One of my favorite quotes comes from a song by the talented musician George Harrison. The song is ‘Any Road” and the line goes: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” How true!
Some of my favorite work with coaching clients is personal visioning. I find that many clients are keenly aware of the importance of organizational visioning, but interestingly enough, they have never given much thought to a personal vision. Many know that to create a company vision you challenge stakeholders to think about the organization of the future. Where does the organization want to be in 5 years? What is its best possible future? Many a company retreat or leadership off site meeting have been dedicated to engineering such a vision. Yet when I ask clients if they have gone through a personal exercise around their own vision I get the proverbial “blank stare.”
My own recipe for a personal vision includes the following three components:
1) Definition of purpose
2) Personal values
3) Personal strengths.
Like any recipe, each of these ingredients alone is important, but not until blended do theymake adelicious dish!
Definition of purpose is really why you think you are here. Sometimes we can think of this metaphorically. The formula might look like this: I am the (what) that impacts the (what). An example would be “I am the lighthouse that leads others to their purpose.” Or “I am the rock that others can count on.” Whether you think of it metaphorically or not, your purpose is why you exist or why you are here.
Personal values are the things you believe in deeply. Most of us just know this intuitively. Are we a person who values getting results above all else, or are we someone who most values deeply connecting with others? Values are things like honestly, results, family, spirituality, creativity, resourcefulness, etc. They are all good, but we all have some things that are more important to us than others. The best way to determine values is to assess how you spend your time and what you pay most attention to.
Strengths are the things you are naturally good at. Not what you want to be good at, but what you are good at. How do you best determine this? Usually we gravitate to the kind of work, hobbies, or activities that play to our strengths. Or, you can simply ask your spouse, significant other, co-worker, or friend what you are good at?
After you assemble these ingredients, you are ready to build your secret sauce: Your vision! Try creating a vision board. A vision board is a visual representation of your purpose, values, and strengths. It gives you something to aspire to. HOW will you live your values and purpose, and also build on your strengths in the future? Steps:
1) Use a Power Point or graphics program to select and display photos that represent your purpose, values, and strengths
2) Include a few captions about why the photo is meaningful
3) Post your vision board somewhere you will see it everyday
4) Share your vision board with others and tell them who you are aspiring to be.