Create a Compelling Personal Vision for Your Life
OVERVIEW: This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a compelling personal vision statement that will inspire you to push beyond your comfort zone and take actions that are guaranteed to help you develop and reach your full potential.
Two Essential Personal Development Tools for Lasting Change
While willpower is an essential element of creating positive change in our lives, but the reality is that it has its limitations: that is, our mental energy is finite.
And so when it comes to changing your behaviour and making it stick, being consistent in your personal development journey, taking action on your goals despite the feeling of discomfort, as a coach, I’ve found there to be two essential ingredients:
- A personal vision for your Future Self that guides you forward
- A clear set of personal values that highlight your ideal behaviour
Armed with vision and values, it’s way easier to make behavioural changes and be inspired to take uncomfortable actions on your aligned goals.
So in this post, I will be talking about how to create a personal vision for your life. In the next, I will talk about core values.
Do you have a clear vision for your future?
P.s. If you would like to share this post on Pinterest, there are perfect pinnable images at the bottom of the post.
What is a Personal Vision?
Vision, as rightly put by Simon Sinek is the ability to talk about the future with such clarity as if we were talking about the past.
A personal vision statement, therefore, is a statement that clearly defines the vision you have for your life and future and its compelling and inspiring enough to make you jump into action.
Every organization have vision statements that guide them Why shouldn’t individuals have one?
Why Create a Personal Vision Statement?
Because it’s easy to get distracted, to lose sight of what’s important to us.
When we get disconnected from our life’s direction, other people’s agendas come before our own.
Have you noticed how, at times, every phone call, email, and notification on your screen draw your full attention? While at other times, you’re absorbed in your work regardless of the distraction?
Vision doesn’t eliminate distraction. It inspires us to focus on what matters.
Vision provides clarity for the future while directing us to place our attention in the present.
As Timothy Gallwey writes in The Inner Game of Work:
If you have a clear vision of where you want to go, you are not as easily distracted by the many possibilities and agendas that otherwise divert you.
A compelling personal vision statement can illuminate our way in periods of darkness. It can inspire us to shed all the stuff that holds us back.
As Steven Covey wrote in his best-selling classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Four Reasons Why We Struggle with Vision
There are at least four underlying reasons. Understanding these blocks can free us from the resistance that keeps us from crafting a personal vision statement.
First, there’s cultural conditioning.
From early education onward, we have been conditioned to make life decisions based on a limited range of options.
We make choices based on what’s in front of us; what we believe to be available to us.
Creating a vision demands that we draw from an infinite range of choice, which makes us uncomfortable.
Second, visualization is a skill.
Visualization is also like a muscle. Many of us stopped exercising this muscle during childhood.
Now, it feels uncomfortable to try to visualize our future. We fear we’re not doing it right.
Many people tell themselves they can’t visualize or that it doesn’t work for them. That’s simply a belief, one ungrounded and untrue.
The more we visualize, the better we get at creating from our imagination.
Third, we’re afraid.
We’re afraid we may not succeed. We question our competence, our ability to persevere.
We are uncertain of our value: are we worthy of dreaming big?
A part of us is used to playing small. To this part, safety is more important than growth. And a vision is a roadmap to growth.
The unlimited range of options we must draw upon scares us too.
Fourth, we think the vision has to be perfect.
We believe we need the “right” vision, the perfect vision.
The perfectionist in us needs to craft an ideal vision statement that’s timeless, true for all eternity.
7 Elements to Explore for Your Life Vision
Here is a list of elements to consider when you’re ready to create your personal vision statement:
What are the five to ten things you stand by and value the most?
What are five to ten things you enjoy doing the most? What elevates you? What can’t you live without?
Areas of Focus:
What are the major categories of your life that always need your attention? (A list of sample categories is in the wheel of life.)
What are you naturally good at? (Take a free assessment to discover your strengths here.)
If this was your last day on earth, what would you regret not doing, seeing, or creating?
What are three areas you strongly want to cultivate skills in that will in some way enrich your life experience?
What are the things you must do to feel fulfilled in your work?
Craft Your Personal Vision Statement
Block off time in advance to reflect on the questions above. They represent the raw material for your vision statement.
Remind yourself that this process doesn’t have to yield a “perfect” vision.
Any vision is better than no vision. Whatever you create is not set in stone. It can evolve with you over time.
So for now, simply create a “working vision.” Look at it as a first draft.
The goal of crafting your vision is to simply capture the things that are most important to you.
Take your time in crafting your vision. Return to the above questions repeatedly.
It won’t serve you to rush through this process with the goal of completing your vision quickly. (It might take weeks, if not longer.)
Instead, allow the questions to percolate in your mind. Ask these questions before you go to sleep. Keep a pen and pad by your bedside.
You don’t need to use force to draw these answers out of you. You need only allow them to come forward.
Personal Vision Statement Examples
How many of the above elements are essential for your vision statement? That’s up to you.
Your vision statement can be a sentence or two.
For example, Oprah Winfrey’s vision is:
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
And Richard Branson’s vision is:
“To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.”
Or your personal vision statement can be a page long.
Here’s a sample template of a long-form vision statement:
Each day I uphold the values of [insert values] in all that I do. I am filled with vitality and passion when I [insert passions]. Each week I grow in the key areas of my life including [insert areas of focus]. I feel content and enriched each day because I capitalize on my natural strengths of [insert strengths] by doing [insert how you apply these strengths in your work and home life. I’m continuously developing [insert skills] for the sheer joy of doing something I love doing.
Allow your vision to paint a mental picture of your life five to 20 years from now.
Write it in the present tense so that it feels as if it exists right now.
When to Use Your Life Vision
Once you have a draft of your personal vision statement, consider reviewing it …
- At the start of the week.
- Sunday night. Take a few minutes to connect with your vision to prime you for the week ahead.
- When you feel lost or confused. When you’re distracted by 10,000 things, pause and review your vision.
- When you feel a part of you questioning the purpose and meaning of your life. Remind yourself that you have created personal meaning. And return to your life vision statement.
Review it frequently until it becomes a part of you.
How to Use Your Personal Vision
A few words on a screen or a piece of paper doesn’t hold much power.
If you want your vision to drive you to your desired destination, don’t just read it. Embody it. Bring it to life.
Create a mental picture of it in your mind’s eye. See yourself in the end picture with your vision actualized.
What do you look like? What are you doing? how do you feel?
The more clearly you can connect with the images and feelings reflected in your vision, the more likely you are going to take the right actions toward manifesting it.
And somehow, when you’re living your vision, you get external help too.
As author Paulo Coelho put it The Alchemist:
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
If you haven’t already, check out Covey’s best-selling classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It helps clarify the key behaviours necessary for consistent effectiveness.