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February 8th, 2010

As the first month of the first year of the new decade drew to a close it wasn’t just my clients thinking about “what’s next”.   Perhaps because I am celebrating eight years in business this month – wow, really, EIGHT?! – I’ve found myself drawn to every possible reflective, strategizing and planning exercise I could get my hands on.  While I’m still digging, pondering and reflecting I suddenly feel amazingly clear, focused and reenergized, I believe thanks to my newly-redefined and committed-to Vision Statement.  I can’t tell you how magical it is to have the vision that’s been moving and motivating me all these years articulated on paper:

“A world filled with communities that embrace entrepreneurship, collaboration and a spirit of giving.”

It’s amazing how exhilarating a simple declaration of your vision and intentions can be!  Here’s how you can begin crafting your Vision Statement…

So what is a Vision Statement and why do companies (and individuals) choose to creating one?  I think of a Vision Statement as the True North of a business (and the people leading it).  It tells everyone – internally and externally – the purpose of your BEING.  It’s supposed to be simple, inspiring and timeless.  Each time you read it, you should get shivers / goose bumps / energetic jolt that says “YES, that’s it! This is why we exist!”  It’s what we live for, are committed to and will measure all our actions and decisions against.   So if someone calls you and says “Hey, would you please help us with strategic planning?” and that someone is Phillips Morris, in my case I’d have to politely decline because this company’s core reason for existing does not align with mine.  See how it can be the True North of decision making?

Now let’s go ahead and begin crafting your Vision Statement by filling in some blanks:

  • If I / my company were to fully succeed, the impact on my customers / world / community would be _____________.
  • If I were to impact one person’s life, this would be the impact________________.
  • I want my children to live in a world that is ___________________.
  • If my business were to alleviate a dire problem, what would be the impact of this problem disappearing on the world / community / my customers ____________.

See any patterns?  Great, you’re either there or on the right track.  Just keep playing with the words and have your working statement near you so when new ideas strike, you can record them right away.  If you don’t come up with an immediate IT answer, just keep the question close by and trust Rilke “Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along into the answers.”  I just had to sneak one of my favorite quotes in there! :)

Oh, one other question often comes up and I wanted to address it before I let you go… what is the difference between a Vision and a Mission Statement?  I think of a mission as the “How” to the vision’s “What / Why”.  Let’s take the YES!Circle mission statement for example,  “To create a positive, supportive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive professionally and personally by connecting them with like-minded people, educational resources and business opportunities.”  Does it seem to connect with my Vision Statement “A world filled with communities that embrace entrepreneurship, collaboration and a spirit of giving?”  Right!  What’s interesting is that this mission was articulated almost 8 years ago when YES!Circle was first conceived.  My “official” Vision Statement didn’t come along for years later!

And, if I look at every other professional or philanthropic venture I’ve endeavored in the last eight years, I see that they ALL fall right in line with my vision.  What’s neat is that I now feel even more clear and prepared to pursue my Vision with intention, purpose and commitment because it’s tangible, it’s written down!  Gosh, now I remember why this is the first thing I guide my clients to do!

If you’d like more help with your Visioning and Planning for 2010 (and beyond), I’d be thrilled to share with you some of the tools I use with clients.  Just email me and I’ll forward you more food for thought, reflection and transformation!

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