When it comes to our lives, most of us have no idea where we’re going next. Because we tell ourselves that we’re too busy to figure out the road ahead. That we don’t have time to stop and figure out what happens next. Which is weird, because if you’re going to drive somewhere new, what’s the first thing you do?
You look up the directions. Probably plug it in to your phone so you know how to get there. Which cuts way down on arguments about where you’re going when you’re driving.
So why don’t we do the same thing with our lives?
Why don’t we do a better job of mapping out the road ahead?
Because we’re so busy doing, we don’t think about what we want to get done.
And since we don’t think about it, we never know where we’re really headed. Except toward some vague future where we’ve saved enough to retire. Maybe travel a little bit. And then die, preferably during a nap.
Which seems a little grim, doesn’t it? Can we do something different? Can we be in a better place at the end?
I think we can, so this week on the blog, we’re talking about vision, mission, values, and purpose.
Not sure what Busy 2 Done does? Check out our vision, mission, values, and purpose.
Getting to somewhere better than a vague future starts with a vision statement.
A clear statement of what it is you want to do with your day. Your week. Your month. Your year.
A clear statement about the vision you have for your life.
You need a personal vision statement because if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.
If you don’t know where you’re going, everything else decides that for you.
If you have a vision of who and where you want to be, that helps you:
- define who you are
- build your mission
- find your purpose
And then you can decide how your values shape your vision, your mission, and your purpose.
What’s a vision statement?
Here’s what Psychology Today has to say about vision statements:
- Defines the optimal desired future state, the mental picture, of what an organization wants to achieve over time
- Provides guidance and inspiration as to what an organization is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years
- Functions as the “north star”—it is what all employees understand their work every day ultimately contributes towards accomplishing over the long term
- Is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for all employees to repeat it at any given time.
And now you’re wondering how this applies to you, since this uses “employees” a lot. And sounds like the kind of thing you only need if you’re running a business.
Brace yourself, then, because you already are.
You’re running the business of you.
You’re the CEO of You, Incorporated.
You do the same things every day that a business does:
- Decide what you’re going to do
- Assign someone to do this things
- Figure out how those things went
- Make adjustments to what you’re doing
- Decide what you’re going to do next
Now that doesn’t mean that you follow those same steps every time. The one we mostly miss is the one about figuring out how things went. Because we don’t take the time to look back so we can move forward.
More on why we need to look back to move forward later.
Now that you’re the CEO of You, Incorporated, you need a vision statement.
What should that vision statement look like?
Taking a look at how Psychology Today defines a vision statement, your personal vision statement for You, Inc., should answer these questions:
What will You, Inc., look like in the future?
You like time travel but you’re short one DeLorean, one Doc Brown, and one plausible theory to make it possible?
Just because our body can’t travel in time doesn’t mean our minds can’t.
If you’re going to build a vision statement, start by figuring out Future You.
A day/week/month/year from now, what do you want to be different about you?
Are you in better shape?
Are you making more money?
Are you spending more time with your family?
Or is it some combination of things?
How will I get to be future me?
Pop quiz: name a famous funny person who inspired Oprah Winfrey.
Hint: He spent a lot of time looking for a dolphin once.
And he said this:
“I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”
That’s Jim Carrey, and this is him blowing Oprah’s mind in 1997.
Here’s the “work hard” part: what things do you need to do in order to get to be future you?
- If you’re going to be in better shape, that means more than a yearly trip to the gym
- If you’re going to make more money, that means making a change in your income stream
- If you’re going to spend more time with family, that means re-arranging your schedule to make that happen
And your vision statement needs to inspire, as well. Because part of vision is visualization, seeing you doing the things you need to do to be a better you.
Because that’s what we’re working toward here at Busy 2 Done: making us better versions of ourselves.
We’re not trying to be the next Jim Carrey or the next Oprah Winfrey.
We’re trying to be the best us.
What do I do every day to make my vision possible?
This one gets more into mission/purpose territory, which we’re also talking about this week.
Your vision for You, Incorporated means you make sure you’re working every day to make that happen.
That every day you’re taking steps toward being that better you.
- Trying to get in better shape? That means a workout.
- Trying to earn more money? That means working that side hustle.
- Trying to spend more time with family? That means putting time down to do that today.
A small step today adds up to something big tomorrow.
Is it easy to understand?
The vision statement for You, Inc., should be something you can repeat often.
So we’re not looking for the Gettysburg Address.
We’re looking for something you can remind yourself of every day.
Because keeping that vision in front of you means you always know where you’re headed.
The Vision Statement for You, Incorporated
So now we know why you need a vision statement, we know what a vision statement is, and we know how to make one.
Which brings us to today’s homework.
Well, the first homework for the week, since there will be more.
That homework? Writing your personal vision statement.
The vision you have for You, Inc.
Doing that means answering these questions:
What will Me, Inc., look like in the future? How will I get to be future me? What do I do every day to make my vision possible? Is my vision easy to understand?
The first question is your vision statement.
Questions 2 & 3 help answer that question.
Question 4 makes sure it’s simple enough to keep repeating it every day.
My Vision Statement
I’m still tweaking it, but here’s my vision for Dan, Inc.:
My vision for my life is to be someone who delivers joy to others by mentoring them in getting more of the important things done.
That covers a lot of ground for me. Right now that’s focusing those efforts on things like blog entries and other content that points people in the right direction. Over time it will build toward other things, if I do the work and add value to the conversation about using the time we have better.
I expect that’s going to change over time, because as I achieve goals over time, the vision grows.
For now that’s giving me a clear idea of where I’m headed.
It helps me understand what I need to be doing each day to get there.
And it informs my personal mission.
Which we’ll cover next, when we talk about how you can build your own mission statement.
What’s the vision you have for your life?