Your company has a vision. It has a mission statement of a mindset that defines what the purpose and goals are. Each day when your company does business, the person deal that is being made is in line with the vision. If it is not in line, problems occur and the company suffers consequences. Maybe these consequences are major and come in the form of legal action or negative media coverage. Maybe the consequences are minor and only involve some internal conversations to resolve the issues. No matter how it plays out, when a company does things that go against the vision, there are negative consequences.
Each individual person should have a vision too. When you get up in the morning, you know what you have to do and where you have to go. The one thing that many of us don't think about is the why. Why are we going to the job that we are going to? Why are we even getting up today? There is a whole series of questions that we can ask ourselves to find this personal vision. If we don't find it, how do we know what is important? The level of importance that we assign a task is not in our control if we don't match it to our own personal vision. The importance will be determined by someone else.
Instead, why don't we think about what is important to us and then start planning our agenda? I understand that paying the bills, putting a roof over our heads and having food on the table are all very important. I work to do those things every day too. But what I don't understand is how we can spend an entire day, career or even lifetime devoted to things that hold no connection with our personal vision. This topic comes up when I talk with coaching clients about what they want to do. Initially I hear, "I want to lose weight" or "I want to quit smoking". Occasionally, I even hear "I just want to feel better." That statement, while still very general, is getting us closer to understanding a personal vision.
I'm not suggesting that we all quit our jobs and start an all-consuming self discovery mission. What I am suggesting is that we start a short list of the things that are important to us. Start by making a list of two or three things that you hold to be most important in your life. Once you have your list, think about how much time and effort you put into those things. If you are devoting the most time and energy to the things that you hold to be the most important, you are in line with your personal vision.
Some people like to take it a step further. Many people can identify with the corporate concept of a vision and mission statement. Try to write a brief statement that embodies your values and explains what is most important to you. Once you can do that, you can do much more. You can now measure the things you are doing against this statement. Now you have a gauge for every task you complete. Is this important to me? More importantly, why is it important and how important is it to me?
Too often we end up sacrificing what is important to us. Why do we do this? I think it's because we don't take time to define our own importance. Not just the things we think are important; my concern is that we don't define our importance in general. The importance of what you want to do and how you want to feel are being defined by other people in many of our lives. It's time we took a few minutes to arrange you own list to make sure that your actions today are in line with your personal vision. If they are not, we know that there are consequences.