A personal vision statement—a high-level description of what the world will look like when you achieve your goals—is a great way to flesh out your personal brand and increase your employability.
Much like a personal mission statement, which it’s often confused with, a personal vision statement can:
- Inspire you and give a purpose to everything you do—A personal vision statement is the “why” behind your deepest motivations. Understanding your core values will make it easier to keep striving towards your goals when you feel overwhelmed.
- Guide you through life’s tough choices—Being clear about your values and goals streamlines your decision-making process, enabling you to say “yes” or “no” with confidence.
However, unlike a mission statement, the focus of a personal vision statement is not on you and what you are doing now. Instead, a personal vision statement’s focus lays outside yourself, painting a picture of the larger results that you hope to see in society as a result of accomplishing the things you set out to do in your mission statement.
“A vision is aspiration. A mission is actionable.”—Jamie Falkowski, managing director at Day One Agency.
You can see the difference between the two statements here:
- Personal vision statement: “A world in which people everywhere have a voice in the political decisions that affect their lives.”
- Personal mission statement: “To use my communication skills to teach children about their system of government and how important it is to take part in it.”
Keep reading to learn how to create a personal vision statement that empowers and inspires you.
Take stock of what’s most important to you
The first thing you need to do when creating a personal vision statement is to spend time reflecting on what’s important to you. To make this easier, we’ve listed some questions to ask yourself.
- What’s your purpose in life?
- What are your three core values?
- Other than money, what makes your work worthwhile?
- Do you have any spiritual beliefs that are important to you?
- How important is it to give back to society?
- Is it important that you inspire others?
To get additional insight, you can ask your friends and family members what they think. Because these people are around you the most, they are often the best judges of your character and the values that you live by.
Decide what your ideal future looks like
The next step is to what long-term goals you have for the future. Write down the first things that come to mind for each question. It’s OK if you don’t have an answer for each one.
- What achievement will bring you the most personal satisfaction?
- What kind of world do you want to live in when you retire?
- What difference do you want to make in the world?
- What do you wish you could change about the world?
- What’s the greatest thing you could accomplish if nothing were holding you back?
Write your statement
Now that you’ve reflected on the changes you want to see (and the values behind them), it’s time to translate this information into a personal vision statement.
Your statement should mention:
- The change you want to see in the world
- The values and principles behind these decisions
For example, if you care about helping other people and your ideal world contains no bullying or harassment, then your personal vision statement might look something like this:
“A world in which every human being—regardless of his or her race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or intellectual or physical differences—feels safe and supported.”
When it comes to writing a personal vision statement, shorter is better. Try to condense your thoughts into a sentence or two. While there are no hard and fast rules for length, it’s a good idea to stick to a maximum of 50 words.
After all, the purpose of a personal vision statement is to inspire you, and if your statement is overly long, you’ll have a hard time just trying to remember it.
Personal vision statement examples
If you struggling to come up with ideas for your personal vision statement, you can look to these examples for some guidance:
- “Designing a world in which all entrepreneurs have the support they need to makes their startup dreams a reality.”
- “To build a society that encourages young women to be leaders in the political arena.
- “To create a world in which underserved children receive the emotional, educational, and financial care they need to survive and thrive.
- “One day, all gifted and talented individuals, regardless of their country of origin, will have the resources they need to live up to their potential.”
- “To increase the number of underrepresented populations in STEM fields.”
- “A world with an abundance of cheap and effective green power solutions, so that people don’t have to choose between a clean environment and a healthy economy.”
- “An America in which all schoolchildren understand and respect the Constitution, as well as the values that make it great.”
How to use your personal vision statement
Once you have written your personal vision statement, you need to put it to use. A good first step is to post it to your LinkedIn profile and your personal website’s “About me” section. You can also add it to cover letters or resumes you send to potential employers.
Writing down your goals makes it more likely that you’ll accomplish them. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t change your goals once you’ve committed them to paper (or website).
Depending on what going on in your life, you might need to adjust your personal vision statement. But, don’t worry. While you may change the details of your goals, the core values you originally described will probably remain the same.
Now that you’ve written your personal vision statement, you might be interested in learning how to create other professional documents. We offer some advice in the following articles: