Vision is a gift to look into the future with a creative clarity and belief that what isn’t will one day become. Vision comes in many forms and manners. Vision is larger, much larger, than a goal. According to The Book of Proverbs, vision is what prevents us from perishing. Vision is personal, yet it can be shared and engage a group to greater heights.
Vision is the second of four key strategic concepts for better leading one’s life, family, and/or organization. In context and order, here are these what I call “deep strategy” concepts: Purpose, Vision, Mission, and Values.
If you’re asking about vision, then you are likely in the midst of seeking a deeper understanding or clarity related to direction. Vision answers one of The Great Questions: Where am I going?
What is a vision, really? If you’re confused as you read books or surf the web, then you’ll only be more confused. Sadly, there is no standard accepted definition for vision or its related strategic concepts of purpose and mission. We’re doing life and business in a Tower of Babel world. Our language is confused around these vital concepts. By casually co-mingling and using them synonymously, all of society pays the price for the confusion and poor communication.
Businesses are big about stating their visions. Many a business person will tout their vision with flare and enthusiasm. Bravo Business Person! But wait, there’s more. Vision without purpose is just a costly distraction. Vision without missions and plans is just wishful thinking. Purpose, vision, and missions need values to govern them toward the common good.
In the absence of standards, for over three decades, I’ve led the charge to fill the void by offering a standard in The On-Purpose Person and The On-Purpose Business Person. Meet The On-Purpose Pal—a cartoonish character who provides a simple sense of how purpose, vision, mission, and values are different, yet connected.
There’s much to learn about purpose, vision, mission, and values. This post isn’t the forum, but let me give you one way to better understand what you’re wanting to know. Answer the following “Who am I?” questions and you’re on the road to what you’re really after—a life of meaning and purpose with a clear identity, direction, plan mixed with strong confidence, and hope for the future.
- Purpose: Why am I here?
- Vision: Where am I going?
- Mission: How will I get there?
- Values: What’s important along the way?
Answered these questions? You’re well on your way to being an on-purpose person in creation.
Story: Trusting One’s Vision
Vision can be cooped up inside us longing to escape if we will just dare to express it to the world. Years ago one of our certified On-Purpose® Professional Coaches was working with a woman who shared a vision for an inner city orchestra. At the time the client was a single mom working two jobs and caring for her two children. Dreaming was a luxury this single mom believed was ill-afforded to her. With some gentle prodding by my associate, the client risked putting words to paper. Her vision began to take form. Cautiously, she began to share her vision.
Remarkable events unfolded within three weeks. At church one Sunday, a local high school principal approached her with this statement: “I heard you are gifted with teaching music.”
“Yes,” was her simple response.
The principal continued, “Over the summer, my high school received funding for an entire orchestra. I have stands, instruments, sheet music, and an acoustically designed studio. But guess what I don’t have? Someone to develop and lead the students. Would you be interested in the position?”
The rest of the story is one that ends happily.
So, what is your vision? Are you prepared to allow the world to conspire for your benefit? Share your vision in the comments section. Who knows what might happen if you do.
Tip: The On-Purpose Poster provides a more in-depth description in a four color 11″ x 17″ format suitable for framing. At checkout, let us know if you want your poster personalized and signed.