wardell books

Personal Vision

"For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice - no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service."- John Burrows

If your Personal Mission is your destination, and your Personal Values are the rules of the road, then your Personal Vision is your itinerary. It’s the course you set for yourself as you travel through your life.

A visionary is someone who has a clear mental picture or “vision” of the future. In fact, we often refer to visionaries as “people who are slightly ahead of their time.” A Personal Vision is a plan, a mental picture of how you see your own life unfolding. If you are willing to become a visionary, and if you’re willing to do the necessary work, you can create a future of your own design.

What do you want to accomplish with your life? Where do you want to go? What do you want to have? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to meet? Your Personal Vision answers these questions through an ongoing process of goal setting and planning.

Mission vs. Vision

  • Your Mission is your singular purpose.
  • Your Mission is timeless.
  • Your Mission is unlimited in scope.
  • Your Mission involves only yourself.
  • Your Mission will never change.
  • Your Mission fulfills your life.
  • Your Vision comprises your multiple goals.
  • Your Vision sits on a timeline.
  • Your Vision is finite.
  • Your Vision involves other people, places and things.
  • Your Vision will evolve with you.
  • Your Vision fulfills your Mission.

Successful Goal Setting

We are compelled to act by two primary forces. The forces of external and internal motivation. External motivation comes from sources outside of ourselves. Examples include deadlines imposed by important clients, special requests by our children, or performance standards expected by our colleagues.

Internal motivation comes from inside of ourselves. This is where the real power to accomplish great things comes from. Internal motivation is the fuel that propels us through life. It gives us the power to keep going when times get tough. But where does internal motivation come from?

Internal motivation comes from inspiring goals. Goals that are in line with our Personal Mission. Goals that excite and inspire us. Goals that we find so appealing that they have the effect of drawing us towards them. And where do inspiring goals come from? They come from our dreams.

An inspiring goal will challenge you. It will force you to stretch and grow in order to achieve it. The growth that comes from achieving a significant and worthwhile goal becomes part of your lifelong journey towards your Personal Mission. A goal that is too easily accomplished may be pleasing, but there is very little that compares to the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a challenging and worthwhile goal.

An inspiring goal is something that you have control over. You can’t very well enjoy the feeling of a successful achievement if you had nothing to do with it. Winning the lottery, for example, might be an appealing idea but it can hardly be considered an inspiring goal because its success is entirely left up to chance. You can enjoy and perhaps make good use of the money won in a lottery, but you can hardly call it a personal success.

For this reason, it’s important to focus your attention on the things you can control. Your actions, your attitudes and your effort. Your procrastination, your preparation and your patience. Your enthusiasm, your perseverance and your tenacity. These are all things that we can, and must, take responsibility for.

At first glance, this revelation can seem a little scary. After all, it means that we no longer have anyone or anything to blame, other than ourselves, for our failures. There is a positive side however. When we base our success on the things we can control instead of on the things that we can’t, we quickly take control of our lives. We are suddenly empowered because we have placed ourselves squarely in the driver’s seat. We have taken complete responsibility for our own success.

The Value of Goals

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Goals are vitally important. They help us measure our progress through life. They are the road map to our future. A goal is a personal commitment, and must be treated with the appropriate respect. If your goal is of a high enough priority, then you should commit all of your resources towards its achievement. You should work day and night to ensure you accomplish it. You’ve got to take your commitments seriously. All successful people do.

That is not to say that everyone needs to be rich and famous. The word success means different things to different people, and so it should. But since we have only one chance to live this life, wouldn’t it be a tragic waste if we didn’t do something purposeful with it?

The Five P's of Goal Setting

There are essentially five categories of goals.

  1. Personal Goals — Personal Goals are your self-improvement goals. Examples include educational goals such as degrees or diplomas, skill goals such as learning to play an instrument or learning to speed read, personal development goals such as having more patience, fitness goals, and so forth. People Goals — People goals are your relationship goals. Examples include family goals, friendship goals, romantic goals, people you’d like to meet, people you’d like to work with, people you’d like to learn from, and so forth.

  2. Play Goals — Play Goals are your enjoyment goals, your fun goals. Life would be dull without them. They include places you’d like to visit, activities you’d like to engage in, things you’d like to purchase and so forth. Would you like a cabin on a lake or a brand new Mercedes? Would you like to go sailing in the Caribbean or hiking in the Himalayas? Allow yourself to be free with this list. It’s your life and you have a right to enjoy it.

  3. Professional Goals — Professional Goals are your work and financial related goals. Examples include personal income goals, investment goals, business goals, financial independence goals, amount of time devoted to work, type of work done, and so forth.

  4. Public Goals — Public Goals are your contribution goals. They are the things you would like to give back to society. You may wish to volunteer your time at your local food bank, make a financial contribution to cancer research, or take a group of Scouts camping. You’re going to feel great about this list.

Fill in the Goals columns.

Just fill in the "Personal Goals" column on the left for now. You'll complete the "Commitment Level" and "Cost" columns in steps two and three.

As you make your list of goals, try to let the ideas flow without prejudging yourself and watch out for that negative self-talk. You need to be careful not to place limiting beliefs on yourself such as “I’m not smart enough to ever do that,” or “I’ll never be able to afford that.” Where there’s a will, there’s a way, so don’t stop yourself before you even start.

To do this properly, you're going to need at least an hour for the following exercise. That works out to only 12 minutes per list, so give yourself more time if you can spare it. Also, don’t feel limited by the space provided. Use an extra sheet of paper if you need to.

Personal Goals

These are your self-improvement goals. Make your list of personal goals below.

Personal GoalsCommitment LevelCosts

People Goals

These are your relationship goals. Make your list of people goals below.

People GoalsCommitment LevelCosts

Play Goals

These are your fun and recreation goals. Make your list of play goals below.

Play GoalsCommitment LevelCosts

Professional Goals

These are your business and financial goals. Make your list of professional goals below.

Professional GoalsCommitment LevelCosts

Public Goals

These are your societal contribution goals. Make your list of public goals below.

Public GoalsCommitment LevelCosts

Prioritize your Goals

The next step in the Personal Vision process is to determine your level of commitment to each of your goals. This is vital because if your level of commitment is low then your motivation will be low and if your motivation is low, your chances for success will be equally low. A lot of people might like to have $20 million dollars, for example, but very few people are willing to seek out and make the necessary changes in their lives in order to earn that kind of money. They are simply not motivated enough to achieve that kind of success.

Go back over your list of goals and prioritize them. Using the system outlined below, put an “A,” “B,” or “C” beside each of your goals.

  • A - You are highly motivated to achieve this goal. You are determined to let nothing stop you.
  • B - You are fairly motivated to reach this goal. You really want to achieve this goal but a serious setback or obstacle could cause you to give up.
  • C - You are moderately motivated to achieve this goal. You’d like to achieve this goal but if it turns out to be more difficult than you had anticipated, you might change your mind. A “C” doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t achieve your goal it's simply an indication of its importance in your life.

To determine if your goal is an “A,” “B,” or “C,” ask yourself, “What price am I willing to pay in order to achieve this goal?” All things being equal, your chances for success will increase along with your level of commitment to your goals.

Personal GoalsCommitment LevelCosts
Learn to play the pianoBWeekly lessons, 5 hrs per week of practice time for 3 years, eliminate watching TV on weeknights

All of your goals will require you to pay a price, even your “C”s.

Go back through your goal list one more time and fill in the cost you’ll need to pay in order to reach each of your goals in the right hand column of your list.

Next, transfer your goals onto the time-line on the next page. This will give you a visual road map to follow for your life. Start with your “A” goals, then "B" and if you have room, then “C.” Play around with your target dates until it makes sense to you. Things won’t always work out exactly as planned. Unexpected problems will arise and you may need to make the occasional detour along the way, but at least you’ll have a method for getting back on track. You’ll always get farther with a plan than without one.

Life Map

It’s also important to keep track of your accomplishments and to update your goals from time to time. Your Life Map is a living document that will evolve along with you.

Personal Goals

1 Year2 Years3 Years5 Years10 Years

People Goals

1 Year2 Years3 Years5 Years10 Years

Play Goals

1 Year2 Years3 Years5 Years10 Years

Professional Goals

1 Year2 Years3 Years5 Years10 Years

Public Goals

1 Year2 Years3 Years5 Years10 Years

12 Month Action Plan

The final step in the Personal Vision process is to determine what you need to do this year in order to follow through with your Life Map. What kind of money do you need to earn and save? What do you need to learn? What do you need to begin? What do you need to accomplish? What are the benchmarks you need to hit in order to stay on course?

Action1 Month2 Months3 Months4 Months5 Months
Action6 Month7 Months8 Months9 Months10 Months

What will you need to do over the next 12 months in order to stay on track? Include any target dates that you’ll need to hit. If you find that you are having trouble hitting your target dates, it may be that they are unrealistic. It’s good to be ambitious, we all need the challenge, but if your list is too long, you may need to consider eliminating some of your “C” level goals or moving back some of your target dates. We typically overestimate what we can accomplish in the short-term and underestimate what we can accomplish in the long-term, so revisit and revise your goals on a regular basis. Goal setting is a skill, and like all skills it gets easier with practice.

Update and review your goals annually.