“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many years ago Martin Luther King had a powerful dream for the world. He dreamt of a world where people of all races could live together in peace and harmony. His dream was a powerful vision of his future.
Today I want to help you to dust off your dream and create a vision or better vision statement for yourself. This vision can involve your professional or your personal life. Your vision may have one aspect or many. You may write down your vision or keep it in your head. You may define and reinforce your vision “Oprah Winfrey style” with a vision board (I call it Treasure Map) and pictures. Or, your vision could simply be in your mind as something you want to achieve or see in yourself. There are no rules to creating a vision except for understanding exactly what a vision is.
A vision is a wish, hope or dream that you create for yourself. It will help you understand how you define yourself as a person, either internally or vis-a-vis others. A vision will provide you with the opportunity to look forward to achieving something in the future. A vision helps define who you want to be. To engage and reach your vision you will stretch yourself and believe in yourself and your ability to be what and who you want to be.
Every vision needs to have a vision statement. I can be simple or complicated but it needs to be clear. Here are some examples:
• I want to be married.
• I want to move to a warm climate and live by the sea.
• I want to be known for my contributions to charity and my community.
• I want to be a partner in my business.
• I want to be happy.
• I want to be healthy.
A carefully crafted vision statement will help you define your objective and communicate it to others if it is not strictly personal. Your personal vision statement may be easy or difficult to define. Just because your vision is difficult to define does not mean it isn’t wonderful and legitimate. Actually, vision statements, since they are intended to be forward-looking, should be tough. If achieving your vision were easy, you probably would have done it already. So, take some time, meditate, use all the emotional intelligence you have and look inside yourself. That’s when your personal vision will click.
What is at the very core of a vision statement?
• It is an inner or outer manifestation of your values.
• It defines your optimal objective.
• It provides a frame of reference between the present and the future.
• It reminds why you engage in hard work, internally and externally, to reach the desired outcome.
• It is inspirational.
Remember, visions statements are aspirational. Only if you look to the future will you keep moving forward. Just as important, you must believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your personal vision in order to fulfill it. Self-actualization happens when your beliefs, values and objectives are in harmony. Beliefs are generalizations that will help you with decision-making in what is certainly an ambiguous world. The most important belief for achieving your vision is a belief in yourself. You must feel and internalize that you are able to reach for your personal star. You have to assert your strength, integrity and values to get you from the present to a rewarding future.
You might be a person who tends to self-limit, maybe by fear of the unknown, maybe by insecurity, maybe by guilt or outside obligations. Remember, when we find ourselves faced with a limitation, we have to ask whether it is self-imposed. And usually it is. As Buddha said, “We are what we think.”
If you think that you can do it, you are a hundred times more likely to achieve your vision than if you are filled with doubt or allow obstacles to stand in your way. You can become what you see in your future if you believe, and if your beliefs, values and desires are congruent with your vision.
And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. As you move into the next aspect of the journey, bear in mind that you may need the help, support or feedback of others. Consider hiring a life or executive coach. S/he will be a great sounding board and assist you will getting the job done.