How to create an inspiring vision and mission for your life’s work
If someone stopped you in the street and asked: “What’s your vision for your life’s work?”, what would you say?
A past version of me would have been absolutely stumped by that question; would have laughed. But when I started working as a brand strategist for entrepreneurs, everything changed.
I like to say that brand strategy was my gateway drug to the world of personal development. When I first started bringing industry frameworks like The Golden Circle from Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why into my workshops, I was deeply moved by the powerful clarity and transformative energy they provoked in my clients.
But after a while I found myself thinking: if these tools are so powerful for business, why on earth aren’t we using them in our lives as individuals? Why do we feel comfortable investing time and money to define visions and values for companies, yet most of us don’t know our own vision and values for life?
I want to change this. Starting with you.
Why have a vision?
We all have dreams and desires for our lives. But between dreams and desires and reality is vision.
Having a vision and mission for your life and/or business, no matter how small, can provide inspiration to fuel your greatest actions, and conviction to make it through even the toughest times.
So here is my framework for defining a Vision and a Mission for yourself, your life, and your future.
What’s a vision?
Your vision is your ultimate objective, your life’s work, the ‘why’ behind your actions and therefore – if you have one – your business. Your vision is what you believe the world needs more of. Your vision should make you proud, excited and a little bit scared.
In my view, your vision doesn’t need to be profound or grandiose, but it should be a good vision for everyone involved: you, your loved ones, your community, your collaborators, society-at-large and the environment.
Some people’s vision is so big, they will need to join up with many other like-minded people in their lifetime to make it happen.
Some people’s vision is small but personally impactful.
Some people know they have a big vision in them, but it’s not ready to come out yet. So they choose a modest one to start.
Here’s one thing a Vision is not: a competition.
What’s a mission?
A mission is what you’re doing right now on the journey towards your vision. Your mission will likely change over time, as you get more clarity on ‘how’ you can continue to move towards the vision. A mission keeps you grounded to what’s truly important in your life and work. Being clear on your mission prevents you from constantly chasing new, shiny objects and instead keeps you focused on reaching the vision.
Vision: The audacious long-term goal, your ‘life’s work’.
Mission: What you’re focusing on right now to move towards your vision.
How to uncover your own vision and mission
To uncover your own vision and mission, you must slow down and get quiet within yourself to be able to tap into that deeper voice of wisdom within you.
Do what you need to do to physically relax. Turn of your phone, meditate, do a calming ritual – whatever helps you to focus and be present.
Here are some thought starters to help you uncover your vision. Ask yourself…
- What are you doing when you truly come alive?
- What do you know that others don’t that will change their lives?
- What can you do that others can’t?
- What do you do that others don’t?
- Do you believe in a world in which (something you care deeply about) could be fairer, easier, cheaper, accepted, celebrated, adopted by all?
- If you are to leave your tiny corner of the universe a little bit better than you found it, what will you do?
Answer these questions, then go on a long walk and stew them over.
If you’re doing this for the first time, expect uncovering your vision to be a process. We often have to do a great deal of de-conditioning work to rid ourselves of thoughts, ideas of success and beliefs that are not our own. It can take time. But once the clouds part, at last, your own vision will shine as clear and bright as the North Star.
Examples of Vision and Mission statements
Here are my own Vision and Mission statements.
Vision: To contribute to a world in which ordinary people can reap extraordinary rewards when they live and work from a place of purpose, self-awareness and intention.
Mission: To help entrepreneurial spirits build a successful and sustainable business around their unique gifts, design a life they love, and work less to earn more.
Ultimately, knowing and believing in your own Vision and Mission gives you a clear purpose and direction in life. With clarity of vision, you break free from the impulse to rush through life, as many do, trying to please, impress or sell to anyone and everyone. All the while wondering, Am I doing it right?
With clarity of vision, you can make a bigger impact by connecting with those who believe what you believe, and serving those who need what you have.
It takes time, and I can’t promise your life or business will transform overnight. But when we know where we’re going, we’re much more likely to live life not just with purpose, but on purpose.
In the words of writer Jamie Varon, “Be so fiercely committed to the things you care about and the vision of the life you want that you don’t have the time, energy or need to compare yourself to other people.”
Want more tips on how to uncover what it is you truly want from life and re-design your business to help you get it? Sign up to my Success Strategy newsletter.