It’s that time of year when you’re probably thinking about setting goals. Before you do, I encourage you to spend some time revisiting, or creating, your business vision. A vision answers the question: ‘What does your ideal future look and feel like?’
The idea of creating a vision might initially feel too corporate-y or too wishy-washy to be relevant to you and your small business, but in my experience, a clear vision that resonates deeply with you can become a hugely valuable asset.
That’s especially true if, like me, your work and its legacy are a core component of who you are, and you run your business in a way that aligns with your spirituality or personal values.
Having a mental snapshot of my ideal world in glorious technicolour has become the true north that guides my decisions and keeps me on track over the long term. It might just do the same for you.
The difference between a vision and a goal
Goals help you get to where you’re going and monitor your progress along the way, like roadmaps and signposts on your business journey.
Your vision, on the other hand, is your destination: the overarching outcome that you’re intending to achieve.
Your vision should therefore guide your goals, because to paraphrase the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there – if you only walk long enough.’
Goals speak to your head, but your vision calls to your heart
Goals speak to my rational mind. They lend themselves to spreadsheets, tracking tables, bar graphs and other things I associate with being SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely.
I see goals as black and white, cut-and-dried, concrete outcomes that are either achieved or not. More often than not they require me to exert lots of willpower and self-discipline, and take a structured approach to their completion.
My vision, on the other hand, lends itself to butchers’ paper and crayons, symbols and pictures, layers and nuances. It whispers to my heart and soul, inspiring me to tap into my intuition and imagination in a way that’s creative, free flowing and makes me feel ALIVE.
Where my goals encourage me to knuckle down and work hard on my business, my vision makes my spirit soar, pulling me towards it in a way that feels light and uplifting.
Having both has proven to be my secret formula to forward momentum!
The power of working towards a dream
The human brain is wired to be aware of and avoid danger. Which means, like many others, I can easily fall into the habit of shrinking away from things that worry or stretch me, rather than towards things that are most important. Left unchecked, this ‘away from’ focus can chip away at my vision and dreams.
Creating a vision that’s ALIVE
To counter that tendency, I’ve developed a framework that helps me create, connect with and act on my vision for business, and life, that’s powerful, compelling and bursting with possibility.
Use it to bring your dreams to life too by ensuring that your vision is characterised by being ALIVE: aspirational, love-based, impactful, vivid and energising.
In order to be enticing and compelling, I find that my vision needs to involve a bit of stretch. You’ll know you’ve got it right when you recognise that achieving your vision is going to require you to grow in some way. For example, my vision pushes me to step up and become comfortable on a larger stage.
Your vision should fill you with joy and make your heart sing at the idea of creating something that you love. It might also trigger other positive emotions, like pride, gratitude and a sense of satisfaction.
Any aspects of your vision that don’t elicit these kinds of heart-felt responses or that trigger negative emotions of any kind have no place in your vision, and warrant a re-think.
One of my favourite practices is to incorporate aspects of my vision in my daily meditation, and I’ve noticed that when I do, one of the most powerfully motivating ways to do that is to focus on the impact that my vision-brought-to-life has on others.
Even if you’re not into meditation, try this for yourself by getting quiet for a moment and tuning into the impact your vision will have on your loved ones, your team, your customers, your industry or even the planet.
When imagining your vision, have fun dialling up the brightness, clarity and other sensual elements of the images or movie that run through your mind. Be sure to include yourself in those images.
This practice helps you become more connected to what you’re trying to create, increasing the potency of your dream and your ability to touch it and taste it.
A compelling vision is one that gives you a delicious, turbocharged desire to take action. If your vision doesn’t get you excited and make you want to get moving, you may need to delve a bit deeper to access your heart’s true desire.
When you’ve hit the nail on the head though, tapping into the energy of your vision can be just what it takes to get you fired up and focused on executing the steps it will take to get you where you want to go.
Keep your vision top of mind
Your vision isn’t something you want to think about once and file away. Instead, think of it as an evolving dream that you revisit often and that takes on more shape as you move closer to it.
For me, creating a vision board is the perfect approach. Not only do I create one every six or 12 months, I also host workshops to help others do the same.
I love hanging my vision board above my desk where I can contemplate it at my leisure and get lost in it while musing over tricky problems.
Do you have a vision that sings to your heart?
How has it helped you bring your dreams to life?