Do you have a vision?

I recently underwent an exercises which came from a book called The One Thing. The exercise asked for the following:

  • What is your someday goal?
  • Based on your someday goal what is the One Thing you can do in the next 5 years to be on track to achieve it?
  • Based on your five year goal what is the One Thing you can do this year to be on track to achieve it?
  • Based on your one year goal what is the One Thing you can do this month to be on track to achieve it?
  • Based on your one month goal what is the One Thing you can do this week to be on track to achieve it?
  • Based on your one week goal what is the One Thing you can do today to be on track to achieve it?

It is I think a valuable exercise. The problem that I had was that I wasn’t sure what my someday goal was. Sadly I don’t think I had ever encapsulated in my mind what my someday goal really was. And my someday goal is my vision. It is something that I am working on now and I am beginning to clarify it. I definitely don’t want to be as Helen Keller said the most pathetic person in the room!


When I started blogging more seriously at the beginning of this year I wrote a post on how to find your purpose.

What is Your Purpose

In that post I looked at a Ted talk on how to find your purpose by answering the following questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What do you love to do? Or in one word what is the one thing you feel supremely qualified to teach other people to do?
  • Who do you do it for?
  • What do they want or need?
  • How do they change as a result of what you give them?

And this gives you a sentence that essentially sums up who you are.

Now some would say that your purpose should cross over all areas of your life. I like this concept of the five balls of life and so for me my purpose is developed from the following:

  • Work purpose
  • Family purpose
  • Health purpose
  • Friend’s purpose
  • Spiritual purpose

What is the Difference between Vision and Purpose

A purpose is something that defines who you are and what you are here to do.

A vision is what you want to do and to become. It should I believe be a stretch goal. In the book built to last this was referred to as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, which is a term I like.

Possibly one of the finest examples of Vision and Purpose with a mission thrown in for good measure, can be read in this speech from Churchill:

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.

So what is your Vision?

Do you know? If this is something you are struggling with then I would suggest the exercise I mentioned from the One Thing. It is a powerful exercise in how to define your vision.

As to which is more powerful for me it has to be the purpose. Without it it is hard to find your vision.

And for a more business specific look at vision purpose and mission, take a look at this article from the Harvard Business Review: Your company’s purpose is not it’s vision, mission or values.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Time spent writing: 40 minutes
Time from start to finish: 2 hours
Time editing: 15 minutes
Happy with result: 5