Your vision is where you want to be and what you want to achieve in life. Your goals offer a roadmap to your vision. If you don’t clearly envision your end destination, you cannot make your roadmap. Setting a vision is the most effective strategy for setting goals because it gives your goals a direction.
Visioning is one of the most powerful tools I’ve witnessed. I’ve seen it help many individuals and organizations get the results they want. People become more creative and innovative when they open up their thinking and look at their goals from a different perspective.
Differences between visions and goals
A goal is an individual accomplishment or experience you strive for. Goals are great because they are measurable strides in your life.
But too many people go around setting goals without having a higher purpose. If there is no vision to support these goals, this can be defeating. Goals just tell us what to do; they don’t necessarily lead you where you want to be.
Examples of goals:
- To get out of debt
- To run your own business
- To work only 20 hours a week
- To save for a downpayment on a house
- To lose 10 pounds.
Your life vision is what you want in your future and what you believe in (your core values). It’s your overarching purpose; the most powerful reason why you want to do something. It keeps you excited and motivated.
Examples of visions that match the goals from above:
- To be free from financial burden and be an example to my children.
- To help people solve a specific problem they have in their life.
- To live a flexible and well-balanced life.
- To provide a happy, loving home for my family.
- To live a healthy life.
Your vision may be very specific when it comes to your business, career, or financial goals. It may be broader when it comes to your life and relationships.
Until you figure out what you want out of your personal life, you won’t truly know what you want out of your professional life or your business. You can better align your business life with your personal aspirations by setting a vision for your life.
How to create your own vision
Figure out what you want
The question, “What do you want?” is deceptively simple. Answering this question is difficult, but you can start creating your vision by allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires.
The answer to this question doesn’t have to be “ending world hunger” or “finding the cure to cancer.” You don’t need to get too esoteric. Consider the things that make your own life important and meaningful.
To figure out what you want, it is important to assess what you currently do, what you love to do, and what you need to change to live a more purposeful life.
You can find your purpose and create your life’s vision by answering questions like:
- What has made you truly proud of yourself?
- If you had just a few days to live, how would you spend them?
- If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
- What “shoulds” have replaced your “wants”?
- What makes you feel really energized?
- When have you been the happiest in your life?
The answers to these questions can help you figure out what you truly want in your life, and not what you “should” want.
For your vision to be a great motivator, it needs to be something more tangible than being “famous” or “rich.” It should be so sharp and clear that you can see the smallest details. You need to kindle your imagination in order to create your vision. Try to envision your ideal life, without barriers.
Picture yourself 10, 20, or 30 years from now. Visualize exactly where you are in regard to these areas of your life:
- Where are you living?
- What does your home look like?
- How much do you make annually?
- What does your work life look like?
- Do you have your own company? What did you achieve with it?
- What was your biggest professional success?
- Who are you working with?
- What does your office look like? Do you work from home?
- How do you care for yourself?
- How do you stay fit?
- What are you eating?
- What kind of people are in your life?
- What is your relationship with your family like?
- What is your social life like?
- Are you a part of any community? What is your role there?
- How have you improved as a person?
- What skills have you acquired?
- What strengths have you gained?
- How are you nourishing your mind and soul?
As you are figuring out the answers to these questions, write them down. Then, use them to write a description of what your ideal life looks like. You will use it as a basis for creating goals for each area.
Keeping your vision alive
Visualization is a mental practice that can get you closer to where you want to be in life. It is a great technique when it comes to motivating yourself. Research has shown that thoughts can produce the same mental instructions as actions.
Athletes have been using such mental practices to enhance their performance, and you can use them to achieve your best life. Visualization allows your mind to train for the real thing.
Practice “seeing” your vision in your mind’s eye until it’s perfectly clear. For instance, a golfer can train muscle memory by visualizing the perfect stroke over and over again.
You can externalize your vision by creating a vision board. Simply take words, images, and quotes that inspire emotions in you as well as represent your ideal future, and place them on your board.
Nothing will magically come into existence if you look at your vision board; It will serve as a motivator as well as a physical reminder of your vision.
Try to anticipate the emotions you will feel when you achieve one of your dreams.
Bringing your vision to life
The aforementioned steps are great motivators, but verbalization is key to actualization.
One way to map out your vision is to talk it out with a family member, friend, or mentor. You will create a layer of accountability by sharing your vision with other people. And don’t hesitate to ask for advice or help if you think you could use it. Even CEOs need some guidance.
You can go one step further and get a life coach or business coach who will hold you accountable to your vision and your long term goals.
Of course, this is just one thing that a life coach can do for you. To bring you closer to your vision, your coach can help you craft a personal development plan as well as a professional development plan. A personal development plan will keep you from becoming complacent or inactive.
Once you figure out what is important to you and where you want to go, it’s time to pinpoint your focus.
The GROW method is one of the most popular methods for setting goals. You can apply it both to your business and on a personal level. It is simple and easy to follow, so many business coaches like to use it. The acronym stands for:
- Obstacles (or options)
- Way forward (or will)
Goal: The key here is to be very specific. For instance, “I want to travel more” is too vague. “I want to visit every country in Europe before I turn 50” is much better.
Reality: How far are you from your goal? What are the current issues and challenges?
Obstacles: What is stopping you from achieving your goal?
Options: Your options are the ways you can deal with your obstacles.
Way Forward: The process of converting your options into action steps that will take you to your goal.
You can also use the SMART format to set your goals. It stands for:
Specific: Again, the more specific you are, the better.
Measurable: So that you will know you’ve hit your mark, you need to have metrics in place.
Achievable: Do you have the resources or capabilities to achieve your goal?
Relevant: Define what matters in your personal life and your business. For instance, offering online courses may not be relevant to your plan if you are not an educator.
Time-Bound: It’s easy to put your goals on the back burner if you don’t create deadlines.
We also have BHAG’s (Big, Hairy Audacious Goals). While BHAG is a popular term in the business world, it’s not just for big businesses.
A BHAG can pull you out of short-term thinking and give you more excitement in your personal or professional life. Whether it’s a goal for your business or a personal goal, it has to be personalized to fit your unique vision.
Your vision needs to come from your heart. You need to give yourself the freedom to dream in order to create a vision that’s compelling and exciting. A big and clear vision can energize your life and feed your goals.