How an Eagle-Eye Vision Statement Strengthens your Personal Leadership Development
My childhood years come to mind while writing this Leadership Development series….as well as my prayer for eagle-eye vision.
I grew up on a cattle ranch. Not a sprawling, luxurious ranch a movie star buys to escape a crazy life. This was more like a Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-Little-House-on-the-Prairie ranch. Our home was an eight-hundred-square-foot tar-papered homestead shack. Not bad, except that we had no running water. Yes, I used an outhouse every day of my life, until I was thirteen years old. Looking back now, I think – How did we do it!!??
Before Google and social media, I often entertained myself by thumbing through National Geographic, which was packed with exotic, colorful photographs of far-away places, along with exotic animals and birds. This is where I first learned that eagles can see four to five times better than humans. In fact, an eagle can see an object the size of a rabbit from more than three miles away!?
As I grew older, I began to think that my parents might have eagle vision…and I started praying for my own version of eagle-eye vision! At times, my vision of the future seemed so cloudy, disjointed, confusing.
My dad, or “Super Dad” as I call him, worked three jobs to provide for the family and to fuel my parents’ dream and vision of owning a cattle ranch. My mom, aka “Super Mom,” had four children under the age of five. She washed laundry with a wringer washing machine, froze vegetables from the garden, picked berries and made jelly, raised geese, and more. It was a tough, exhausting life.
Many gave up and left those challenging conditions. Not my parents. They had a compellingly positive vision of the future and an unshakable belief that they could make it. They pursued their vision and goals despite physical hardships, financial setbacks, and multiple roadblocks. They had a extra dose of grit – the kind of grit that my Finnish ancestors called Sisu. It kept them grounded and moving forward.
Vision + Grit.
During these unsettling and unstable times, I believe that we need both Vision and grit ourselves.
A Vision Statement can be your eagle-eye vision tool to expand your leadership influence…and to foster the Sisu strength to keep moving forward.
A Personal Vision Statement Helps Overcome Leadership Development Challenges
What is a Personal Vision Statement? And, how do you go about discovering or refining yours? To seeing more clearly?
A Vision or Purpose Statement provides the clarity you need to create a compellingly positive vision for your future. It starts to answer the “what” in this question: What might I do to make a positive impact?
I confess that I’ve struggled to create the “Perfect” Vision Statement.” You can relax! I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a perfect once-in-a-lifetime vision statement. The rule of thumb is – Process, not perfection.
In reality, your Personal Vision Statement may not change much over time. However, it will be tweaked, strengthened, and fine-tuned as you get more insights into who you are and what you’re called to do. And, there are disruptive times in life where your Personal Vision Statement may change more than you anticipated. If that’s the case, that’s okay. It’s all part of the process of creating a strategic plan to overcome your leadership development challenges.
A Leadership Development Vision Statement for Millennials Matter
Writing my own Personal Vision Statement has been a painstaking process. It’s often difficult for me to understand and articulate when I’m really thinking and feeling. The future seems cloudy, disjointed, and confusing. Therefore, during various seasons, I’ve hired an Executive Leadership Coach to be my sounding board.
For example, as I started working on Millennials Matter, I knew this was a project I was called to do. It felt like it fit with my Life Vision, part of an answer to my eagle-eye prayer. However, I had difficulty getting everything succinct. So, I worked with an executive leadership coach to create a Vision Statement for the Millennials Matter Movement.
Thank goodness, he was an excellent wordsmith and could transform my ideas into a tangible, vision-casting statement:
“I energize, encourage, and equip senior business leaders to coach and mentor emerging leaders so that they maximize their business, activate their leaders, and realize their leadership legacy.”
When I get sidetracked by external forces and “shiny objects,” I review my Personal Vision Statement to remind myself, “Oh yes, that’s where I’m supposed to be focusing! That’s my purpose!”
It’s long (which breaks the rules). And, it made sense to me. As my career continues evolving and new doors open, I keep revising this statement…and trying to shorten:-)
And, it’s a reminder to keep asking myself – What might I do to make a positive impact?
Consequences of a Weak Personal Vision and Leadership Development Plan
In Millennials Matter, I write a whole section on the importance of the leadership development strategy of practicing proactive self-care.
The consequences can be devastating when leaders don’t take time to step away from their day-to-day challenges and reflect on their long-term personal vision, including who they are and what they are called to do.
They may appear successful initially, but eventually, the winds of life blow them over. Personal or work relationships might be damaged, or they might struggle with physical or emotional burnout. Though they seem to press forward without incident, it’s unsustainable.
Eventually, the neglected areas of their lives fall apart, and everyone and everything around them gets caught in the wreckage. Have you experienced this in your own leadership journey? Or maybe you saw it play out in another leader’s life? A weak Personal Vision Statement will derail your efforts to expand your leadership influence.
The section in Millennials Matter on Practicing Self-care deals with these challenges. It’s by taking care of these areas of your life that you will be able to soar and expand your vision for your own life, as well as the lives of those you lead:
- Break the Chains of Negative Thinking,
- Dealing with Your Dark Side,
- Setting goals, and
- Developing a Healthy Work-Rest Rhythm.
You can read more about the practical steps you can take in Part 2 of Millennials Matter.
Watch this video for more about A Personal Vision Statement:
Benefits of a Strong Personal Vision and Leadership Development Plan
The more clarity you have on who you are (your gifts, strengths, principles, and unique perspectives), what your values are, and the goals you are pursuing in life, the more adept you will be at standing firm when the noise around you grows louder. You will put your stake in the ground so that everyone knows where they stand with you. This firmness gives others a clear vision of where you are, inviting them to provide clarity about where they are.
To lead well during constant change, and to have the trust needed to coach other leaders, we need to be firmly grounded, rooted, and focused on the future. A Personal Vision Statement will add this clarity and expand your leadership influence.
Here are some of the leadership development benefits you can expect to gain from strengthening your personal Vision Statement:
- Provides Direction
- Improves Motivation
- Gives us purpose
- Describes our calling
- Reminds us of our uniqueness
And, it begins to dispel the cloudiness, disjointedness, and confusion.
Leadership Development Tips for your Personal Vision Statement
To maximize your leadership development impact, consider the following when you write your Personal Vision or Purpose Statement:
- Keep it short and sweet– Your Personal Vision Statement should not be longer than one or two short sentences. Use simple, clear language that even a very young person will understand. If you need inspiration, do a quick Google search to see how the big corporate names have defined their Vision Statements.
- Create Alignment– A Vision Statement should be more than well-defined words on a page. It should be meaningful to you.
- Think forward– Create a Personal Vision Statement that is focused on your plan, purposes, and priorities. Don’t get sidetracked and write something someone else wants you to have. Own it!
With added insights into how you might create your personal Vision Statement, consider these questions…
- Is your Vision Statement energizing you to lead those in your sphere of concern and your sphere of influence?
- Does it provide the clarity you need to create the strategies that seem workable?
Does it also answer the “what” in this question:
What might I do to make a positive impact?
Even though I no longer live on the Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-Little-House-on-the-Prairie ranch, nor read National Geographic regularly, I still pray for eagle-eye vision in those areas where I’m called to be working.
I don’t know if my parents had a formal Personal Vision Statement. What I do know is that they lived and worked with an eagle-eye vision that kept them both grounded in what they believed and moving forward towards reaching their goals. They lived with a hope-filled vision for the future.
How do you feel about your Personal Vision Statement?
Reminder – don’t aim to create the “Perfect” Vision Statement. Progress – not perfection. Focus on your purpose. Discover who you are and what you were created to do. Then you will expand your leadership influence and positively impact everyone you lead.
Read the Introduction to these articles here:
In the next article in this series, discover how to create a Personal Values Statement to improve leadership development.
Leadership Development Lesson: Create a Vision Statement that will enable you to lead well during constant change, and to be firmly grounded, rooted, and focused on the future.
Leadership Development Question: What needs to change in your Vision Statement to maximize your leadership development impact?
Here are the links to all the articles in this series:
- How Eagle-Eye Vision, Values and Virtues Improve your Leadership Development Initiatives
- How an Eagle-Eye Vision Statement Strengthens your Personal Leadership Development
- Create a Personal Values Statement to Soar Your Leadership Development
- How to Utilize Virtues to Expand Your Leadership Development Efforts