Writing Your Vision

What is vision?

Last week we talked about knowing your why, the principles behind why you do what you do. What's the difference between your why and your vision?

When you think why, you should think motivation. When you think vision, you should think end goals.

Your vision is your picture of what success looks like. It's finishing your 5k in under twenty minutes. It's managing an organization that is able to effectively serve a community. It's landing your dream job.

Your why is the driver behind the what, but vision IS the "what."

Here's the thing about success, it requires habits. Good habits. It requires us to do the simple tasks day in and day out to build, grow, and advance. Without habit, we begin to stop working toward our goals. 

Habits are formed because our brain perceives a reward to be had. It is very difficult to form habits without the incentive of a reward. The science of habit is a whole other blog post, but if you are interested in learning more about it, check out this great book. In essence, the thought of reward can trigger a cue which leads to an action, on and on in one big cycle.

Since success requires habit, and habit requires reward, then success is dependent on reward as well. But obviously, when it comes to long term dreams and goals, you can't get the reward before the success comes, which can make habit formation difficult. 

Because of this, we visualize our rewards. When we have to perform countless tedious tasks, vision can fill the place of reward. It's not easy, but it's necessary. In a way, you give up what you want now, comfortability, for what you want most, success.

So how do you form your vision? Take a minute to write down some things about what you want to achieve and how it will feel. Visualize the reward.

It's more than just the thing you're working toward. It's the way achieving your goal might feel, the particulars of how you will carry out your tasks, the type of people that are going to help you achieve the goal.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you write your vision.

1. Vision uses the present tense

As you write the statement, you should pretend you are have already achieved your goal.

It is not "I will be a 5 star chef."

It is, "I am a 5 star chef."

2. Vision is specific

It includes a timeline. It's detailed. It avoids vague language.

It is not, "I am successfully running my own business." 

It is"In two years I am running my own coffee shop with the highest quality products, a productive and team-oriented staff, and a growing profit margin."

3. Vision is concise

It shouldn't be more than one or two sentences. You want to be detailed, but don't add what isn't necessary. Precise vision helps you keep focused on exactly what you want.

4. Vision is ambitious but achievable

As with goal setting, you want to be ambitious. Give yourself something to reach for. However, be realistic. You should be able to attain your vision with hard work, it's not just a pipe dream.

There are many tools important for our journey toward success. Vision is an invaluable one. With it you can continue in the hard groundwork when reward isn't yet present. With it you can dream big.

But don't just imagine your vision, write it down. Put it somewhere you can see it regularly. Remind yourself daily and watch as the vision becomes reality.