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Your Life in One Sentence: The Power of Vision

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Many people think they know the vision for their life, but they confuse it with objectives like wanting to make a certain amount of money or achieve a certain job title. Other people only have a general idea that is not well defined—like “I want to help people.” A life of freedom and fulfilment requires a clearly defined vision that encompasses your entire life, not just your work. Your vision is the glue that holds together all of your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly objectives for your life.

Not being able to state your vision in a single sentence is like trying to navigate without a compass. Your vision is your guide. Without it, you cannot expect to achieve your desired outcomes in a timely or efficient manner. So let’s take a deeper look at what vision is and how to craft a vision statement.

Your Life Sentence

Former Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce, who later became an ambassador and author, was concerned that President John F. Kennedy was stretching himself too thin and setting himself up for disappointment and defeat. She reportedly told him that the lives of all great men could be summed up in one sentence. She called that their “life sentence.”

For example, can you tell me who she was talking about when she said the following: He preserved the Union and freed the slaves.

Or how about this: He lifted us out of the great depression and helped us win a world war.

Now, whether you agree with those statements or are a political fan of those people, you probably know who those sentences describe: Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, respectively. That one sentence defines that person’s life and legacy. That brings us to vision.

It is absolutely vital in living a life of freedom and fulfilment that you have a clear, compelling, and defined vision statement for your life. Whether you’re going to die twenty minutes from right now or twenty years from now, if the person delivering your eulogy is only allotted one sentence, what is the one sentence you would want them to say that sums up your life or legacy? What is your life sentence? That’s what a vision statement is.

When I do workshops, invariably there is one person (usually a man) who shouts out that he would want to be said of him at his funeral that “He worked his ass off.” Really? That’s what you want the members of your surviving family, your wife, your kids, your grandkids to know about you?

My father had an incredible career saving the world and working on a space program, but at his wake, nobody really talked about his career. Instead, he was defined by his role as a husband, a father, a volunteer in the community.

That’s what freedom and fulfilment are all about. It’s about a vision statement that doesn’t just define you by your work, job title, or paycheck, but defines you by your role as a family member, your relationships, and, yes, your work. That’s why it’s so important to have that clearly defined vision statement.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

Purpose + Impact = Vision

Your vision statement is the desired outcome you want for your life. A lot of people ask me if a vision statement is the same as purpose. I used to think it was the same, but after working with hundreds of people around the world and from my own experience, I have come to believe that vision is bigger than purpose. In fact, a compelling vision statement combines your purpose for living with the impact you want to make on the world.

As an example, here’s my vision statement: To save the world by helping individuals fight for lives of freedom and fulfilment.

This vision statement combines my purpose for living—helping individuals fight for lives of freedom and fulfilment—with the impact I want to make on the world—saving it (yes, I have big goals). 

My vision statement doesn’t just apply to my work; it applies to my relationships and myself. Whether it’s how I live my life, how we raise our kids, how I build my business, or how I coach my clients, my vision statement provides a guiding star—that destination on a map where I want to end up.

Some people are convinced that you should have multiple vision statements in your life. But they’re confusing vision with objectives. Having yearly objectives, and maybe five and ten year objectives, is important. For example, when you’re in your twenties, perhaps you think your vision is to make partner and earn $100,000 a year. Then when you get in your thirties, you think your vision is to find your mate, get married, and have kids. Those aren’t visions; they’re actually not even purposes. Those are objectives.

It’s critical to have those objectives, but if you go through life from objective to objective without a clear and compelling vision that serves as the glue to hold them together, you are going to find yourself lost. You are going to hit the wall—whether it’s in your thirties, forties, fifties, or beyond—and have that feeling that you don’t know what you were put on this earth to do.

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Questions to Help You Craft Your Vision Statement

So you may be thinking, “Well, coming up with my purpose and impact and a compelling vision is easier said than done.” And you’re absolutely right. It takes time and deep reflection to craft your vision statement.

To help you get started, here are some questions to think about:

  • What are your strengths? How are you leveraging them? How do you wish you could leverage them?
  • What are those one or two things you would want to be said about you at your funeral that would make you feel that you passed on a lasting, fulfilling legacy?
  • What things, people, and activities make you feel the most passionate?
  • Where would you like to be in five years? Ten years? Twenty-five years?
  • If you found out you only had one week left to live, what are the one or two things you wish you would have done by now, but haven’t?
  • How does your vision align with your strengths? And on that last note, when you look at your strengths, how can you use them to help achieve your vision?
  • When you come up with your vision, is it one that is going to allow you to use those strengths every day to achieve it?

Chart Your Course

Whenever you take a trip, you usually know the destination you want to go to, while also having milestones and landmarks in between. Whenever my family and I drive back to Chicago, I plot out our rest stops, perhaps where we’re going to stay overnight. Those rest stops and temporary stays are objectives, but I also have a clear idea of where I want to go. That’s what it means to live an outcomes-focused life. 

Your vision statement is your destination. It is the thing that defines your path and all your objectives leading you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. 

Without a vision statement, you will wander aimlessly, perhaps ending up far from where you want to be. With a vision statement, you can instead move toward a life of freedom and fulfilment.

We’d love to hear what your vision is for your life. If you’d like, please share it with us below!

Curt Mercadante is an international speaker, coach, trainer, and disruptive entrepreneur whose mission is to save the world by helping people fight for lives of freedom and fulfillment. Curt's speeches and training empower individuals to live their Freedom Lifestyle, and he also hosts the popular Freedom Club Podcast. Raised in the Chicago area, he and his wife, Julie, now live in Charleston, South Carolina, with their four children, when they aren't traveling the world. Curt is a diehard fan of the White Sox, a superhero nerd, and can frequently be found at his local boxing gym.

Life

How to Write a Personal Destiny Statement in 3 Steps

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We all have a God-given destiny to fulfill that we were each born with. I personally believe it is buried deep down within us. The number one secret to success is to let it emerge out of you and release it to the world. What is my destiny you may ask? It is the thing you would regret not doing before leaving Planet Earth. (more…)

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Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

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Life

6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

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Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

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