Is there a more confused (or confusing) subject than creating a personal vision statement? Okay, leadership is about "vision", and obviously there's nothing wrong about creating a vision for your life and your business.
Is it really all about mindset?
Really? Some of the mindset "gurus" would have you believe that the simple act of writing your personal vision down is almost as good as making it happen.
So how do we create a vision statement that works? One that takes reality into account, and puts us into action mode, while holding us accountable for producing results? Aren't results the object of any plan of action?
Where do we start? At the beginning of course; with the brutal facts.
To make better decisions and to avoid making the same mistakes over and over we must get real with ourselves and assess the reality of our lives and businesses. As Robert Greene writes in his book The 48 Laws of power: "You begin by examining the mistakes you made in the past, the ones that most grievously held you back."
Clear thinking about your vision for the future is rooted in your ability to think clearly about the past.
But at the heart of many books and training courses identifies the "dream" itself as the key to making it come true. That's B.S!
Clear thinking about the past plus a clear assessment of the present determines your ability to accurately visualize the future. It is part and parcel to all achievement. Anyone who tells you different does not have your best interests in mind
Most visions for the future focus on the end results, but forget the necessary steps that must be taken to achieve it. A good vision statement never forgets the barriers to success and gives ideas on how to mitigate them.
These barriers actually benefit you, because they keep you honest and focused on the task at hand. The key to making your vision a reality is constant small improvements (like the Japanese idea of Kaizen), improvements not only to yourself but improvements to your vision statement as well.
Have You Spied the #1 Enemy To A Powerful Vision?
It is a silent killer to thousands of could-be visions, do you know what it is?
Too many choices kills your vision. . .
If there is one serious danger lurking in the future in the back of people's minds who dream of achieving great things both professionally and personally, it is not a lack of choices, it is too many choices.
Jim Collins made it clear in his book Good To Great: the most enduring and best performing companies decided, in no uncertain terms, by asking themselves these questions:
For you, understanding these three factors at a core level, and being able to visualize the shared space in the middle Collins calls "The Hedgehog Concept".
The best businesses confront the brutal facts through disciplined thought, then they root their personal vision statement on the amalgamation of these factors.
You can do the same.
This process takes disciplined thought, something you might feel you lack. At first everyone feels this type of resistance, but you must identify this: Resistance. "Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why we shouldn't do our work," says Steven Pressfield.
Once you have the three factors in place making decisions about your personal vision statement becomes 100% simpler. It makes the answers self-evident because if they don't fit into your "Hedgehog Concept" they don't belong.
Many books and trainings ask you to write a personal vision statement; they encourage you to do so with flowery language and possession of the always elusive "positive attitude."
Why? Because flowery language and attitude sells easier than reality. To improve your results you must develop the skills that produce better results. Success produced any other way is pure dumb luck.
A positive attitude still counts (as long as you have your bases covered)
I'm not suggesting a positive attitude is worthless, far from it. Positively helps you stay focused and accountable on your vision and goals. Stay positive while in possession of a clear sense of reality.
Understanding your position in the world helps you make rational good decisions. Which means avoiding delusions at all costs. For many people living their life under an illusion this process can be painful, and many people avoid pain (even when it's good for you).
In the short term, avoiding pain causes long term destruction. Those brave souls who develop their personal vision statement without the possession of a clear sense of reality, will find more obstacles then ways to mitigate them.
The better understanding you have of your position, the better grounded you'll be and the better results you'll attain in the future.
Failure is not the falling down, it’s the not getting back up!”
and that really sums up what business, and especially being an entrepreneur, is all about.
Having the confidence and self-belief to stick at it; as some people would see it, being pig-headed and stubborn about making your business work, is crucial to its success.
So – expanding on from that thought – do you think about what you could do? See the opportunities as they arise? Or do you say “that’s impossible – I can’t do that!”
Have you heard the phrase “You cannot conceive what you cannot achieve“? As a psychotherapist once explained to me, “You cannot dream of achievement without having the inherent ability to do it.”
Isn’t that a liberating thought?
Yes, we may have to study and work hard to reach that goal, but it’s not impossible for us because we came up with the idea in the first place.
(Having said that, there may be some practical restrictions – I don’t think dreaming of flying without a means of doing so – as in para-gliding – is counted as a possibility).
Keep your eyes open for the chances that are out there for you and your business and eliminate the negative thoughts that turn those golden opportunities into impossibilities.
Become a ‘possibility thinker’.
Just how positive are you about your success or failure – in life or business? Have you noticed the way people think seems to support the outcome they experience? These questions support your personal vision statement.
So tell me, are you a ‘the glass is half-full’ or ‘the glass is half-empty’ type of person? And does it really matter?
For many years experts encouraged us to ‘think positively’ in order to be successful. But some people find that far more difficult to do than others. And thinking about it, you realize that the worriers in this world; the people who get stressed; the people who agonise over what’s happening when things don’t go quite to plan are often those who have a ‘glass half-empty’ approach.
This article give a very interesting – and quite different view – of positive thinking. In fact it started off by saying ‘Positive Thinking Does Not Work‘.
The author went on to say:
“The problem with positive thinking or affirmations is that they operate at the surface level of conscious thinking and do nothing to contend with the subconscious mind where limiting beliefs really live.”
You maybe one of those positive, ‘glass half-full’ people and this may seemed to be heresy!
But when developing your personal vision statement keep open minded. Hopefully after reading the remainder of the article you'll conclude it not only makes sense, it is also explains why anyone who has tried positive thinking may end with disappointing result. It certainly helps to understand why positive thinking doesn’t work for some people.
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