Creating a vision is big part of turning your passion into profits. It can be scary, difficult, and time-consuming to follow your dreams. A compelling vision motivates and drives – and the best part is, when it becomes true – your dream is a reality!
Creating a vision for you and your business
I learned the word “vision” through business – I learned that every company needs to have a vision and mission statement, otherwise business owners and employees will not know where the company is going and what they should be doing to get there. But creating a personal vision or mission statement was alien to me.
The first time I heard it mentioned for personal use was in Dale Carnegie training 10 years ago. The very first assignment in the 12 week course was to create a vision for the next 6 months – basically envisioning your life after 6 months. I wrote down a vision in one go – without over-thinking it – and 8 months later almost everything had become true. I was blown away how powerful creating a vision is and how we can design our lives by manifesting (fancy word for “to show clearly”) what we want. I wrote a blog post about my experience – New Year, New Life – a personal story.
The second time I saw vision being used on a personal level was when I read the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. He talks about a personal mission statement and has even created an online tool to help you make one. I tried the tool a few time but can’t say that it was truly helpful for me but maybe it works for you (Mission Statement Generator). There are numerous ways to create a vision and one way is just to sit down and imagine your life at a certain date in the future and just start to write – without over-thinking. If the words don’t flow then there are other more guided methods for creating a vision.
Creating a vision that shapes your whole life
Long before I knew the meaning of the word vision, I was creating compelling and aspiring visions with my imagination as a child. My first childhood thoughts of visions were when I was imagining becoming an author at six, teacher at 8 and by the time I was eleven I imagined becoming an architect.
The summer after I traveled with my family to South Germany where we spent our holiday in the Black Forest and visiting cities like Freiburg (im Breisgau). I clearly remember, like it was yesterday, standing outside our hotel in Freiburg looking at the water fountains and the hills in the background when I decided that this was where I was going to study architecture.
8 years later I was standing at that same square after moving from Iceland to Germany to start my studies. It was not possible to study architecture in Freiburg but I spent a whole year there learning German before I moved to another German city, just north of the Black Forest.
I don’t recall making any other visions between the age of 11 and 29. I had a clear vision – I wanted to become an architect and I planned to study in South Germany. Having this vision helped me make decisions what gymnasium to go to, what language (German!) to learn and to prepare myself and my family and boyfriend for the fact that I was going to leave Iceland right after graduation and spend many years in another country. I remember it was a difficult phase for me and my boyfriend who didn’t want to come with me to Germany and for a while I considered studying something else and staying in Iceland. But my vision wouldn’t leave me alone, so I took a difficult decision at the age of 20 to go alone. I have never had any regrets that this was the right decision for me but it did change my life.
What happens when you don’t have a vision
After I finished my architecture studies I switched gears and went into computer science. I did not have a vision on what was going to happen next or where I was heading so I just made one decision after the other. My plan was to stay in Germany and work there for a few years but after losing both my grandmothers during my studies I had the urge to go back to Iceland. Back at home I also wasn’t clear on what I wanted for my life except that from time to time I thought about having my own business like my parents. Becoming a CEO of a software company just 4 years after I finished my studies made that possibility seem more realistic but I still did not have a vision and no plan of making this distant dream a reality.
What happens when you have a vision
I was taking classes at the university while working full-time and one of the assignments – just when I had been a CEO for 9 months – was to envision your career after 5 years. This was the first time I had to write down what I wanted for my professional life. I did not create a compelling vision but I just imagined running a bigger IT company and growing as a manager. Only 2 months later I was offered to run one of the larger IT companies in Iceland at the time. Because I had created a vision I knew how to respond to that offer. I said yes.
Why create a vision
When you create a vision you are designing your life, privately and professionally. Having a vision helps you make decisions. It helps you say yes, when an opportunity fitting your vision arrives and it helps you to say no, when the offer does not bring you closer to your vision. This is not about being an egoist and only doing what suits you. This is about designing the life you want to live and making the right choices for you.
If you don’t have a vision you also don’t know where you are going, privately or professionally. You might end up somewhere where you don’t want to be. This is like going on a road trip without access to a map, yes it can be fun, but in the end you will be lost and might not find your way back home. People without a vision can live a happy life, no doubt, but they could become even happier living a life with a vision.
Do you want to leave it up to someone else’s vision how your life develops or do you want to actively decide what is going to happen in your life? It is your choice.