When I returned to the dream-shaping drawing board after a huge job shift from school district instructional coach to independent consultant, I had no clear idea how to describe my new career. I revisited my vision and mission statements and reexamined my personal goals.
Although it was difficult to visualize a specific plan, my hands knew where to start. I snipped pictures and phrases from magazines and Pinterest and adhered them to a vision board. My vision board was a piece of foam board used for science fair exhibits. The act of snipping (doing something) led to a discovery of more pictures and phrases that served as “arrows” and pointed me in the direction I wanted to go.
Gordon D’Angelo, author of Vision: Your Pathway to Victory, describes a vision statement as “the definable intention from which preparation is formed” (D’Angelo’s book is a wonderful visioning resource at Amazon.com). Jennell Evans, CEO of Strategic Interactions, Inc., defined a vision as an “optimal desired future state – the mental picture – of what an [individual or] organization wants to achieve over time.”
In contrast, she said a mission statement “defines a present state or purpose” of an individual or organization. Evans explained that mission statements addressed (1) what an individual or organization does, (2) who it does it for, and (3) how it does what it does. David Ladner added that personal vision and mission statements were reflections of an individual’s beliefs and core values; becoming “the standard by which you measure everything else in your life.”
My personal vision statement is this: As a speaker, champion motivator, and author, I inspire people to dream big and live with purposeful intention. My personal mission statement: I show others how to pursue their passions by transforming their ideas into a powerful action plan and tangible goals aligned with their core values. 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 things pop up 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 arranged for time in my busy day to have fun, too.
So what happens if the daily schedule is so packed with stuff that you don’t have enough time to complete all of the task commitments? Amy Lynn Andrews, author of Tell Your Time, insists we must make choices. You can:
* Add or subtract time needed from less important tasks to complete important tasks.
* Find someone else to complete certain tasks.
* Remove less important tasks from your schedule.
When I first began the work of guiding others in the creation of personal vision and mission statements, I shared a creative plethora of effective strategies. But prioritizing my goals by adding them to my daily regimen and allocating enough time for each task’s completion proved to be challenging. Although I was terrific at constructing awesome and specific goals, I learned I had a thing or two to learn about time management. However, once I admitted where I was experiencing difficulty, I made decisions about what was important, what wasn’t, and developed a manageable schedule that worked.
My vision board stares at me every day from across the room as I write. It reminds me every day that my dreams are coming true … as long as I remain committed to the process. My process allows lots of room for change and growth, but my personal vision and mission are intact. In fact, I am grateful for the job change crisis because the process sharpened my goals with precise, laser-focused clarity.
Change isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t always easy. Richard G. Scott 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? I suggest this: Jump into the proverbial dream-stream and paddle … and you’ll learn you really do know how to swim.
What is your personal mission statement?