When you start talking about vision statements, the majority of people tend to think that those are for businesses, churches or other organizations. The question of why does a person need to have a vision statement seems to creep into the conversation. I want to spend very brief book real estate in answering that question. Several groups of people pop into mind when thinking about that question. Perhaps you are someone who is getting into mid-life like myself (I’ll be 53 this year) or maybe you are even further down the road. Personally, I want to finish well in the last season of life, which I hope is another thirty years! In order to do that I will need to answer questions like, “Where will I focus my time, energy and money? Or most importantly, “Who will I focus my time, experiences, money, and life on?”
It could be that you are young and just getting out of college or have already started a career and family. You need to answer the question, “What am I going to do with my life that matters?” You will need a vision that will move you forward to whatever answer you come up with to that question. The reality is, regardless of age, gender, race, or income, we all need to have a vision and can have a vision that will be life changing!
The Components Of A Vision Statement
I believe there are five components of a vision statement that need to be used in this process. Just to let you know that this is a step toward the finished statement and is not the finished statement. It may be long at first, but you will continue to refine it and shorten it in order to communicate it.
These five components will focus on:
Who is the vision statement is about? Is this a personal vision statement, one for a church or other NPO, or for a business? Answers the “whom” of the vision that has been called out.
What is the vision? What is it you feel led to accomplish? This is the dreaming stage or the “what if” of vision. What if you were able to do what it is you feel called or compelled to do? This might be the lengthy part, so do not feel you need to try to cram everything into one sentence, at least not now. When you are writing, always keep in the back of your mind where you are now and where you want to be – THIS IS KEY! Answers how will the vision be fleshed out?
How will you know you have accomplished the vision? Again, the vision will be words on paper until it is happening and has been or is in the process of being fulfilled. Answers what does the vision look like in action? How will the vision be lived out?
The Five Action Step Components:
Write Out Your Life Experiences.
What have you experienced in your family, your work, your education, and your relationships. These experiences will also include your failures and your successes.
Define Your Passion And Calling
How has God crafted you in the areas of personality, abilities, and spiritual gifts? You will want to identify areas of your life you see God working. What have you done or are doing that get the “juices” flowing that puts you in your sweet spot.
List At Least Five Core Life Values
You will lean on the core values that you have built into your reputation, character, and your most importantly, your life. These areas could include things such as honesty, hard work, family, spiritual health, physical health, recreation, and the list is endless. What is that you value and you build your life around?
Identify What Motivates Me.
There are reasons you do what you do and you need to put them down on paper for the sole purpose of checking your heart. Are your motives driven by money, acceptance, or fame? We must identify “why” of your drive and make sure it aligns with God’s Word and purpose for our life.
Make It Fifty Word or Less
The shorter your vision statement, the easier it will be to remember and to communicate. It should encapsulate the four previous components.
This is where you start writing. Writing down these components on paper and re-writing them several times until it captures exactly what you feel in your heart that you are called to do. This is not a finished or polished product. It is raw and it is you!
I have had the responsibility to draft, edit, and approve many vision statements for companies I have worked for in the marketplace and probably double that in the ministry world. As I was writing this, I began to ask myself several questions such as, “What makes a great vision statement great?” “Does it make sense?” “Does it communicate my heartbeat (if personal) or does it communicated the heartbeat of the organization?”