The Importance of a Personal Vision Statement
Do you really know yourself? Do you really know what you stand for? It starts by writing your personal vision statement and documenting your beliefs.
It has been 10 years since I graduated. I have worked in corporate America, built a small marketing agency, and now I am the head of marketing for a software company. In my 10 years of experience, I have helped create nearly 50 mission and vision statements for companies and clients.
Currently, I am back at it working with the senior management team on what we believe in, what do we stand for, and what do we want to be when we finally grow up (even at a 25-year-old company you still want to know what you are going to be when you grow up).
Life is funny, as I was reading this morning the chapter was about developing a personal vision statement. Something that you can get behind, something that defines you, something that you stand for both professionally and personally. As I am sitting in my den, reading with my coffee, it hit me. You need a personal vision statement to drive your future, help define the jobs you take, and even the person you marry (I got lucky here). You need a vision statement that defines you and what you believe in.
As I pondered this in the car on my drive to work, it surprised me that I have never thought about creating my own vision statement. “What have I been doing all these years.”
Now 36 years old, I still do not really know what I stand for, what I really like to do, and what I really want to be when I grow up.
Yes, I know that I want to be a great husband and father. I know that I love business and marketing. I know that I want to help my current company grow. However, as I kept thinking about this, I remembered why I went to graduate school. It was to learn more about leadership so that I could help other business owners, marketers, employees, students, and even my kids (not born at the time) become the best leaders possible. However, I have not touched on this over the last 10 years. Fail, right?
I also realized that this is why I love my job right now. I have no direct reports, no team to manage, but I impact the entire organization and I lead work teams to get things done. The best part of the equation is I get to help others become better leaders. I get to mentor, share my experiences, and help them become the people that they want to become.
So, over the next few days, I am going to develop my personal vision statement. I am going to build the statement that drives my decisions going forward. I will share it on cobound.co and social media. I will also share with you the process of creating this personal vision statement.
Why Is a Personal Vision Statement Important for Your Growth?
I have now been writing this article for about 4 days now. The more I think about the topic, the more importance I see a personal vision statement for growth. The importance of a personal vision statement is bigger than I originally thought while reading a chapter in a book and driving to work.
Here are a few reasons a personal vision statement is important.
One of the things that I have been trying to teach my kids is self-awareness. Yes, teaching them this at the age of 9, 7, 5, and 3 is super hard. However, I know that if I teach them about self-awareness now, by the time they start to make real decisions, it will have sunk in.
Your personal vision statement will increase your self-awareness or the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. Your personal vision statement is all about getting to know yourself a little better.
Changes the dynamics of your career
Something very powerful happens when you know what you stand for, what you enjoy doing, and what you are good at. Your work becomes meaningful and rewarding.
Out of college I really did not know what I wanted to do. I had a degree in marketing and my MBA. So, I did what any person in their right mind would do, I looked for a job. Fortunately, I was able to land a solid job at a technology company. Things where good. Really good.
However, things got even better. My wife and I had our first daughter. This changed my perspective changed. I took another job back home in Phoenix, AZ at a pet retailer. We wanted to be closer to friends and family.
The job I took was an analytics job in the marketing department. It paid well and it was a pretty good gig, I guess. Here is the problem. I am not overly analytical; I am more creative. I was also selling dog food, not my passion. So, any high paying job would work.
Eventually, I was shown the door. Looking back, if I had written down a personal vision statement, I probably would not have accepted that job (it was the first one I applied for). I would have kept looking for something to get excited about.
The point here is that your personal vision statement might change the job you have; it will give you guidance on the work you do. It might even come with a pay cut, you lucky dog. But you will be happy.
Provides focus in all aspects of your life
Have you ever sat down, put your to-do list together, and getting things done? When you come up for air, you look back at your list with all these checkboxes. The funny thing is you feel like you have accomplished nothing. We have all been there.
Your personal vision statement helps you focus on the right action items. It helps you identify what is actually important in your life, both personally and professionally.
For example, one of the things I love is coaching my kids’ sports teams. This gives me the opportunity to hang out with my littles and get to know some really cool kids. Many times, these kids need to feel part of a team, and that is what we do. Build teams and prepare kids for the future.
During the day we all get busy and have things we need to accomplish, but every Wednesday, I leave the office at 4 pm. No excesses. I ensure that my task list has been accomplished because I am able to focus on the important aspects, not the filler busy work.
Your personal vision statement is going to give you direction and increase your focus. If you know you want to achieve something, work in a certain industry, or whatever you will need to focus on the right tasks, not just any task. So, get focused!
Speeds up decisions making
Life has a funny way of challenging our beliefs. Life also has a funny way of changing our priorities. You are going to be presented with opportunities, challenges, and dilemmas throughout your life, both professionally and personally.
Your personal vision statement will help you make decisions based on your moral and beliefs, thus making your decisions easier and faster. For example, when I was presented with my current job the decision was easy. I was presented with an opportunity to set up and provide all marketing direction for a company that helps schools feed low-income children. Many times, these children only eat once per day and my company helps in this process. As a father of 4, this was important to me. The pay was in range with what I needed to make, and the purpose of the company was something that I could be proud of. My decision to accept the position took all of 30 seconds.
Sure, I could have kept moving and trying to build my marketing agency. I could have found a marketing manager job that makes more money. However, the decision was easy because it aligned with my beliefs, what I enjoy doing, and a side benefit is the people I work with are all pretty cool (I lucked out here).
Making the right decisions in business is hard enough. Your personal vision statement will help you speed up your decision making. If the decision does not align with your personal vision, don’t do it. The grey area becomes more black and white with a solid personal vision statement.
Creates accountability for your actions
Accountability to your family, your team, and yourself is something that is very important. Accountability is simply being responsible for the decision you make, the actions you take, and the assignments you complete. Being accountable for your actions will build trust, improve your performance, and promotes ownership of your outcomes.
Here is one thing that drives me crazy. Sorry for the side rant. Over the last few weeks, there has been a wired thing happening at work. People have not been taking action and holding themselves accountable for their job. Our employees have been told, shown, and rewarded for taking action and holding themselves and others accountable for their actions and work.
Here is the weird thing, when in meetings, actions items come up and nobody raises their hands for tasks that should be part of their job. Then after the meeting, they find me and vent their frustration (I have kind of become the company counselor). I always ask them, “Are you frustrated because someone else is taking action items for your job?” The answer is always yes.
When you have your personal vision statement written down, it is much easier to raise your hand and be accountable for the outcomes of your job. You know what you stand for, you know what you should be doing, and you make it your mission to accomplish your assignments.
Your personal vision statement creates accountability and gives you’re the power to take action. This starts to create a culture of accountability in your workplace.
The Personal Vision Statement Checklist – How to Write Your Personal Vision Statement
Okay, you now see why it is so important to build your personal vision statement. But how do you go about it? How do you create a personal vision statement that is going to carry weight for the rest of your life? Glad you asked. Here is the checklist that I used to create my personal vision statement.
Can your children read it?
Your personal vision statement should not be so complicated that you need a master’s degree to read it. My test is simple. I have a 9-year-old daughter, if she can read my few sentences and comprehend what was written, it is good to go. Do not make your statement so complicated that only you are going to understand it.
Easy to remember
You should be able to tell anyone about your personal vision statement. If you are not able to remember it, it is probably not powerful enough or it is too complicated. Your statement describes you, so if you are not able to remember it, it might not be about you.
Creates a plan of action
Do you get excited about your personal vision statement? Does it move you to action? As you create and review your personal vision statement, ensure that it drives you to do something. It should drive your actions and motivate you to move forward.
Works for both personal and professional
One thing that has always bothered me is the boss, co-worker, or employee that acts one way at work and another in their personal lives. Your personal vision statement should work for you in both your personal and professional life. There is no reason for you to act one way in your personal life and another in your professional life. Your personal vision statement might help.
Write it down
This is a must. Write your personal vision statement down and share it with close friends and family. If it is not written down, it is not important. Get those words on paper. Once it is on paper it is easy to review and read from time to time.
Does it represent you as a person?
This might be the most important item we discuss the personal vision statement checklist. Does it actually represent you as a person? Remember, this is about you, not your friend, not your mentor, not your business idol. Your personal vision statement needs to be about you if it is going to provide value.
Review Your Personal Vision Statement Often
Let’s face it, we all change over time. This is why you need to review your personal vision statement often. This is not a write it and forget it. This is something that you are going to come back to time and time again.
Personally, I am going to look at mine the first of every month. I am going to get up early with some coffee, pull out my personal vision statement, and review it. I am going to do this for 2 reasons.
- Keep my personal vision statement top of mind
- Ensure that it is still relevant in my life (things change, priorities change)
Maybe for you, it’s a quarterly exercise. The point here is we all need a reminder from time to time to keep us on the right path. Make it a point to review your personal vision statement.
Personal Vision Statement Examples – What I stand for
As a husband, father, and co-worker it is my goal to help people achieve their goals by helping, mentoring, and sharing my knowledge. I work hard, put others first, and listen before I speak.
100 percent transparency here. This started out as a very short blog. My goal was to share my opinion on a personal vision statement and walk away. I was hoping to make this more of a rant for Instagram, than a blog post. However, the more I wrote on the topic, the more I felt that there needed to be a solid article. I researched the topic to find little to no information out there. A few decent articles, but nothing complete.
I think the project blossomed into a pretty cool little article and I am glad you are still with me.
That being said, your personal vision statement is important for many reasons and it should be something that you take seriously. Let your values drive your future, not the need for another paycheck or another job. Find out what drives you and go get it.
Your future self will thank you for taking the time to write your personal vision statement.
Here is what I want you to do. Take a few days, write your personal vision statement, come back and post it in the comments below. Once complete, go update your social media profiles and let the world know what you stand for. This will help hold you accountable and help you achieve your goals.