The Right QuestionsWhere (Situation and Vision)

What is a vision statement and why are they important?

Vision Statement - The Right Questions

Where are you going? How do you capture your vision statement and follow your dream?

What is a vision statement? A vision statement is the capturing of a dream. This is important as dreams can be powerful things if we choose to make them a reality. William Wilberforce had a dream of a world where people were not treated like possessions and his work ended the slave trade in the British Empire. Henry Ford had an impassioned idea of a motorcar that would be affordable for the average family and he designed the Model T Ford. Edmund Hillary dreamed of climbing the highest mountain on earth and he and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first men to stand on top of Everest.  Tim Berners-Lee dreamed of a way of sharing information between computers and he went on to invent the World Wide Web.

From dream to destination

When a vision stops being a daydream and instead becomes a destination it becomes a powerful thing; something tangible that we can work towards.  This idea of destination and vision is the next part of the ‘Where?’ in our questions.

“Begin with the end in mind” Steven Covey

vision statementA true vision or dream stirs the heart; whether it stems from desire for a particular future or from dissatisfaction with the present it should be evocative and engaging.  The vision paints the picture of a better future, it brings to life the dream of a new reality and creates a language that describes an alternative paradigm.

Our vision may be able to be expressed in various ways and may not even be completely clear at this stage.  Because of this breadth it becomes the framework, the bigger picture that contains all we are and all we are passionate about.

Developing clarity of vision

Don’t worry if you do not feel you have a clearly defined vision immediately; the degree of clarity varies between people and is also likely to change over time.  We do not all have a Damascus road experience or a Dr Martin Luther King speech to draw upon.  Our vision is much more likely to be something that develops with time, like a slowly developing Polaroid picture.

There is also a different clarity that comes with distance.  When we look out over a landscape the foreground is in sharper detail than the middle distance.  Often we can only make out the outline or silhouette of things in the far distance.  In the same way, we should expect to have more detail about the next steps we are taking than the end goal.  Even a visionary like Bill Gates could not imagine all the shapes and sizes of computers that are used in our homes.  So you too don’t need to have all the detail to be successful.

The visionary road

Working towards the dream is like being on a journey. If our destination is the top of a mountain then as long as we can see it – even just in outline in the distance – we can set off.  We can concentrate on getting closer first and then, as we progress, we can develop the detail we need to get to the top.

This is why, whatever our journey, it is good to continue to ask and answer The Right Questions at regular intervals. As we go through this process and record the answers we can see the vision statement develop and the dream being refined over time.

Think about your dreams. What is your better tomorrow? Now have a go at writing your vision statement.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs (KJV)

Which visionaries have inspired you? Do leave a comment and share who and why…

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