by Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones
It's good to create or revise the "personal vision" you have for your life. A compelling vision can help you succeed, be more satisfied with your life, and get the most out of your mentoring relationships. Following is a tool for doing that.
Importance of Having a Personal Vision
Numerous experts on leadership and personal development emphasize how vital it is for you to craft your own personal vision for your life. Warren Bennis, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, and others point out that a powerful vision can help you succeed far beyond where you'd be without one. That vision can propel you and inspire those around you to reach their own dreams. I've learned in my own life and in working as a psychologist that if you don't identify your vision, others will plan and direct your life for you. I've worked with too many individuals who late in their lives said, "If only…" You don't have to be one of them.
Peter Senge defines vision as ‘what you want to create of yourself and the world around you’. What does your vision include? Making a vital change in an area such as health, technology, or the environment? Raising happy, well-adjusted children? Writing a book? Owning your own business? Living on a beach? Being very fit and healthy? Visiting every continent? Helping others with their spiritual development? What are you good at? What do you love to do? What aren't you good at now, but you'd like to be? All of these important questions are part of identifying your personal vision.
Use this Tool #1 to think through and start to craft your personal vision. It's adapted from many sources and should prompt you to think and dream. Find a place without distractions such as a quiet table at a restaurant. Answer as many of the questions as possible, and discuss your responses with someone you trust.
Personal Vision Tool #1
|Things I Enjoy Doing||What Brings Me Happiness/Joy||The Two Best Moments of My Past Week||Three Things I'd Do If I Won the Lottery|
|Issues or Causes I Care Deeply About||My Most Important Values (Circle)||Things I Can Do at the Good-to-Excellent Level||What I'd Like to Stop Doing or Do as Little as Possible|
|Having integrity Serving/pleasing God Being fit and healthy Having a nice home and belongings Leaving the world a better place Having fun Learning and improving myself Making others' lives easier or more pleasant Enjoying my family Others? (Add)|
You can download life Personal Vision Statement Template via this link in MS Word Format (ready for Printing)
Did any of these questions trigger some ideas about what you'd like to be doing with your life between now and 2020? If so, keep thinking about the questions and your answers, and continue your personal research.
WRITING A PERSONAL VISION STATEMENT
In a nutshell, your personal vision is what you want to be, do, feel, think, own, associate with, and impact by some date in the future. We recommend that you identify your Personal Vision as a development strategy. We're providing some tools to help you identify and implement your personal vision.
Previously, we’ve encouraged you to begin thinking about your personal vision. Print a copy of the Tool #1, and spend at least an hour by yourself completing it. You won't be able to do this task if you don't complete that important initial step.
It's now time to pull together your research and write a Personal Vision Statement. Your vision must be unique and appropriate for you, so we offer the following Personal Vision Statement only as an example:
I am more physically fit, almost finished with my formal education, actively involved in two close personal relationships, worshipping and serving God regularly, having fun every day, and making at least 75% as much money as now doing work that I love.
Notice in this sample that the person included several areas of life (physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, and career). It's a picture of how the person sees himself/herself and is written in the present tense.
Use the following tool to synthesize what you've learned about yourself and to write your own statement.
Tool #2: Personal Vision Statement
|1. Based on my personal research, these are the main things that motivate me/bring me joy and satisfaction:|
|2. My greatest strengths/abilities/traits/things I do best:|
|3. At least two things I can start doing/do more often that use my strengths and bring me joy:|
|4. This is my Personal Vision Statement for myself (in 50 words or less):|
Download a Template for Writing a Personal Vision Statement via this link in MS Word Format (ready to Print)
Talk about your findings and your Vision Statement with someone you trust. If necessary, make a second, better draft, but don't compromise your passion. Think big, and hold onto your excitement! Now you're ready to turn your Vision Statement into an action plan.
Helping Mentees with Vision Statements
Continue your own personal vision work so you're a strong model for your mentees.
- Print out the Tool #2 and work on it by yourself. If it makes sense, share all or part with someone you trust.
- Share your completed copy with your mentees so they can learn from your example.
- Ask your mentees to complete Tool #2 (Personal Vision Statement), before your next mentoring sessions with them.
- At those meetings, ask your mentees to share their findings with you. Don't discourage them from their tentative ideas. Give them positive feedback on their work and strengths you've observed in them.
- Continue to ask probing questions to help them identify their important goals.
Use the Vision Probing Question: "If you had ____, what would that bring you?" For example:
Mentor: If you wrote the book, what would that bring you?
Mentee: I'd finish something I promised my father and maybe make some money.
Mentor: (Taking the second of the two answers) If you made that money, what would that bring you?
Mentee: I'd buy a sailboat and take my family out on weekends.
Mentor: If you could take your family on your boat, what would that mean to you?
Continue and then probe the first answer about promising father.
- Reinforce your mentees for their attempts. Putting one's dreams on paper is difficult. Encourage them to write in pencil if that's easier. They can even have multiple visions. Help them think big, and avoid discouraging them from visions and dreams you think are too grand. Later, you and they can explore the feasibility of these dreams. For now, be optimistic. Your mentees may surprise you!
You're now ready to help your mentees turn their Vision Statements into Personal Development Plans.