Creating a Personal Vision Statement has really been in the forefront of my mind lately. After reading the 12 Week Year, which I highly recommend, I began really pondering my personal business vision. For me, I tend to struggle with focus so I created this article to help you as you create your personal vision.
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. 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 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.
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 farmers 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 a determination to use it to guide your life. The remainder of this special series is going to be devoted to exploring the benefits of personal vision statements and teaching you how to construct yours.
Examples of 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.
“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.” -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
“To serve the poorest of the poor” ~Mother Teresa
“My vision is to have as much fun as I can in life and make as many people smile as possible.” -Stand-up Comedian (anonymous)
“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!
The Steps to Creating Your Personal Vision
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 astronaut? An artist? A stay-at-home parent? For me, it took a bit of time to really nail down what I want to do. As I worked through the process, I focused in on what were
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.
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?
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?
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.
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: “I am…” “I want…” “My purpose/mission/vision is…” “My life will show…” “To…” “I will…” “I won’t…” 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 as “I [verb]” as much as you can. 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’re 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.
Personally, my vision statement is shaping up to sound something close to this, “I want to inspire others to move and life a pain-free longer life.” It is still a work in process and I am not sure if I want to make it more personal.
- Grab paper and pencil and begin doing Steps 1, 2, 3.
- Take a break and just think about what you have written. Maybe even ask close friends what they think of when they think of you or your business.
- Start putting words together and see how you resonate.
- Share with others and get a “final” version and try it on for a few months.
- Go back to item 3 if what you have chosen doesn’t resonate.
About the Author
I am Kathy Denise Hicks, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Personal Trainer, and Author. I have spent a decade learning about the body, how it moves and how to teach others to heal their joints and muscles. Being out of pain and losing a few pounds is what many are looking for and I would love to connect with you to help you achieve your fitness and health goals. Correcting muscular imbalances can really help you feel better, look younger and be happier. If you are looking to get moving and feel younger with more energy, I have a program that can help. My 14 Day Workout Trial, will give you an idea of the classes I offer. Come and give it a try. Your next best move may be a click away.