Vision. We all talk about it. We know we have it. After all, it’s what drove us to become entrepreneurs. But what is it, really? And more importantly, how does it continue to shape our businesses and us as leaders as we evolve with our companies?
In my experience, finding our vision is just the start of any successful venture. It’s the “a-ha” moment that motivates us; that sets us off into the direction we are headed in now. However, where many entrepreneurs or business leaders fall short is that they don’t have a clear picture of what that vision looks like. In essence, they haven’t thought beyond the big picture.
Define your vision
I recommend to anyone starting a new venture –whether it’s a new business or just a new concept you’re introducing to your company – to, first, write down how you envision the concept working. Define its goals, its audience, and what success looks like. Then ask yourself the following: Who or what will be involved to make it a success? How will it be marketed? What part will I play?
Develop a short-term timeline
Rather than overwhelming yourself with five and 10 year plans, take a look at what is doable. Write down what can, and should, be done in the next 30 days and then the next 60-90 days. This makes your vision begin to look achievable and exciting at the same time.
Things that appear simple are actually major steps that will accomplished during this time: Where will this project take place? Who will be on the team? What is the budget? A great way to do this is to write yourself a letter dated in the future telling the story of all that you’ve accomplished—as if it already happened. This creates the focus and inspiration needed for your entrepreneurial journey.
Iron out the details
Now that you’ve determined your goals, your team, your location and your budget it’s time to get to the details. This is where you develop your business plan. You figure out how you are going to secure the start-up capital, what your metrics will be (i.e. what success looks like to you), what your individual responsibilities will be.
Check in on your vision
There’s a funny thing with vision, sometimes it can get a bit blurry if you don’t keep an eye on it. So, I recommend keeping that original statement you wrote and checking in on it every six months or so to make sure you are staying true to your original focus. Sure, things will inevitably shift and need to be adjusted but remaining true to your original vision is what will keep the integrity of the project and/or your company.
Countless visions fail to become reality because one does not take or continue to take the actions needed. Once you get clear on your vision, you have to be relentless in asking yourself a very powerful question “Do the actions I’m taking today move me closer to my vision?” If the answer is yes, well done. If the answer is no, stop and course correct. Life is too short to be focused and exerting energy on actions that do not drive your vision.
Remember, only you are responsible for your life and career and mapping out a path to success and happiness begins with a clear vision.
This article has been edited.
Danny Bader is a best-selling author and inspirational coach whose life was transformed by a near death experience. He started the corporate coaching company jckrbbt to help others understand themselves by creating a powerful vision. He has written the best-selling books Back From Heaven’s Front Porch, Five Principles To Creating a Happy and Fulfilling Life and Abraham’s Diner; Simple Wisdom for more control, focus, and inspiration. Bader is one of the world’s most renowned inspirational speakers, speaking to the people of large organizations including Marriott, Reebok, Merck and more. He has spent over 10,000 hours inspiring others to live their best lives.