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.
1. 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 in your company–to, first, write down how you envision the concept working.
Define your goals, audience, and what success looks like in specific terms. Then ask yourself: Who or what needs to be involved to make it a success? What part will I play?
2. Map out a short-term timeline
Rather than overwhelming yourself with five and 10 year plans, take a look at what is doable in the short-term. Write down what can, and should, be done in the next 30 days and then the next 60-90 days.
This helps your vision become achievable and exciting at the same time! Things that appear simple are actually major steps. Consider: 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. You’re in the present when you write your vision… and you’re writing it about the future. I believe our brains love completion, we love to finish things. This creates the focus and inspiration needed for your entrepreneurial journey.
3. Iron out the details
Now that you’ve determined your goals, who will be involved and your budget, etc., 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 startup capital, what your metrics will be (i.e., what success looks like to you), and your individual responsibilities.
4. Check in with your vision
Here’s the funny thing about vision, sometimes it can get a bit blurry if you don’t keep an eye on it. So, I recommend keeping that original vision statement you wrote in a prominent location. Check in on it every few months or so to make sure you are staying true to your original focus.
Sure, things will inevitably shift and need to be agile, but remaining true to your original vision is what will keep the integrity of the project and/or your company on the right track.
Moving from vision to reality requires deliberate action
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 and continually ask 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 focus and exert energy on actions that do not drive your vision. Remember, only you are responsible for your life and career. A path to success and happiness always begins with a clear vision.
Danny Bader is a best-selling author and inspirational speaker whose life was transformed by a near death experience more than 20 years ago. He started his own company in 2007 that focuses on helping others truly understand themselves by creating a powerful vision for their futures. He wrote Back From Heaven’s Front Porch, Five Principles To Creating a Happy and Fulfilling Life, which would become a best-selling book and receive rave reviews from Success magazine and rank #1 on Amazon. As one of the nation’s most sought-after speakers, he routinely gives workshops and keynotes to the biggest organizations in the nation including Marriott, Comcast, Merck and more. To date, he has spent more than 10,000 hours inspiring others to live their best lives.