Use a Vision Statement to Easily Find Purpose

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 lose control of your results

“The big question: what are we going to do for humanity? Serving others is the essence of leading at a higher level.”

–Ken Blanchard

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):

Get Comfortable

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).
Create a comfortable environment. Apple devices photo from pixabay.com via pixels.com
Create a comfortable environment and write

Do This

Write for 10 minutes each, on the writing cues below. Follow these guidelines.

Free Write
  • 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.
Visualize
  • 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 smartphone, 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”, linked below.)
  • 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 about 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
  • 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.
Lori rejoices after a small victory.
Have fun!

Cues

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. Later, expand this into a Bucket List.

Cue 3: Your Purpose in 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).” 

Now, think of a three-word (or fewer) brand promise for the difference you make, (such as, “World That Works” or “No More Toil” or “Everyone Gets Along” (but don’t get stuck on this goal — just consider it for a moment — you will improve it over time until you find the perfect label).

Cue 4: Your Perfect Job

Write your vision statement to clearly define your purpose for your perfect job.

“Describe your perfect workday, 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.

Next, think of a three-word (or fewer) brand promise for the services or products you offer, (such as, “I paint houses” or “the ultimate analyst” or “writes cool code” (but don’t get stuck on this goal — just consider it for a moment — you will improve it over time until you find the perfect label).

Cue 5: Your Perfect Product

Write your vision statement to clearly define your purpose for your perfect product. Describe the result of a product you’d like to create, and the positive difference it will make in the world. Describe the world that will result as it is impacted by this product.   

Again, think of a three-word (or fewer) brand promise, (for example, “finally thin forever” or “ultimate driving machine” or “strategic defense initiative” (but don’t get stuck on this goal — just consider it — you will perfect it over time).

  • 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 Career or 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 workday, 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.” 

One more time, think of a three-word (or fewer) brand promise for the core processes, services, or products delivered by the company, (such as, “we paint anything” or “high performance, delivered” or “the document company” (but don’t get stuck on this goal — just consider it for a moment).

Example Vision Statements

Review and Reinforce what You Learned

Answer these questions in writing, for the greatest benefit (download a printable form here):

  1. What did you learn in writing these that you didn’t know before?
  2. What did you learn in writing these that surprised you, or that you weren’t 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 PowerBoard, notebook, drive).

Next, click here and write rules that support the life you really want

For More Information

Photo Credits

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Hi, I’m Dylan Cornelius. I’ve spent my career helping Fortune 500 companies build custom products and change the lives of their employees and customers. Now I teach business owners how to manage change like best businesses. Get great results, and change your life with product development, continuous improvement, and agile management practices. Not only does it help at work, it works for self development, life problems, fitness plans, and chronic illness. In graduate school, I concentrated in “Management of Innovation” — after all, I worked in Silicon Valley, and I’d grown up just down the road! It was there I learned we don’t have to work so hard! We don’t have to rely on trial and error or hope, we don’t have to settle for less than we really want, and, most of all, we deserve to have advantages just like the big companies. There’s a better way to get great results and change your life. Let me show you how to manage change like the best businesses. Get great results and change your life with product development, continuous improvement, and agile management practices.

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