How to Develop a Personal Vision Statement
Originally Published in Title Technology
By Mark Powers & Shawn McNalis
With the new year fast approaching, it is the perfect time to concentrate on the next year and where we see ourselves in it. This applies not only to our careers, but to our personal lives as well. Before you begin establishing a plan to make your practice more successful, it is important to understand why you want your practice to be more successful. You must create a larger context, a place to contain all of what you value, and shape it into a life worth living.
Many, if not most, of the struggles, challenges and triumphs in your daily life will take place in your career. But how do we ensure that our practice is serving our personal vision and not that we are serving our practice? One method of getting leverage on yourself is to create the context for your practice. We call this your ‘Personal Vision.’ Michael Gerber calls it your ‘Primary Aim’ and Stephen Covey calls it your ‘Personal Mission Statement.’ They are all the same. They provide a compass for your life. And without a compass, we are doomed to wander about until one day we look back and wonder what happened to our life. Where did it go?
So, how do you go about designing your life? First of all, think back to dreams and aspirations you may have held when you were younger. Check to see if you still value some of these childhood dreams. You may find you have already fulfilled some of them. Or you may discover that you live a life that is far afield from what you imagined early on.
Then allow yourself to imagine what you would do with your life if you had no restraints. Or better still, ask yourself what you would do if you only had a short time to live. How would you spend your time? What do you consider a life well-lived? These extreme perspectives help to reduce your considerations and point you toward what is important to you.
Developing Your Personal Vision
The following exercises will help you develop your personal vision and a vision for your practice when it is complete. Be sure to address as many of the personal and professional domains as apply to you.
Read through the opening phrases and the suggested options that accompany them in parentheses. With the statements that apply to you and your lifestyle, either complete the sentences using our suggestions or, if they are not close enough to describe your vision, simply create your own. Whatever you do, it should be an accurate reflection of what you envision for yourself. Once you have assembled all of the pieces for your Personal Vision, you can rewrite it in a more flowing style or just use the language provided below assembled in paragraph style.
My personal life/lifestyle
- In my family life I am committed to_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. (spending time with, enjoying, teaching, working with, taking care of, etc.)
- For recreation I enjoy ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________(reading, fine dining, skiing, martial arts, tennis, golf, etc).
- My home environment will be_____________________________________________________________________________________________________(nurturing, comfortable, a place for entertainment, on the water, spacious, equipped with a home office, etc.)
- My retirement home will be_______________________________________________________________________________________________________(a cabin in the mountains, a seaside condominium, a small, restored Victorian home, a large, spacious home designed to accommodate visiting grandchildren and guests, etc.)
- My (hobbies, passions, or interests) are______________________________________________________________________________________________(world travel, politics, reading, writing, sports, fine wines, etc.)
- I will maintain (or regain) my health by______________________________________________________________________________________________.
(exercising, eating healthy foods, lowering my stress level, getting adequate rest, etc.)
My professional life
- I will concentrate my practice in the areas of__________________________________________________________________________________________.
- My office environment will be_____________________________________________________________________________________________________. (spacious, comfortable, impressive, well organized, fully automated, designed with the client in mind, a showcase for my talents, etc.)
- My financial plans are to__________________________________________________________________________________________________________(earn a minimum of ___ per year, save enough to put my children through college, buy a new office building, leverage my investments to retire at age ___ with a yearly income of ___, allow for more travel, buy a retirement home on the lake, etc.)
- My business philosophy is one of ________________________________________________________________________________________________ (integrity, leadership and prosperity, dedication to serving my clients, providing superior quality legal service, providing service that exceeds the expectations of my clients, being known for my expertise in my field, being accessible to my clients, etc.)
Remember, this is not about how your vision will be accomplished, but an articulation of what your vision is. Allow yourself to create. Allow yourself to put pen to paper and actually write your life. It is a very powerful first step in achieving what you want.
You may choose to never show your Personal Vision to anyone, or you may involve your entire family. But, however you do it is fine, as long as you start the process and end up with something that inspires you every time you look at it.