So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Have you ever heard someone say, “You need to know where you’re going if you ever want to get there?” It’s the truth. Two weeks ago, we talked about building a strong foundation to stand on by “knowing your roots”. This week, we want to take a step forward— discussing how to craft a vision statement. When you know your roots and have a vision statement, you’ll be anchored securely and moving steadily forward. 

We have a finite amount of time. Many people go through life drifting aimlessly or chasing one shiny object after another. However, meaning in life comes by contributing to a purpose outside of ourselves. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” A vision statement helps us to focus on what we are giving. When we get clear on our purpose, then we can focus our energy on fulfilling that purpose. 

We need to say “no” to many other good things in preference to our single most important purpose. A vision statement provides a filter through which we run requests for help. For example, a brain surgeon doesn’t even consider an opportunity to perform an open heart surgery. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about that patient. It means he cares enough about them that he sends them to someone who can help them better than he can. 

Defining your vision statement requires you to commit to one thing and say “no” to many things. One reason business leaders struggle to settle on a clear vision statement is their desire to help in many ways. But this dilutes business focus and limits its influence and capacity to serve. 

How do you choose that one thing? Consider these questions. 

  • Where is your deepest passion? 
  • Who/what do you care most about? 
  • Why do you care about them/that? 

Deep passion for a cause often comes from a defining struggle or life changing event that we personally experienced. Is there a major problem you faced and overcame? Do you see others struggling like you did? Do you wish you could help them through their problem using your knowledge and experience? The answers to these questions is a clue to what your business vision should be. 

What a Vision Statement is Not

  • A vision statement is not a description of the products or services you provide. 
  • A vision statement is not an annual goal. 
  • A vision statement is not something you can accomplish in 3-5 years. 
  • A vision statement is not changed on every other annual planning session. 
  • A vision statement is not tied to the industry you are in (although it might correlate in some cases).
  • A vision statement is not vague or general. 
  • A vision statement is not something you can copy from your competitor or friend and edit to make your own. 
  • A vision statement is not a business plan. 

What a Vision Statement Is

  • A vision statement is something worth sacrificing for. 
  • A vision statement is clarity about your purpose for going to work every day. 
  • A vision statement gives you the reason to make the tough decisions. 
  • A vision statement defines what is at stake. 
  • A vision statement reveals a singular passion and purpose. 
  • A vision statement inspires others who share your passion. It calls them to get involved— not for the paycheck— but for the benefit of others. 
  • A vision statement is a guiding star. 
  • A vision statement is a new reality that you intend to create. It can be a large community change or be realized by one person at a time. 

When you see your vision being fulfilled, it gives you deep satisfaction. It might make your heart race. It might make you smile in deep satisfaction or even make you cry. You feel incredibly proud and humbled at the same time. You joy in the success of another person even more than your own success.

How’s Your Vision?

Pebbles Family Buffet’s vision statement is this: A reflection of a contented family living by the Truth. It’s simple. It’s stated tastefully. It’s deep food for thought. And, most importantly, it’s reached for every day in their restaurant. If you’re ever in Durham, ON, stop by, try some of their mouthwatering food selections, and experience their vision being lived out.

Today, in the midst of a changing world, it is more important than ever to have your business anchored with a clear vision. Every employee needs to be clear on what the end game looks like. You should be able to confidently believe you’re leading your team with clear vision.

Defining your vision statement is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart. If you’re struggling to get started or if you got stuck part way through, that’s normal. That happened to me too. Most people are not able to do this all by themselves. 

What questions do you have about how to define your vision statement? Reply to this email, and I will answer your questions or give you some tips to help you define your vision statement. 
In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. Proverbs 14:36 KJV

With Courage,
Roy Herr