There are many, often competing, things that shape our view of what success looks like. Sometimes we need to check back in on ourselves and make sure that the things we’re chasing are really our dreams, and not someone else’s. To make sure that we’re living true to our values, and not leaning into we’re conditioned to believe matters.
Here’s an example.
Imagine a successful accountant. Her family have publicly celebrated every qualification, job and promotion she’s had since she first decided to break the mould and become the first woman to go to university in her family. She’s worked hard to get where she is and there’s a part of her that absolutely loves getting lost in numbers. But since her most recent promotion within a prestigious accounting firm in the city, she’s been feeling a bit off. She rediscovers that her values are family, equality, freedom, creativity, humility, and wisdom. She sees that she’s been so focused on pleasing her family, whilst seeing her success as a measure of equality, she’s lost sight of what matters to her.
Purpose of a vision statement
A personal vision is a statement of your dreams and intentions. It helps you to remain aligned to your values and stay focused on what matters most to you, whilst life pushes and pulls in all the directions. A good vision will give you the confidence and energy to push through failure and challenges, motivate, excite and comforting you when things inevitably get tough.
It’s important that this isn’t about performance and excellence, just because you think it should be. This vision will not be about creating the perfect life. There is no such thing! Your vision might be to give yourself a break and relax into the moment. It might be to give more space for your family and stop chasing the pound. What’s important is you attribute feelings and meaning to your vision, and don’t just assume that getting the ‘things’ you want will bring happiness.
Here’s the accountant’s vision statement.
“I feel affluent with ample money from rental income and my work as a consultant accountant, three days per week. I get joy and satisfaction from giving back by supporting community organisations and young entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire funding and manage money. I am intellectually fulfilled as I dedicate one day per week to learning and exploring new things. I feel warm and fulfilled by our loving family life and I am always excited about the next of our many holidays, some of which include wider family and friends.”
Now we’re going to walk through the steps to create a personal vision.
Open your mind
You’ll get much better results from self-discovery and vision setting if you go wide, considering your life holistically, before you zoom in on any areas you know need particular focus. Although we can neatly name life areas, the fact is that they all overlap, and you need balance. It is all too easy for us to overcompensate and try to meet all our needs in one area. For many people this is work, for others it might be a relationship, or family.
Try to get yourself into the mindset of complete freedom. If there were no constraints. What would you say if your answers weren’t going to be seen by anyone else? What would you say if you shook off any fear and were the kind of brave that makes you shiver?
Find a comfortable space to sit, with your back upright, but not rigid, and your feet firmly on the floor, close your eyes, or keep your eyes slightly if that’s more comfortable for you, and take three deep breaths. Then sit, for around three minutes, focusing on your breath. Or find a quick meditation on YouTube.
So now you’re in the space of complete freedom, put yourself far into the future. What advice would your 90-year-old self give you? You might consider what you’d ask yourself to…
- Do more of
- Do less of
- Focus more on
- Focus less on
- Be more
- Be less
To know where you want to go, it’s a good idea to get clear on where you are right now. This is a simple but impactful process, starting with the wheel of a life. It’s a tool which allows you to rate your current level of fulfilment from 0-10 in each area of your life. Take a moment to think about each area, then give it a score. Perhaps make some notes on the most and least positive elements.
Once you’ve compelted the wheel of life and confirmed how fulfilmd you are in each element, get a pen and paper and have a go at answering the following questions:
- What do you care about?
- What gives you energy?
- What kind of people do you admire?
- What does your career mean to you?
- What are your strengths?
- What is success to you?
Set the frame
- What point in the future are you looking into?
- What’s going on in the world then?
- In just a few words, describe yourself against each element of the wheel of life.
Visualise your future
Imagine that you are excelling and completely content. Everything is exactly as you want it.
- What can you see? Who are you with? Who else is around you? What impact are you having?
- Where are you? What are you doing? What is making you happy?
- What can you see? What can you hear? How do you feel?
- What are your strengths? What words are you using to describe yourself? What are people saying about you?
Design your future self
Consolidating your thoughts and ideas into one clear statement that answers the questions:
- What have you achieved?
- What are you doing?
- What impact are you having?
- What is making you proud?
The great vision checklist
✨ Compelling: to evoke you interest and attention in a powerfully irresistible way.
✨ Clear: stating your intentions in straightforward and unambiguous way.
✨ Concise: short enough to memorise and repeat. Your personal mantra.
✨ Confident: Uses affirmative language such as “I am…”
✨ Motivational: it needs to inspire action, get you out of bed with a smile.
✨ Ambitious: this is about stretching out of the comfort zone into a better place.
✨ Realistic: needs to be something that you can imagine being true.
Bringing your vision to life
Having a vision is an excellent start. But we need to really feel it, to really believe in it, to bring it to life. Here are a few things that can help.
- Meditate on it asking yourself what it will look, sound, and feel like once you’re there.
- Print it out and put it on your walk.
- Repeat it daily, as you would an affirmation.
- Consider telling someone – or everyone – where you’re going. Be proud.
- Act. List the changes you need to make, and the action you need to take, and make your move, celebrating every step you take.
- Failure, rejection, and mistakes can knock us sideways. But these things will happen. When they do, take it as a gift to grow from. With the right mindset, facing failure makes you stronger.
- Find an accountability partner. Could be a friend, a partner, a coach, anyone at all. Ask them to walk with you on your journey. Ensure it’s someone you can trust to lift you up and motivate you.