While a (personal) mission statement is your why, a vision statement is a where, as in where are you going long term, where do you want to end up.
It really is worth spending some time thinking about what your mission is. Similarly, your vision is critical.
We are talking long range vision, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Goals are important, but we are not going to talk about them here, seriously. Yes, there will be goals along the way of course.
I play blues and jazz piano – and I suck, having had my piano about 6 months only:
Mission Statement (my why): I play piano because I love music and it’s fun.
Vision Statement: To get good enough that I can actually play with people someday.
Of course your vision of where you are going may change over time for multiple reasons.
For example I may start playing music with people and my next vision might be to actually play out in public, maybe a local dive bar. Then maybe even be a massive star with hit songs and tour the world (probably not though as I’m tone deafish).
OK, back to the professional mission and vision statements (unlikely I’ll ever be a professional musician).
My (professional) Mission Statement (as I’ve written before): Learn, Teach, Inspire.
I love learning new cool things, teaching them to others once I know them well, and they need to be cool enough (or have a significant enough positive impact) to be capable of inspiring myself and others.
My vision statement used to be: Be a security consultant and do exciting work in fascinating places for all kinds of cool people and get paid well.
Now there have been tweaks to this vision over the years as my life changed. I once burnt out and went hiking and fishing in New Zealand for months. And when my kids were littler I stopped much of the travel as my priorities changed, and priorities changing is very natural for many reasons.
There are other reasons your vision may change. For example, you may get bored and/or find new opportunities you never knew existed for you: Maybe I’ll decide to become a professional Salsa dancer or professional pasta eater! More seriously, years ago while in grad school I never knew people would fly me around and pay me to talk and teach them things. Once I figured that out, I was like, “wow!”
(My) New Vision Statement: Keep doing what I’m doing while adding more royalties and other residual income and shorter length higher paying speaking engagements to the mix.
Now “Vision” is strategic and we must distinguish that from tactical. Of course I have several tactic steps including shorter term goals I’ve been working on
An example goal: Let’s say you really want to write a great book on security.
Why do you want to do it? Just writing a book is a noble enough thing, but what is your vision? Do you want to change the way people think? Do you want to become a professional writer. Do you want to bolster your career? Something else? Some combination?
It’s worth thinking about why you are doing what you are doing (or plan to do) and what the ideal long term outcome is, in other words how it fits in with your mission and your vision.
- Write down a preliminary and imperfect mission and vision. Just get something written down and don’t worry about perfect.
- At a minimum, revisit what you’ve written down in a few weeks or months (use your calendar to remind you).
- Better yet, if comfortable, share with someone and perhaps get feedback (there is a lot of value here for you). Feel free to send to me!