Step 12 Create a Vision Statement

Day 12 of 31 days to Creating Your Inspiring Personal Plan for 2012

Congratulations! You have reached the “hump” point in the 31 day/step process for building a compelling personal plan for 2012.  You are starting to build much needed “completion muscle” that will make the remainder of the process increasingly easy. (If you have reached this point without having done the previous 11 steps, please complete the previous steps before starting in on this step, the seminal step in the process. If you somehow have just come upon this page, you are fortunate because you can still develop a compelling plan for 2012 by starting here.)

It is time to build your Vision statement that provides the engine to the life purpose you defined in Step 8. Built correctly, your vision statement should have you living your life in a manner that assures your desired legacy (Step 7) will become a reality. Your Vision statement will also power the goals you will develop over the coming week and pursue in 2012.

A thoughtfully crafted personal Vision statement will empower you.

You will operate with a greater sense of knowing where you are going in life and how you will get there.

Today, you will draft your personal Vision statement and the step for tomorrow is to then polish that statement. For today, just get something written down on paper. Don’t just thing about it. Get something down on paper. Writing or typing is empowering. Set aside expectations of perfection as this step is just about creating a draft for your own eyes. If you are prone to delay drafting because of perfectionism, please read this excellent, quick-read guest blog post by the very talented Janet Vanderhoof: Perfectionism: What a Killer!

To prime your drafting, gather the following inputs needed for this task:

  • Your list of six attributes of your Desired Legacy (Step 7)
  • Your statement of Life Purpose (Step 8)
  • Your list of elements you want to weave into your Vision statement (Step 9)
  • Your list of role models for each of the elements you wish to weave into your Vision statement (Step 11)

(You will be using the results of Step 10 in the validation process of your Vision statement.)

When you have these materials arrayed in front of you, select one element that you want to be the cornerstone for your Vision statement. It should be the element that you feel strongly best connects to your life purpose. For some, this most important element might be a vocational passion. For some, it might be a passion around family. For some, it might be a passion with respect to the Divine. And, for some, it might be to master a skill or craft.

There is no single answer that is right for all of us. But, for each and every person, there is a right answer that is empowering.

WARNING: This is not a time that you want to fool yourself, or others, by selecting an element that you believe is what others will want to hear from you. Having a Vision statement that is at odds with what you want passionately is disabling.  Keep in mind that you will be weaving other important elements into your vision statement. So, select what is most important to you, YOURSELF, and use this as the centerpiece of your Vision statement.

Now, start the drafting process by creating a phrase that describes your greatest wish with respect to the most important element. Some examples, based on different elements as a centerpiece, would be:

…to be the pre-eminent (specify a vocational pursuit)

…to lead an empowering family life

…to be a disciple of the word of God

…to be widely recognized as a master (specify a skill or craft)

Note the use of qualifiers such as pre-eminent, empowering, widely recognized to add context to the passion you have chosen to be at the core of your Vision statement.

Sit with just this one phrase and see if it provides you with a sense of clarity. Stay centered on it…do not fast forward to thoughts like “but what about X, or Y?”  There is still an opportunity to weave in the other things that are important to you.

Consider whether living the next stage of your life with this as a core force would be consistent with your desired legacy. Also, is it consistent with your life purpose?

When you align your desired legacy and life purpose with the centerpeice of your Vision, you should feel a wonderful sense of peace.

When you feel at peace with this alignment (or at least a comfort level with the alignment), then it is time to weave in the other most important elements. I recommend doing that by adding to your core phrase a second phrase that gets tied in by using the word “while” So the previous examples become:

…to be the pre-eminent (specify a vocational pursuit), while…

…to lead an empowering family life, while…

…to be a disciple of the word of God, while…

…to be widely recognized as a master (specify a skill or craft), while…

After the word “while” describe in one phrase how you want to handle the other important elements.

At this point, please don’t debate with yourself whether you can have your core element while at the same time having your other elements. You are building an empowering Vision. Later in the process, you will validate its achievability. For now, just craft a phrase that ties in all your other important elements.

You are now more than two thirds of the way done. You have the core element, and you have a summary of the elements that will be achieved while the core element is being achieved.

The final step is to add in the power of your personal greatness. In Step 4 you got feedback from trusted friends, loved ones, colleagues, etc. as to your strengths. It is time that you started empowering your success by using your strengths more proactively to achieve that which is most important to you.  You accomplished all that you did in 2009 (Step 3) in large part due to your strengths. But, many of you did so without even appreciating your strengths or using these strengths to your maximum benefit on a proactive basis.

So are you ready to start leveraging your strengths? I hope that you are ready to do so. If you are, I suggest you add the following words to the front of your Vision statement: “To leverage my strengths so as…”.

Now let me show you all three elements pulled together for someone whose passion is their vocation (without suggesting that is an ideal core…remember; only you can decide what is truly right for your core.). Let’s assume the person is a lawyer, specializing in estate planning and indentifying four other important elements: his family, his relationship with God, service to his community and his physical well being. The lawyer lives in South Florida and his vocational interest is very locally based. For this lawyer (uniquely) his personal Vision statement – for the current stage of his life - might be something like this:

To leverage my strengths

so as to be one of the preeminent estate lawyers in South Florida,

while enjoying wonderful relationships with my family & God,

as I serve my community, and keep myself fit so as to enable me to achieve my Vision.

Do you get a clear sense of what is important to this lawyer? Can you see how all of his elements have been woven into an empowering Vision statement?

I know that you are now ready to draft an empowering Vision statement for yourself. Just follow the three steps, using the above statement as a guide. Draft a Vision statement that excites you and that will fuel your success. If you having any doubts as to whether you are worthy of such success, please read my quick read blog post on Do YOU Really Deserve Success?

Tomorrow, I will provide you with polishing tools and tips. For today, just get a draft statement written down on paper. When you have done so, I guarantee that you are over the hump in terms of difficulty of this process. All downhill from this point on.

When you have completed Step 12, you can access Step 13 here. If you want an anouncement every time a new step is posted, you can sign-up – to the right – to receive new steps by either RSS feed or email.

Please note: If you have arrived at this step first, it is not too late for you to join other high performers who are collaborating to follow the bite size steps that are unveiled here every day. Get started here.

This blog post was written by Dave Carpenter.  Dave is a prolific author, inspiring speaker, and well-known consultant  to professional service firms. Besides writing regularly for this blog,  Dave’s writing can be seen in leading business and personal development  publications. Dave is also the leader of the Accelerate Success mentoring program  where he mentors high performers in a unique program designed to do great things for the favorite charity of each participant.  If you are (1) a high performer who believes you still have untapped potential, and  (2) passionate about a favorite charity, you may want to learn more about this powerful program. You can also follow Dave on Twitter, on Facebook, and/or on Google+.