Personal Vision Statements: Propel Yourself Towards Your Dreams

Personal Vision Statement

by Brenton Russell on

vision (noun):

  1. the ability to think or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
  2. a mental image of what the future will or could be like.

Oxford Dictionary

If the concept of ‘vision’ is new to you open up Google, search for ‘vision statement’ and pick from the 8,590,000 search results of generic information.

If you’re more interested in a quick revision of what vision statements are but more importantly some actionable information on creating your own motivating personal vision statement as part of your lifestyle design toolkit then read on.

A Quick Re(vision)!

Your personal vision is how you see yourself in the future. In a lifestyle design context, it is a detailed visualisation of how your desired life looks at a point in the future. By understanding what you want, you can propel yourself forward with useful actions, behaviours and thoughts to achieve your ideal life.  As Stephen Covey would say, ‘Always begin with the end in mind!”

Mark Twain was a much better writer than I will ever be, so I will let him explain the importance of vision:

I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want. Once you are crystal clear about the intended end result that you seek to produce, all the ways that it can become a done deal start to reveal themselves to you. There are many who have accomplished exactly what you want to achieve and could show you the way. You are not ready to ask them because you are not clear and you have not determined which questions need answers.

Your Personal Vision Statement

Your personal vision statement is a written description of your future desired life as visualised by your mind’s eye.  Despite what some will tell you there is no ‘correct’ format or length although the more detailed and specific your vision is, the more connected to you it will be.

A stronger connection to your vision statement significantly increases its power as a tool for manifesting your future outcomes through your thoughts and actions.

Personally I like to type mine in a Word document and make it as detailed as possible. My personal vision statement is the very first thing that I read at the start of my weekly review and planning session each Sunday.

Your vision statement should also cover the important areas of your life.  Here are some suggestions for what these areas may be:

  1. Work.
  2. Family.
  3. Hobbies.
  4. Travel.
  5. Values and Beliefs.
  6. Habits to develop.
  7. Self Development.
  8. Spirituality.
  9. Finances.
  10. Living location.
  11. Relationships.
  12. Health and Wellbeing.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Here is a list of some useful questions to ask yourself as you develop your personal vision statement:

  • What are the things that I really enjoy?
  • What brings me happinesss/joy?
  • What were the two best moments of my past week?
  • What are three things that I would do if I won the lottery?
  • What are the issues and causes that I care deeply about?
  • What are my most important values?
  • What are the things that I do at the good-to-excellent level?
  • What are the things that I’d like to stop doing or do as little as possible?

To help you answer “What are my most important values?” subscribe on the right hand side to Uncork Your Mind’s monthly newsletter and receive free access to this month’s ‘Understand Your Values’ coaching activity.

Mission Statement Vs Vision Statement

In my thirteen years as an Army officer I wrote a lot of mission statements for military tactical operations.  In the Army the mission is a concise one sentence statement with the key ingredients of “who, what, when, where and why.”  The same formula is relevant for writing a personal mission statement and will be further explored in a future post.

In essence, the mission statement ‘operationalises’ your vision. By this I mean that your mission statement provides a concise platform to align your thoughts and actions to your personal vision statement.

Where a mission statement is an easily remembered one sentence statement that intentionally omits the detail, a vision statement is a full description of your desired future as visualised by your mind’s eye.

Your Next Action!

Now that you have revised yourself in what a personal vision statement is, use the focus areas and prompting questions above and WRITE YOUR PERSONAL VISION STATEMENT.  Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant (thanks to Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India for this great quote!)

P.S. It can also be useful to turn your personal vision statement into a vision board or vice versa.  Read my post on creating a lifestyle design vision board to learn more about the power of visual cues for creating your desired lifestyle.

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Jo January 24, 2011 at 8:23 am

Hi Brenton

Yes – I totally agree. Vision is so important both personally and professionally. If you don’t have vision (or values), then life can start to feel rather directionless. When you’re stuck in a situation where you’re unhappy – such as a job you dislike – it can even be hard to find your vision or decide on your values. But without it, you’ll never move forward or escape from your unhappiness.

I’m currently reading Flying Solo by Robert Gerrish and Sam Leader and they have a chapter devoted to the power of having a vision. It’s in a small business/solo-preneur context but I found it useful in both a business and personal sense.

Reply

Brenton Russell January 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Hi Jo,

I like to think of values and core beliefs as the essence of who you are as a person and your vision as the picture of how you practically visualise yourself aligning your actions and thoughts to your values, core beliefs, basic human needs and desired lifestyle design principles.

I agree that if can be very difficult to identify your vision when you are not in a constructive or productive mindset. For me, the best way to get out of a rut like this is to go through the process of identifying/re-identifying your core values, understand/revise your basic human needs criteria, determine the principles of your desired lifestyle design and then from this process your personal vision will easily flow. By going through this process not only will you create a vision that aligns to the very essence of who you are but you will also have a powerful tool for motivating your actions and thoughts towards achieving your desired lifestyle.

If you’re interested in further exploring values, drop me an email via my ‘contact me’ page and I will send you this month’s Uncork Your Mind newsletter which includes a free coaching activity designed to help you identify your core values. Alternatively you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter on the right which will automatically send you out this activity along with my free monthly newsletter and future coaching activities.

Thanks for the thoughtful post!

I haven’t read the Flying Solo book but I am subscribed to their website’s weekly newsletter. Its a good read and if you’re enjoying their book you might also enjoy their newsletter.

Reply

Riley Harrison January 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hey Brenton,
You are really writing some great posts. Not only you grasping the essence of what’s important but you are presenting the message in a way that inspires and motivates. Keep
up the good work!

Riley
Riley Harrison recently posted..IT’S MOVING DAY!

Reply

Brenton Russell January 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Hi Riley,

I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Jason from Skyward January 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

Brenton,

This is great stuff man! I’m really into personal (and family) mission statements as well as holding a vision of the future (LOA style). But have never previously heard of a vision statement.

You’ve obviously studied Covey (one of my favorites), and I love his teaching on developing plans for the future. According to him, the four main components of life are to: live, love, learn, and leave a legacy. In other words economics, relationsips, education/self development, and a deeper meaning in life.

These are the corner stones of all of my planning activies.

Man that was great Brenton, look forward to coming back regularly!

Jason

Reply

Brenton Russell January 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Hi Jason,

Covey is great isn’t he! His thoughts are timeless and very simple to understand. I often find myself reflecting back on his ideas and quotes as they really resonate with me. Definitely essential reading. I like your translation of his four main components of life. I will commit this to memory as a useful tool.

I look forward to keeping in contact with you.

Reply

Sean Mathena @ Find Your Peak January 26, 2011 at 1:24 am

Great post Brenton!

I did a vision statement a few years back, and I constantly refer to it and modify it. It really helps to keep me on track when I start to stray!
Sean Mathena @ Find Your Peak recently posted..Book Review- The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus

Reply

Brenton Russell January 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Hi Sean,

For the time it takes to crystalise your vision and define it in words, the vision statement is really a “low cost” way to achieve significant progress towards your goals. Great to see that your vision statement is working so well for you.

Reply

esra March 26, 2013 at 6:31 am

Thank you for this post Brenton. I like your approach to self development concepts. Also thank you for the quote that you used from Mark Twain. That inspired me to change my blog post.

esra

Reply

Brenton Russell March 26, 2013 at 10:52 am

Hi Esra,

Thanks for your feedback. Mark Twain has so many amazing quotes it’s sometimes hard to pick which one to include!

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