What’s YOUR Personal Vision and Mission?
I’ve had the privilege of attending several principal breakfasts co-hosted by Damelin and Seartec as part of an initiative to show that Damelin has a fantastic range of courses and degrees available to students. One of the breakfasts that really stood out for me, was the breakfast hosted at the Premier Hotel by the Pretoria Damelin Team. Yusuf Essack (the General Manager of Damelin Pretoria City) spoke about the importance of the vision and mission of your company and how it defines who the company is and where they are going.
But, what about your personal vision and mission? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years’ time? What do you want to do with your life? What is important to you? And what makes you happy? As a student in grade 11 and 12 (and even as a teacher) you have so much pressure on you to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. I’m sure you have discussed it with your life orientation teacher, with your parents, with your friends and with a few random strangers; and everyone seems to have a different idea for where you belong; which can be both confusing and frustrating.
That is why a personal vision and mission statement is so important for you. But what are vision and mission statements?
Your vision is your ultimate destination – where do you want to go, what do you want to do in your perfect future? It is your long-term goal. It should be both realistic and achievable; and it should be clear and unambiguous. For example, as a grade 12 learner this year who enjoys mathematics, your vision for 5 years’ time might be to have completed your degree in actuarial studies as well as your honors and found a job with a company that you admire.
A mission statement defines where you are now and what your purpose is. It tells you how you are going to achieve your vision by listing the short-term goals in order to get to your vision. It is your road map or plan to get from the here and now to the future you envision. It may change depending on things that happen to you along the way. It helps to guide your day-to-day decisions and actions. It isa list of the main objectives or the stepping stones to reach your ultimate vision. Continuing from the example of the vision in the previous paragraph, the grade 12 learner’s mission might be to complete matric with a level 7 (80% or above) in mathematics and to apply to a university that offers actuarial science studies. Further, they will work hard and be dedicated to their school (and later on their varsity) work in order to achieve their best possible results.
Your vision and mission statement shape how you react to your environment. For example, if you are invited to a crazy party on Friday night but you have a maths test on the Monday morning you might choose not to go to the party because you know it will not help you to achieve your long-term goal of getting a level 7 for mathematics. Your vision and mission help to put things into perspective – they allow you to see the bigger picture. By outlining your vision you are defining what success looks like to you and by stating your mission you know what your goals, values and purpose are – it lets you see who you would ideally like to be.
In an article written on Liquid Planner (link below in the references) Susanne Madsen outlines the steps for writing your own personal vision and mission statement. The first step is to answer the following questions:
- What are the qualities that you most like about yourself and want to highlight?
- How can you use these qualities in your situation?
- What are the most important values to you that you would like to display?
The second step is to imagine where you would like to be in 5 years’ time. Imagine what that will look and feel like. Imagine where you will be living and what your job will be. If you want to start your own company – imagine how big your company will be, what service or item you will be selling or offering and what kind of people will be working for you. Once you have imagined all of this, write a summary of everything you have imagined. Finally, from this summary, write down your vision (where do you want to be in 5 years’ time) and your mission (what you will do to get to that vision). You may refine this several times before you feel like it is perfect. Susanne also suggests that you update your vision and mission once every 6 months, and particularly now in this phase of your life where circumstances and environments change often. The learner in our example might discover that actuarial sciences is not really for him or her after the first term at university and might change his or her degree to something else.
So, what is your vision? What is your mission? Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years’ time? And how will you get there? But don’t worry if you are not sure yet, there is still plenty of time to decide – don’t rush your decision, take your time and decide where YOU want to be in the future.