As a speaker and educator, I’ve shown others how to create strong vision and mission statements for more than 30 years. I didn’t write my own vision and mission statements until I lost my job.
When the school district where I was employed downsized and my position as an instructional coach was eliminated, I had no idea how to move forward. I had to learn how to take organizational mission and vision creation planning processes and make them personal.
Gordon D’Angelo, author of Vision: Your Pathway to Victory, describes a vision statement as “the definable intention from which preparation is formed. Jennell Evans, CEO of Strategic Interactions, defines a vision as an “optimal desired future state – the mental picture – of what an organization [or individual] wants to achieve over time.”
A vision statement focuses attention on your dream and desired results. Your vision creates a mental picture of your goals and becomes a source of inspiration and commitment for the future. It provides meaning to every task you want to accomplish and becomes the driving force behind your goals.
A vision statement articulates the big idea of who you are and what you are working towards as a goal. It expresses how you want to be perceived and the legacy you want to share with others. It is an expression of your core values. Your vision reflects your dream; it is a picture of the future you would like to create. It should be concise and easy to remember.
“A vision is a mental picture about what tomorrow will look like,” explain James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge . “It sets us apart and makes us feel special.”
Consider these questions as you compose a meaningful vision statement:
A mission statement is an action statement that reflects your vision. It clarifies (1) what you do, (2) who you do it for, and (3) how you do what you do. David Ladner added that personal vision and mission statements are reflections of an individual’s beliefs and core values; becoming “the standard by which you measure everything else in your life.”
As you consider a personal mission statement, Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggested, “Begin with the end in mind.” It is composed in present tense and summarizes how you plan to execute your vision.
As you think about your mission statement, consider these questions:
The struggle to define my own personal vision and mission statements that would guide my own life resulted in my goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide. I share tools that helped me clarify my own goals and purpose with others. I show others how to reconnect with their dream, define their purpose, and create attainable goals. The journey led to a new career as a speaker and author.
My personal vision statement is this: I transform the world from the inside-out by empowering others with tools to build collaborative and sustainable communities. My personal mission statement: I prepare youth to be leaders and adults to be mentors and role models. As a collaborative leader, it is important that my words, actions, decisions, and behavior align with my personal vision and mission. My vision and mission statements are the compass from which I make decisions.
As I plan each day, I ask myself, “Are the tasks within my daily schedule connected to my vision, mission, and goals?” If they are, I build time within my schedule and do what I commit to do.
When important tasks pop up during the day that need my attention, I rearrange my schedule and make adjustments. However, I am mindful of my vision, mission, and goals as I make adjustments because schedule changes affect multiple responsibilities. In this way, I find I have more time to do the things I love to do (like walk my dog, go to art exhibits, read for enjoyment, etc.) because I’ve built time in my busy day to have fun, too.
Richard G. Scott, author of 21 Principles – Divine Truths To Help You Live By The Spirit, said, “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” Commitment to a process is crucial to the development of a personal program of success. How does one find a dream-seeking process?
Pick up a pen, jump into the vision and mission stream, and paddle. Get clear about what you want to do, who you do it for, and why you want to do it. You’ll discover you really do know how to swim.
Do you have personal vision and mission statements?
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