It is more than two decades since I first read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and was prompted to write a personal mission statement. My understanding of what drives me, of what is most important to me, has evolved over this time. My life has passed through different stages. I’ve had many experiences to draw upon and learn from. I’ve gained insight into myself and how I interact with others and the world around me.
I now call it a ‘vision statement.’ It’s less about a goal and more about how I choose to live my life – and why. Regardless of the label I’ve given this document, I’ve used it to ground my actions and decisions as best as I could over the years. It embodies my values and choices that I believe set the foundation for a more meaningful, happier life for me. It is my personal north star. I have several copies either on display or tucked into books or a convenient draw for reference.
I review and update this statement at least annually. I fine-tune the words to keep it resonant with shifts in my self-understanding and aspirations. Occasionally I modify the format. The structure has become simpler over time. I have reduced the number of categories that I use to five, each representing an aspect of my life that is important. These categories have replaced the list of roles I previously used as my lens based on Covey’s guidance. For each category I have two short paragraphs. The first describes the principles I want to apply. The second states why this is important to me. I adopted the second paragraph after a friend showed me the structure he uses. Being clear on ‘why’ my vision in each area is important to me increases my motivation to follow the principles I’ve laid out. It is also a good litmus test of whether the principles. I ask whether I really believe that if I followed these principles they will fulfil their stated purpose (they ‘why’ in the second paragraph).
My Business vision is the only category that I did not change in the refresh I completed this week. I’ve done a lot on my spiritual growth and emotional management in 2020 with the support of a mentor. This has shifted my appreciation of the impact of my choices and habits. It’s also supported me to experiment with small changes to daily self-management and identify practices that lead to better outcomes for me. I see a softening in my language, particularly in my ‘why’ statements. This reflects a little lightening and loosening in how I manage my time, focus and energy. I’m a little less intense and kinder to myself.
I created a new format for my statement, using it as a project to improve my Canva skills. I chose a pastel template with flowing, organic lines.
I’m confident that having a personal vision statement has helped me navigate some of the more challenging periods of my life . I am pleased with my personal growth in 2020, and excited to see what 2021 holds.
Source of images on vision board: Canva