Use these exercises to clarify your purpose
Since you’re here, you probably already read the background to this assignment. The key takeaway: it’s critical to know where you’re going. Either way, you’ll get somewhere, but without a clear purpose, it may not be where you want to be.
Have you ever been frustrated in your attempts to get what you want?
Have you wondered how some great athletes and high achievers deliver THEIR greatest results?
Are you frustrated, maybe feeling you’re not even sure what you want?
Define your purpose clearly, or you don’t get much control over where you end up.
If you need more inspiration about this, or you just want the full experience, go read the first part of this assignment. Don’t worry, the page will open in a new tab, and there’s a link back also! You’ll have two ways to get back here.
If you’re already fired up, or you just want to start work:
Write A Vision Statement As A Foundation For Your Purpose
How does this exercise work?
This exercise combines two powerful tools to guide you in writing a vision statement.
First, Visualize It
Visualization is a tool my grade school swim coach, Mr. Jim Griffin, taught his swimmers to literally see our success, hitting our goals before we ever hit the water. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of this performance enhancement method.
Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.
Second, Free Write It
I’ve joined visualization with a tool my book writing coach taught me, which is proven to help overcome apathy and self-criticism. Can taking the trash out of your head help you deliver on your best results faster? It sure helped me! In fact, it’s used by successful writers and brainstormers everywhere.
You can use it to really open up and write from your heart.
Here are some simple, fun exercises to “up your game” in your most important areas. Share your results when you finish!
“On paper, I make time stand still and I impose my convictions on the whole world; they become the only reality.”
–Simone de Beauvoir, The Mandarins
Instructions To Write Your Vision Statement(s):
Schedule an uninterrupted time and place where you can relax.
- Find a nice, comfortable place and seating position.
- Maybe grab yourself a nice, warm (or cold), relaxing beverage.
- Choose your favorite writing tool(s).
Write for 10 minutes each, on the writing cues below. Follow these guidelines.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes. Start writing or typing after you start the timer and do not stop writing or typing until after the timer expires. Fingers keep moving even if you don’t know what to write. If you’re really stuck, write “I don’t know what to write” repeatedly until a new idea surfaces. I promise, it won’t take long (you’ll have a new idea before you’ve written the sentence TWICE).
- Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are not important. The un-edited output of your unconstrained imagination is what we want.
- Write from YOUR point of view and YOUR ideas, not what “they’ve” told you or you believe someone else wants to hear. No judgments: just let it fly.
- A ton of reality orientation isn’t critical here. At this stage, think of yourself as if you are Leonardo DaVinci inventing the submarine or Dick Tracy using a smart phone, centuries and decades before they were actually created.
- Write vividly, in the present tense, as though you’re standing in the future, and what you’re describing already exists.
- The most important thing is your unconstrained thinking on what’s most desirable to you. Don’t edit, just write.
- Write in detail. Describe events, locations, people, places, activities. Use your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste?
- Finish whatever thoughts you still have in mind after the timer expires. Continue writing until you’ve exhausted ideas. You may write 10 minutes 2 seconds, or you may write 29 minutes. Exhaust your ideas.
- Have fun with it! Begin when you start the 10 minute timer. Do not stop writing or typing until the timer runs out or you run out of things to write, whichever comes LATER.
- You may want to take a break between each 10 minute writing block, as writing all in a row may be tiring. However, if you are up to it, you can write at any time, or in any sequence you like.
Cue 1: Your Perfect World
Write your vision statement for a perfect world, from your point of view. How do different countries, societies, cultures, religions, and beliefs interact and manage the resources available to us?
Cue 2: What You Love
Describe your passions, the things you love, and things you’ve always wanted to do. Expand this into a Bucket List.
Cue 3: Your Perfect Life
Write your vision statement for your perfect life. This is you, standing in the future, having achieved your most important goal. “Describe your perfect day, week, month, and annual cycle (your perfect lifestyle), as YOU define it. Think King or Queen for a day (for life).”
Cue 4: Your Perfect Job
Write your vision statement for your perfect job. “Describe your perfect work day, week, month, and annual cycle (your perfect work life), as YOU define it. Think I’m the Boss, I love my job, I do what I want, and I make all the money I want.” This is you, standing in the future, working in the job you love.
Cue 5: Your Perfect Product
- Describe in detail who would buy the product, who would use it, and who would pay for it.
- Where would the product be sold?
- Where would it be used?
- What would it look like?
- What resources (people and things) would be required to design it, manufacture it, distribute it, operate it, support it, and maintain it?
Cue 6: Your Perfect Business
Write your vision statement for your perfect business. “Describe your perfect business operating model, business cycle, processes, employees, customers, marketing, manufacturing, operations, service delivery, and support models. Describe the typical customer’s work day, week, month, and annual cycle, as THEY define it. Think I’m the Boss, I love my job, I do what I want, my customers are thrilled, and I make all the money I want.”
Examples Vision Statements
- Personal vision statements
- Non-profit vision statements (after much revision and editing)
- Corporate vision statements (after much revision and editing)
For more information
- Visualization: Steal This Running Legend’s Mental Strategies for Success, Lindsey Emery
- Visualization: Mental imagery improves performance
- Free writing
- Get unstuck: How to stop screwing yourself over | Mel Robbins | TEDxSF
- A twist on 3 Word Product Name: Steal This Running Legend’s Mental Strategies for Success, Lindsey Emery
- How to write a good personal vision statement
- How to write good organizational vision statements
- Peter Drucker’s Virtuous Firm Vs. ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’
Gloria Steinem: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Gloria Steinem, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71556981
Simone de Beauvoir: By Moshe Milner – Crop of File:Flickr – Government Press Office (GPO) – Jean Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir welcomed by Avraham Shlonsky and Leah Goldberg.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Also published on Medium.