Upfront, your “Vision” – whether for your organization or yourself – is not an hallucination.
The whole notion of establishing a “Vision” (or, as some have termed, “that visioning thing”) has periodically been (as too many positive, effective techniques are) undermined by jaded, stunted, sarcastic, cynical people who neither like change nor the way things are.
The reality is, such folks are going no where and they want company on their trip. Avoid the naysayers … they’ve got nothing but, “nay.”
I have learned that when we forgo our own life-choices in an effort to please people who would undermine our success with their own fears, who scoff at our dreams as, “just pie in the sky thinking,” whose life choices confine them to the dismal and mundane, who fear taking any risks … we become their prisoners forever.
As Barbara Johnson noted, “Being codependent means that when you die, someone else’s life passes before your eyes.”1
No one can restrict us with their own fears and limitations without our permission.
Refuse to give it.
So, what about, “Your Personal Vision Statement”?
I ask that you engage in a bit of “out-of-body” strategic imagination here.
- Make sure you’re in a quiet place conducive to thoughtfulness.
- Close your eyes and imagine … just imagine …
- Go down the path of life to the day after you die. (That is not as moribund as it might sound … hang in there with me on this one … )
- Put yourself in that time and space.
- Look around you.
- What do you want the sum of your life to look like on that day? (“The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.” – Dennis Gabor2)
- What do you want the person who delivers your eulogy to remember to an assembled mass of mourners?
- What do you want your legacy to be among family, friends, co-workers?
- Jot down – in real time and in present tense – what you see around you using at least the categories I’ve listed below. (Please avoid extrapolating the future from your past – in other words, avoid jotting down what you think is “most likely to happen.” Jot down the ideal you!)
How will you know you are a success in the areas of:
- personal health
- relationships with family
- relationships with friends
- knowledge of the World – geographically, languages, religions, food, etc.
- home life – living conditions
- play / recreation
- other life dimensions: ?
Do you envision yourself preferring to:
- be alone or with others?
- be surrounded by a dynamic environment or quiet solitude?
- going out a lot or staying in?
- consistently learn or maybe you’ve learned all you need to know?
- speaking to groups or sitting in the audience?
- write stories and books or read stories and books?
The architects have taught us “form ever follows function.”3
Now that you have created at least a first draft of your personal vision – that is, your ideal destination, Step 2 is to determine how to get there. This is where input from your personal Team will be helpful.
- What experiences do you already have that line up with your Vision?
- What new experiences do you need in order to get closer to your Vision?
- What training or education do you have that can be leveraged to achieve your Vision?
- What new training or education do you need to help achieve your Vision?
- What contacts do you already have who can help you achieve your Vision?
- What new contacts do you need who might help you achieve your Vision?
- What courageous communication do you need to have with family or friends in order to achieve your vision?
Write it down your ideas and expectations in an action plan.
Do not worry about sentence structure, proper syntax, spelling … simply jot down your rough Vision Statement. The idea is to get it out of your heart first; we can concern ourselves with grammar and punctuation later!
Align your habits and routines to fit your vision. (Remember my four stages of changing habits.)
Memorialize your Vision by:
- Making a poster and tacking it to the wall in your work area or on your refrigerator
- Turning it into a screen saver on your computer
- Initiating a cup of coffee or other beverage with your self and periodically review your progress toward your Vision Statement. Make adjustments in your habits as needed.
- Helping someone else develop their Vision and be their coach as they go through the process!
If I can be of assistance in reviewing your Vision Statement I would be honored to do so. Simply let me know in the comments section, below!
What are your thoughts on developing and implementing a Personal Vision Statement?
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