Key To Successfully Building Your Business Vision: Personal Beliefs

Only after you’ve looked inward to know yourself can you remove the blindfold and create a vision for your life.

“Vision” is a mysterious thing to most people. In work, life and even in school, people are told to ‘Start with a vision.’ They are being asked to see something that does not yet exist; to imagine an outcome that will take an unknown journey along an undefined roadmap.

What’s more is that this vision must be your own. It can’t be for others to see and follow. It has to be your personal beacon in a sea of distractions and obstacles. But as a leader, you’ll often need to share that vision, have others buy into the vision, and find ways to have them help you bring that vision to life within the context of how each of them see the world and their own visions for the future.

That’s how most people see it, and why most people fail to create and follow a vision in their lives. It all seems too hard, too difficult to obtain as an ocean of effort. But there is one principle truth that makes having and sharing and accomplishing a vision both easier to realize and see to fruition:

When a vision is based on a core belief, the vision creates itself.

This is where most people put the cart before the horse. They build a vision without identifying the underlying, supporting belief that must live in their core to allow that vision to live and survive over the long run. So before you try to define your vision as a leader, here are some steps that will lead you to a vision that works for you:

  1. Figure out who you are – This may take some work, but sit down with your favorite beverage in a quiet spot without any distractions and write down all the beliefs you have; beliefs about yourself, people, the world, religion, politics, science, health, friendship, family, work, etc. Give yourself a couple of hours (this is important, so give yourself the time to do it right). Pen your thoughts in free form to let your mind flow. Write anything that enters your consciousness, big or small…both mind-blowing and mundane. Don’t edit unless you find you’re not being honest with yourself. You won’t show this to anyone, so allow yourself to be open and real with what you write.
  2. Figure out what you’re passionate about – Now that you have your list together, create a scoring system for your beliefs. What beliefs stir emotion in you? What gets you excited or makes you want to jump up and act? I, for example, believe that the greatest gift of our intellect is the power to educate. It is what drives me to learn, to study, and to offer what I learn to others freely. It is what gets me out of bed each morning and the yardstick by which I measure my success. I also have a belief that pizza is the greatest food in the world. Does that belief get me excited about expressing my inner self through the creation and sharing of this delicious Italian pie? No, but some people do feel this way.
  3. Take what’s important and visualize living a life based on those beliefs – If you were critical in the last step about what sits at the top of your passion list, you probably ended up with 1-2 strong beliefs about yourself and different areas of life (work, family, friends, religion, politics, etc). Take that list and recreate it on a new sheet of paper or document. This step is your virtual stripping away of the things that are interesting, but not passion-driving influences in your life.   With your new list in hand, build a vision for each belief on what actions you can take to support, drive and live that belief. Envision what life looks like when you are living fully connected with these beliefs. Again, this should be somewhat free form, and again think big and small…your actions in aggregate will help define the next step.
  4. Work your visions for actions and activities into single statements – Here you are finally ready for the proverbial cart. Think of what you’ve written for each belief as a short story. What would the title of that story be? What overarching theme is your vision for that belief? What are all the activities and actions you can take to support that belief creating in the way of a world view? I’ve seen this step take hours and I’ve seen this step take days to complete. It’s not easy, but it will be something you need to do to create manageable “mantras” for living your life. Once you have them, write them down in places you can refer to them: at home, in your car, at the office, etc. Refer to them often to remind yourself where you are heading and why.

Yes, this will take some work and a lot of thought, but on the other side lies a focus and understanding that will help you achieve your goals. You may want to go through this activity from start to finish a few times in your life. You may even revise the last step a couple times as you learn and start to live your vision. But whatever you do, you can have confidence in knowing that the visions you’ve built and are living by will 1) be your own, 2) be based on something you hold true at your core, and 3) be something you can communicate and explain clearly to others…all signs that you have the right vision for your life.

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