sure, he may have been comfortable while sleeping, but life passed him by.
And your life will pass you by as well if you are not intentional about writing your personal vision statement.
Going Beyond Ourselves And Thinking Big
Life is not just about us. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that life is about God and living life by His rules and for His purposes. And that means that I am here to use my talents, time, and resources to bless others.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everyone has the power for greatness-not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”
Here’s an example of a vision statement that galvanized the United States in 1951:
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.
President John F. Kennedy
Or how about Roger Bannister? According to Wikipedia
After his failure at the 1952 Olympics, Bannister spent two months deciding whether to give up running. He set himself on a new goal: to be the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.
Or how about Martin Luther King, Jr’s I Have A Dream Speech?
His vision changed the tide of U.S. racism. This is just a small portion of his speech:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
How To Write Your Personal Vision Statement
Best Possible Outcome
I borrow this idea from Gavin Mountford’s tremendous article on a powerful vision.
Take A Look At Your Personal Mission Statement
Some good friends of mine say, “I’m going to marinate on that idea”, when they come across something profound.
In other words, they want to take time to let the full meaning and significance of the statement sink in to their minds and hearts.
In the same way, take some time to let your personal mission statement ‘marinate’ in your brain and soul.
Print it out and read it. Record it on your Smart Phone. Read it daily. Listen to it in the morning.
Now Think About What Your Personal Mission Statement Will Look Like 5, 10, 15, or 25 years from now
This extends your current ideal way of being into the future. By thinking about the future in ideal terms, you can get in touch with what your vision will look like.
Or Use the Be, Have, Do Method
- Write down everything you want to Be, Have, and Do in the next 25 years. I suggest using three different sheets of paper, one for Be, one for Have, and one for Do.
- After you have written it all down, go through and select the statements that line up with your values and your personal mission statement.
A Big Picture of the Future
Your personal mission statement will often focus on the present. Your personal vision statement is painted in bigger and broader terms.
Engages Your Heart and Your Spirit
Your vision for your life should capture your imagination, your heart, your senses. What do you want to see in your future? What would you like to hear about your life?
Write It In the Present Tense
Write your personal vision in the present tense. This is a powerful way to bring the Future into the Present. And as you write your personal vision this way, your subconscious mind will go to work for you.
Picture Your Roles or Life Buckets And Describe How You Have Fulfilled Them at the End of Your Life
Use This Personal Vision Statement Builder to create your own personal vision statement. [You will have to provide your name and e-mail address]
Stretch Your Expectations and Aspirations
Cliff Ravenscraft from the Podcast Answer Man told me recently (via his podcast 🙂 that The Magic of Thinking Big has influenced a lot of his mentors to stretch their expectations and aspirations. I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my wishlist!
Or more often if you need to. I personally like quarterly, because time goes by so quickly for me. Others review their vision and mission statements monthly. Keep your vision in front of you always so that you can stay on course with your desired life outcome.
I have to confess…..I don’t have my vision statement in place yet.
It’s because I’ve spent most of my time writing this article 🙂 However, I’m going on vacation to Florida next week, so I’ll have plenty of time to reflect and get it written down.
And when I do, I’ll post it at the end of this article!What’s your vision?!