Wow! Your business can change the world! And I’m not telling you that just for the sake of coming up with an effective title, but because I’m convinced it’s true, and you should be too. Having a clear vision will enable you to change the world. In this article, you’ll find out how.
I’m sure you’ve heard the terms vision and mission before, particularly in relation to large companies. In fact, these two concepts are important not only for multinational corporations but also for us entrepreneurs.
You too have a vision and a mission. And it’s important to be clear on what they are, so that you can be certain you’re continuing to develop your business in the direction you feel is most right for you.
Why be clear on your vision and mission?
I’m sure that you decided to strike out on your own not only to make money (this too, of course) but also because you are motivated by a deep passion and you want to have an impact on the world.
However, particularly at the beginning, when you’re still trying to work out what kind of business to launch and what to offer to your clients, you can end up getting lost in a thousand things that may have no connection with what you actually want to do.
It’s easy to let yourself be taken in by the latest
collaboration proposal, by a course from the guru of the moment guaranteeing you an easy route to success, or by the umpteenth network marketing offer that promises you a magical way of bringing in the big bucks.
In cases like this (among others), it’s essential to be really clear on what your vision and your mission are. This will give you a reference point for working out where you want to go, which activities are in line with your values and which ones, on the other hand, will be unable to give you the satisfaction you desire.
Your vision corresponds to the world you want to see become a reality, the world you want to create as a result of your business activity. It’s the life you imagine that people will live because of what you’re able to offer them.
For example, my vision is of a world in which people do jobs that excite them and that enable them to give the best of themselves. In particular, women are able to rediscover their own potential and use it to create a business they love, one that satisfies them on a personal and a professional level.
This is the world I want to create through what I do. It’s what led me to become a coach and is the reason I’m passionate about female entrepreneurship.
Every time I feel tired, demotivated or down, I think back to my vision. This gives me the strength to continue, to try as hard as I can, to keep going and not give in.
When I’m confused and don’t really know which steps to take, I think back to my vision. It helps me work out where to go and reminds me why I’m doing all this.
Now do you understand why knowing your own vision is so important? Don’t worry if your vision isn’t clear – the following exercise will help you (re)discover it.
At the neurological level
This exercise is adapted from the concept of logical categories of learning and communication, which was developed by the anthropologist Gregory Bateson and subsequently revised by Robert Dilts, a scholar of neuro-linguistic programming.
Don’t set your sights on achieving 100% clarity immediately. You can do the exercise more than once – for example, every time you feel that what you’re doing, whether in life or in business, is no longer in line with who you really are. This exercise will help you get back on the right path.
I recommend this activity to clients undertaking my coaching courses. The questions it poses are supposed to be gradually adapted according to the responses you provide. For obvious reasons, it’s not possible to personalise the exercise here on the blog, but I’m certain that even in this form the exercise will be helpful for identifying your vision and understanding how you can change the world.
Note down your answers on this funsheet, which you can download for free. Reading the questions without answering won’t do much good, so respond in writing. This will also be useful for the future when you want to look back over your answers.
For each block of questions, try to visualise the given situation as much as possible by imagining yourself in the context, as though you yourself were really living the moment.
Ready? Let’s go.
First of all, think back to a moment in your life that you consider particularly significant. A time you felt very happy, fulfilled and completely yourself. A time you felt entirely capable of demonstrating your potential to the full.
Done? Let’s continue.
1. Context: Where and when?
Where (in which place or places) were you?
At home, close to nature, at work, in a public place, around other people, or somewhere else in particular?
2. Behaviour: What?
What were you doing at that time and in that place? Specifically, what were the actions you were performing, and what was it that made you feel able to fully express yourself?
Were you talking, teaching, singing, listening, writing, playing an instrument, chatting, drawing, dancing, acting, playing? What were the actions that allowed you to fully express yourself?
3. Abilities: How?
Which abilities do you need to perform these actions? What are the skills and knowledge associated with this behaviour? Which abilities did you possess at the time that enabled you to carry out that specific activity?
Did you pick up the knowledge at school? Did you refine the abilities through experience? Did you acquire the skills on the job? Did you take the information from books?
4. Values and Beliefs: Why?
Why is it important to you to be able to put into practice the behaviour and abilities identified above? Why does it matter to you to be able to do all this?
What motivates you to carry out this activity? Why are you compelled to do it?
5. Mission: Who are you?
Who are you when you possess these beliefs, values, abilities and behaviour? How do you feel in that moment?
Try to think in metaphorical terms, visualising a symbol or an image that represents your identity in that moment.
For example, you may feel like an innovator, a heroine, an agent for change, a source of inspiration, etc.
The symbol or the image that represents you metaphorically could be a geometric shape, a magic wand, a mythical animal, a ball of light, a rainbow, a diamond, a book, a hammer, a pen, and so on.
Now, taking into account your identity and the symbol that represents you, what is your mission on this earth? What do you want to do to help others?
Imagine that you could project yourself outside your current life and identity. What would your ideal world be like? What is happening there? What features does this world have? What do people do there? How do they behave?
At this point, you should be able to get an idea of your vision and of the world that you want to create through your business activity. In a little while, we’ll go back over the entire exercise in reverse order so that you can work out whether you need to do something different or change something about your present in order for your vision to come true.
Adjustment: What do you Want to Add?
Reflect further on the answers you gave and complete the following sentence. Say both sentences out loud:
I am fully aware that I want _____________________ (vision) and that, with_____________________ (symbol), I want to ________________________ (mission).
I am aware that this vision and mission strengthen and enrich my experience of who I am today and of my business enterprise.
As you’re doing this, think back to your mission. Visualise it in your mind.
After this, turn your attention to your values and say:
I carry my vision and my mission in my heart. I am able to perceive my values and my beliefs.
Note down potential new feelings or information that you become aware of. Identify possible values or beliefs that you think could be useful in fulfilling your mission.
When you feel ready, think about the abilities you possess and say:
In perfect harmony with my vision of _____________________, with ______________________ (symbol), my mission of ________________________, my values and beliefs, I am capable of fully demonstrating my abilities.
Here, as before, if additional information or feelings come to mind, note them down. If there are other abilities you think you’ll need, add them too.
Following this, focus again on your behaviour and say:
When I think back to my behaviour, I relive the activities I have carried out. I am aware of the abilities I possess, of my values and beliefs, and of my mission and vision.
What do you notice now? Would you behave differently? Would you change something? Do you want to add any new actions that you think it would be useful to take? Note down anything that emerges.
Then, look back at the context you imagined at the beginning of the exercise, and say:
Finally, I return to the space associated with the context and place in which I can be myself. I am in tune with my life’s vision and mission, which I perceive vividly in my mind and heart while I experience my actions in this place (the one you are imagining).
In what way would you change your perception of that place so that it aligns with your vision, your mission, your symbol, your values and beliefs, your abilities and your behaviour? In which place would it be more useful for you to be? As before, if new information comes to you, note it down.
When you’ve finished the exercise, spend some time reading back over your answers and noting down your thoughts.
Which things were you not previously aware of? Is what you’re doing today in line with who you are and the direction in which you want to move?
So here we are at the end of the article. In the comments box below, let me know:
- What are your vision and your mission?
- How does your business activity demonstrate this?
See you next time,