As part of the pre-work assigned to me for my Executive Coaching Certification program at Weatherhead, Case Western Reserve University, I had to consider my noble purpose, and a number of other factors – words that I connected with, jobs that interested me, my values. One of the goals of this was to create, refine and consider my personal vision statement.
As a Brit living in America, I have found great connection and joy in my life here. Yet, I still retain a somewhat cynical edge, particularly when I walk down the self-help aisles and watch adverts on TV. I have to admit that my first response to this concept was entirely infantile – finger in mouth, yakking up! But as I worked through the process considering the words that I connected to, contemplated jobs that I have never done, but have characteristics that are appealing to me, as I refined my view on where I wanted to be in 10 or 20 years, the process became more interesting to me.
Yesterday I spent the whole day working on my personal vision statement, as part of this certification course. The majority of us in the room talked about how strangely indulgent, yet hugely refreshing it was to spend the 8 hours thinking about oneself, one’s hopes, dreams, goals and visions for our personal and professional lives. As the day evolved and we worked through various exercises, designed to prod and poke us into delving a little bit deeper, I found that my vision statement evolved into a more personal focus.
What was interesting to my group was that our dreams varied, depending on where we were in our careers and families. At the beginning – new baby, newly employed, the dreams consisted of practical, achievable goals, such as saving for kids college, buying a second home and so on. Those in the middle had dreams that were about escape, about different career paths, about big, crazy ideas. Those towards the end of their career paths, focused on retirement planning, health and physical dreams for their latter years.
Here, I reveal my Personal Vision Statement. It is personal, yet I share it to inspire you to consider how you see yourself. Are you giving yourself the attention you deserve? Are you placing value on how you feel (not just on how your colleagues, employees, boss, spouse, kids, friends etc feel). Are you regularly re-visiting your dream space?
I am intellectually capable. I crave excitement. I engage with the world and those around me with all my senses. There is always something new to learn and understand: a new skill to master, a new food to try, a new place to go. Teaching helps me learn. If I am not intellectually and physically challenged everyday I stagnate. I embrace differences: it makes the world an exciting place. I support those around me. My mind is what makes me attractive. I nurture my mind. I nurture my body since it is the vehicle for my mind. I am disinhibited enough to stimulate those around me to open up to their own truths. I challenge those around me to push their limits. I am compassionate, yet not soft. I travel in my mind. I travel in the physical world. I am more than the sum of my parts. I cultivate myself daily.
Grab a piece of paper and give it a shot. Create your personal vision statement and find a dream team to surround you, prod you, support you and nurture you on your path. Pruning and re-working my statement is a new habit, that I will cultivate. Join me!