The concept of having a “vision” is one that pops up often when we talk about creating a life of meaning, but I find that very few people think about it or understand what it means. So this week, I’m breaking it down. This is part 3 in a series.
Today’s topic is understanding why having a vision is so important. Why should you care?
Let’s look more at 5 reasons why vision is so important.
(1) Your Compass to a Life of Meaning
Your vision is one part of the compass that guides you to a life of meaning. This compass also includes your values, mission, and your code of conduct. All of these are important elements to define. They also can have overlap. Your mission and code of conduct likely reflect your vision and values. And if you’ve articulated your vision well, it will reflect your values. So this one piece of your foundation can subsume the other three.
A clear vision is half the task to identifying what to do. Know what you want first.
(2) Vision Gives You Direction
If you have a clear vision and live according to a set of clearly defined core values, you’ll make a lot of progress toward what you really desire without even needing “big goals.”
(In fact, studies show that big goals often derail people, and companies, from their core values. See, for example, Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal. More on this another time.)
Remember, you can think of vision as the destination and goals as a way to get there.
(3) Slash Your To-Do List
As I shared in Part 2, vision creates a context for your goals, outcomes, intentions, and actions. The quickest way to get through your to-do list is to evaluate it in the context of your vision. What do you really want for your life? What goals aren’t aligned with that vision? What items on your to-do list aren’t aligned with that vision?
Many people set goals that have nothing to do with their own vision for their life. They are based on what they believe they should want, or what they believe others expect them to do. When you get clear on your vision for your life, you can evaluate what’s aligned for you.
(4) Prevent Mistakes
Having a clear vision can help you prevent a lot of mistakes — especially expensive mistakes.
A big part of my work is helping my clients make decisions, especially big decisions, such as where to live, whether to move, job or career changes, and strategic business decisions. I don’t give “advice” in the traditional sense. If you called me for “advice” or input on a decision, the first conversation we’d have would be about your vision.
When you have a clear vision for your life, decisions are much easier. Decisions are simply about identifying what’s aligned with your visions (and values).
(5) Avoid Wasting Resources
When you have a clear vision, you won’t waste time, money, or energy on working with the wrong professionals or clients.
Having a clear vision will help you select the right professionals to help you — from doctors, to personal trainers, to real estate agents, to babysitters. Vision will help you know whether to continue in your current relationship or job.
As a professional, having a clear vision will help you avoid taking on the clients who drain your energy and other resources. Vision will drive your strategy for marketing, whether, how, and when to expand or evolve your business. It will help you hire the right people for your support team.
Understanding your client’s vision is crucial to guiding your client in a way that is aligned for the client. You won’t travel down a path with a client only to be disappointed when the client pulls back because they realized they don’t need or want what you offer.
Vision is a fundamental building block for everything you do.
PS: If all of this still seems esoteric to you, stay tuned. I’ll share some practical examples later in this series.
Questions? Thoughts? Insights? Challenges? I’d love to hear them — please share in the comments so that others can benefit too.