How to create your vision for 2021/2022 (no matter what the past year dealt you)

During the month of December 2021, AMBITION will be highlighting its top 25 most-read articles of the year in reverse order, in the form of a thought leadership advent calendar. Here’s what is behind today’s door.

The new year is the perfect time for new beginnings – and the same is true of the financial new year, which for many starts in April, and gives us an opportunity to plan for the year ahead, says Dustin Hillis

Originally published 17 March 2021.

Whether you’re making a (financial) new year’s resolution or pivoting your business strategy in 2021, the first step is creating a vision. Vision is like fuel for your life. When you cast a compelling vision, you generate energy, excitement, and endurance.

Vision is the ability to see a future that hasn’t yet happened. It’s defining what your life and business will look like when you move forward with purpose. Having a clear picture of what you want helps you start living as if your vision was already real.

Big-picture tasks like defining your vision can be powerful, but they can also feel overwhelming, which is why many of us overlook this step. Without vision, however, you’ll lack direction and focus. You’ll let things happen to you instead of being proactive. If you want to redefine possible for the New Year, you need to take the time to create a vision that will shine a light on your path.

Look to the past and present

Before you can have vision, you need focus and ownership. We define focus as the state of being intentional and proactive—giving 100 percent of everything we’ve got in the moment. It can be a big challenge for most of us, yet it is the only reason anyone accomplishes anything of significance.

Ownership is holding yourself to the highest possible standard. Taking responsibility for your past actions—good and bad—will give you a sense of control for laying the foundation for future achievements. You can’t make a plan for the future if you don’t own your past.

Complete the vision worksheet

Since vision is intangible, it can help to turn it into something concrete. Grab a pencil and paper, and make three lists: be, do, have. The ‘be-do-have’ model is something that Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, and other great motivational speakers have talked about for decades. Create your lists by asking yourself these questions:

  • Who do you want to be? Write down ten characteristics that detail the person you want to be. What features or traits do you want to possess? This is the essence of what and who you are as a person.
  • What do you want to do? Next, make a list of ten things you want to do. Think about where you want to go, what you want to achieve, or even what awards you want to win. Go crazy with these and think big. This should be fun!
  • What do you want to have? Finally, think of ten things you want to have. While your ‘be’ and ‘do’ lists are most important, ‘haves’ will help you clarify your goals. Let your imagination flow and be specific and vivid.

It’s essential to make these lists in order of ‘be,’ ‘do,’ and ‘have.’ It’s tempting to jump in with the ‘haves,’ but those will be the direct result of the qualities, habits, actions, and intellect you possess. You need to decide what type of person you want to be and then do the actions that kind of person does so you can gain the things you want to have.

Create a vision board

Once you’ve made your lists, bring your words to life with images you place on a vision board. A visual representation can motivate you for living your life on purpose. Images can be quotes, words, or pictures—anything that gets you fired up about working toward your vision.

Sometimes people page through magazines and find pictures that catch their eye, but that’s letting a magazine define your vision for you. Instead, find images that represent each item on your ‘be-do-have’ list. Be as detailed as possible. Consider the people, tasks, and emotions that accompany a particular vision or goal.

Once you’ve found those images, combine them in a meaningful way. Then keep your vision board somewhere you can see it every day so that your vision is literally within sight, helping you focus on what is important to you.

Write your vision statement

After you write your ‘be-do-haves’ and create your vision board, crystalise it with a personal vision statement. This statement will help you articulate your destiny—why you were put on this planet.

For example, my vision statement is, ‘God gives me all strength, courage, and confidence. And with God anything is possible. He is the provider of all good things. My life mission and what God has called me to do is to help others reach their God-given potential every day.’

Ron Alford, my coauthor, has this vision statement: ‘I live my life to empower people, rise above adversity, overcome fear, and know what it truly means to serve others. Through a lifelong commitment to be the example, I will do my best to lead others, just as my Creator leads me.’

Write your vision statement and post it where you can see it. It will become a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals because it’s proof that you believe your life has purpose.

The more you focus on your vision, the more you will become your vision. Having a vision means having a plan. Once you’ve formed yours, you can live with intentionality for the year ahead.

Dustin Hillis is the chief executive officer of Southwestern Family of Companies, a global direct sales conglomerate comprised of over 20 businesses in over a dozen industries. Additionally he serves at the co-founder of Southwestern Consulting, one of the fastest-growing sales and leadership coaching and training companies in the world. He is the co-author of Redefining Possible: Proven Strategies to Break Belief Barriers and Create Your New Normal. You can learn more at: www.redefiningpossible.com.

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