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Practice: Use these exercises to clarify your purpose
Have you ever been frustrated in your attempts to get what you want?
Do you want to know how great athletes and high achievers deliver THEIR best results?
When you really look, does it seem like you’re not even sure what you want?
Define your purpose clearly, or you don’t get much control over where you end up.
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.
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
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.
- This is an individual brainstorming activity, so “reality orientation” isn’t useful here (if you are interested, see more about this under “More Information” below). 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. (for another description of this activity, and more sample questions, see this article: The two-hour rule: taking time to think)
- 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 to clearly define your purpose 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 to clearly define your purpose 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 to clearly define your purpose 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 to clearly define your purpose 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.”
Example Vision Statements
- Personal vision statements
- Non-profit vision statements (after much revision and editing)
- Corporate vision statements (after much revision and editing)
Review and Reinforce what You Learned
Answer these questions in your mind, or in writing, for greatest benefit (download a printable form here):
- What did you learn in writing these that you did not know before?
- What did you learn in writing these that surprised you, or that you were not expecting?
Validate Your Results
You now have one or more statements, that will serve as a guide for your future practices (put these statements in your notebook or drive).
For More Information
- 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
- More About Vision Statements
- Peter Drucker’s Virtuous Firm Vs. ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’
- More About How this practice works
- More questions to evoke your passion and purpose: 7 STRANGE QUESTIONS THAT HELP YOU FIND YOUR LIFE PURPOSE
- Deeper Dives on finding and living your passion, from LiveYourLegend.net: