Building a Vision for Your Life


If you listen to Joblogues you know I’m in the thick of my first semester of grad school. Everyone’s new favorite question for me is, how’s school going? So far it’s tons of reading. And ignoring the creeping feeling that the chaos everyone warned my life would descend into the moment I bought that GRE study guide will become my reality at any moment. I’m enjoying the reading though. My professors are introducing me to concepts that benefit me in unexpected ways.

My biggest lesson so far is that that the principles for getting your business together are remarkably similar to the ones that get your life together. My latest reading assignment, a Harvard Business Review article on building a vision for your company, is fixing my life better than Iyanla:

In 1996, Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras wrote that “companies [and people]that enjoy enduring success have a core purpose and core values that remain fixed while their strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world.” They know why they exist, and they have a vision that guides what and how they change as well as what can never be sacrificed. That vision is made up of a few parts:

Your Core Ideology
  • Core Values – These are your guiding principles and tenets. Their value requires for no justification for you. Write down 3-4 principles you would hold yourself to even if it were disadvantageous to do so. You now have your core values.
  • Core Purpose – This is why you’re here. Write down a descriptive statement that you think describes your purpose. Now, ask yourself why that purpose is important, and write down your response as your new, more defined purpose. Challenge your purpose by asking why four more times. By the end of the exercise you should be pretty close to your fundamental reason for being.
Your Envisioned Future
  • Big Hairy Audacious Goals – These goals make up your long-term mission. They serve as a clear focal point; your finish line. They can be qualitative or quantitative, position you as David vs. Goliath, name your role model, or describe an internal transformation. Make sure they are far-fetched and scary. Shoot for the moon to land among the stars and all that.
  • Vivid Description – This is where you think about what accomplishing your goals looks like. Paint a picture anyone can see. Make it creative and daunting.

Now you have your compass. From here it’s all about alignment. Whatever you take on next, start by thinking about how your vision operates in that context. Whether your focus is business or personal gain, you can approach the next phase confident that your strategy is true to who you are. Read the full article on Harvard Business Review for a deeper understanding of  building vision including examples of successful ideologies and envisioned futures that have become our reality.


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About Author

Cortney uses design, tech and storytelling strategy to help creatives and entrepreneurs take on the world. Catch her co-hosting the Joblogues podcast and see how she puts in work at Follow her @CleveOutLoud.