As we step into the New Year, the question that is constantly asked is ‘what is your resolution for this year?’ It’s common to find people making resolutions at this point in time every year. But, it is as common to find people breaking these resolutions. If everyone breaks their resolutions, why persist with it?
You read any self-help book or listen to any motivational speaker; all of them tend to advise that you write down your goals. Apparently, writing a goal down increases the chance of achieving it by 42%.
Haven’t we all heard of “your dreams are only your dreams until you write them down; then they are goals.”?
Forget about resolutions for now. Let’s talk about another concept that is picking up in the motivational world – Personal Vision and Mission Statements.
Stating a vision is common among companies. Let’s look at some notable examples:
“To become the world's leading consumer company for automotive products and services” – Ford Motors
“To become the largest telecom Service Provider in Asia” – BSNL
"PepsiCo's responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the world in which we operate - environment, social, economic - creating a better tomorrow than today." – Pepsi
“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” – Amazon
“To make people Happy” – Disney
A vision statement of a company is the dream that the company wants to achieve. It addresses the question ‘What is the long-term goal of the company?’
The same definition applies to the personal vision statement with a slight difference. In this case, it is at an individual level. In other words, it is that big long-term goal that the person wants to achieve. Also, it is a reflection of the values that the person holds dear.
Below are some examples of a personal vision statement:
“To be the CEO of a fortune 500 company by the time I turn 40”
“I want to be a very successful motivational speaker who impacts thousands of lives. It is my vision to inspire people to live to their fullest potential”
Words have power. When you don’t have that clear long-term goal written down, you become reactive to life and situations rather than being proactive. Most of us only think of immediate and short-term objectives when we are making a decision. But, we all know that a person who succeeds is the person who keeps in mind the far-off future.
It is easy for all of us to get lost in the mundane activities of our daily life. A vision statement provides that hope for a better future. It also gives meaning to certain activities we indulge in. These, at first, might seem pointless but if you have a vision statement you can see the value they add in the long term.
A vision statement makes you a determined person as you have the clear end goal in mind. It also contributes to balance in your life and helps avoid burnout. Through a good vision statement, you would find it easier to do justice to all aspects of your life: Relationships, Career, Money, Health etc.
Further, having a vision for your life helps you push your boundaries and not get into a comfort zone. It compels you to do things that you would not have done otherwise. In all, it helps you build a life by design and not by chance.
Want to succeed as a project manager? Then, you have to master the art of time management and prioritization. But, how do you know what is a priority and what tasks to spend the time on? This is where the personal vision statement becomes handy. It gives you a direction as to what is important and what is not.
A mission statement of a company is how the company plans to achieve its vision. And the same applies to the personal mission statement. It addresses the ‘means’ part of the ‘ends’ which is the vision.
It gives a sense of direction as you move towards your big goal. In contrast to the vision statement, the mission is about how you want to do things today to achieve your goal in the future. Vision statement deals with tomorrow and mission deals with today.
To get an idea, have a look at Mission statements of some of the CEOs across the world:
To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.” – Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company
“I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement: to love God and love others.” – Joel Manby, CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” - Oprah Winfrey, Founder of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network
“To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.” - Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
“To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world.” - Amanda Steinberg, Founder of Dailyworth.Com
“To live life with integrity and empathy, and be a positive force in the lives of others.” - Amy Ziari, “Pasta”
"To develop next generation diagnostics to provide a better life." - Sanjeev Saxena, POC Medical
“To constantly be striving to be the best version of myself—in my job, with my health and fitness, with my relationships with family and friends, and with my emotional well-being.” - Katie Arnold, Talk Less, Say More
"Transparency = Success" - Jonathan Kaplan, Build My Bod
“To love God and love others.” - Joel Manby, Herschend Family Entertainment
Most people do not actually differentiate a vision statement from a mission statement. The ideal way would be to merge both of them and create a single vision and mission statement.
Though it sounds overwhelming, making your personal vision and mission statement is not difficult. Below are steps you can follow to create one:
Spend some time on thinking about six or seven recent successes. It helps to actually write these down as it can help you identify themes that you find recurring. Were you more successful in group activities or when you had to contribute alone? Did you better in voluntary work or in a task that was assigned to you?
This activity need not necessarily be restricted to your professional life. Ensure that you cover all aspects of your life: Health, career, Relationship etc.
How does it help? It makes you aware of your strengths which in turn lead to you framing a goal which is in sync with your natural capabilities.
Your values basically reflect who you are as a person and what you stand for. For most of us, it is not important to just achieve a goal. It is equally important how we achieve that goal. Success achieved through means that are not in sync with our core values will lead to internal conflict and losing our peace of mind. So, as you set your goals, it is important to also think about those principles which you do not want to compromise on.
Your personal vision statement should contain only one or maximum two values. To find these top 2, you can start with listing 10 of your values. Try to relook at the list and see which 5 are more valuable than others. From these 5, select that one or two values that you consider as most important.
Note down how you can contribute to each of the following areas (Think of an ideal scenario):
What is BHAG?
BHAG is the abbreviation for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. It is a concept that was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their popular book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”.
"A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit”
— Collins and Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
BHAG indicates a clear end goal so that the employees clearly know what they should aim for. You can use the BHAG concept to set your personal vision. As it is for the companies, ensure that your vision is big, quantifiable and emotionally compelling.
You can write down your priorities and what you would like to achieve in the next 3-5 years as well as in the next 10-15 years. While doing this step, make sure you have a look at your past achievements.
Once you set your vision, write the ‘how’ for that goal. Look at the first 4 steps and think about what sustainable actions you can take to realise your vision.
The above steps should help you easily frame a vision statement and a mission statement for your life. Once you are done, you can share it with people close to you and take their feedback. If you find any suggestions constructive, you can modify your statement accordingly.
Vision and mission statements are not more than 50 words each. The statements should be concise, easy to grasp and reflect your core values and your core purpose. Further, you need to be bold with your vision yet be realistic. Your vision should balance both your personal and professional goals.
Overall, it needs to address 3 questions:
What are you passionate about?
What do you consider your core values?
What differentiates you from the rest of the world?
A good vision statement should inspire you to live your life to fullest and bring passion to anything you choose to do.
Though these statements are meant for the long term, they are not set in stone. You should allow yourself the flexibility to modify them based on the circumstances. There might be changes in your family, career, job, health etc. as years pass. Hence, it is advisable that you revise your statement annually and accommodate the modifications.
Do you know that most successful people have personal vision and mission statements? These reflect the big vision they have for their life and how they want to achieve them. In fact, it is this single-minded devotion which helps these people succeed. You will never hear a CEO or a successful entrepreneur say that they achieved what they did without envisioning it beforehand.
If you want to make 2018 a meaningful year and lay a foundation for lifelong success, it makes sense to prepare a vision and mission statement. No matter whether you are an intern in a company or you are a senior project manager, you would benefit immensely by investing your time in noting down that one long-term goal that you want to achieve.
On a lighter note, it can even help you answer that elusive, philosophical question ‘What is the purpose of my life?’
We wish you a great year ahead and good luck in building your personal vision and mission statement. Do share your vision with us in the comments section below.
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