“So tell me, where do you see yourself in five years?” I’ve always had distain for that frequently asked and totally uninspired interview question. After all, it’s not about the next five years--it’s about your whole life! The question should be, “What kind of impact do you want to make in the world and how do you want to be recognized for it?”
The only way to give a thoughtful response to that question is to sit down and imagine what you really want for your career and then craft a succinct vision statement that sums up your audacious dream so that it can take flight.
Having a vision statement can give your career a clear picture. It can serve as an inspiration and framework for decision making and planning. The purpose of your vision statement is to stretch boundaries and comfort zones--empowering you to have a sense of what can be.
The vision statement answers the question, “Where do I want to go?” and it delivers a cosmic view of possibilities. It can be uncharted and far-reaching--even far-fetched. What it can never be is small-minded and laced with fear.
Marianne Williamson once said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
The most successful companies in the world write vision statements. When the statement is short and memorable, it can lead the company to do incredible, sometimes unthinkable things. Case in point, look at what Microsoft wrote for their vision statement back in the 1980’s:
"A computer in every home running Microsoft software." This vision statement may have seemed unattainable to most people back then. In fact, I’m sure there were employees inside the company who were afraid of the largesse of the task. Yet it served as a North Star that has driven Microsoft's success to this day.
Whether it’s Ford’s vision, “To become the world's leading consumer company for automotive products and services,” or Nike’s vision, “To be the No. 1 athletic company in the world,” there’s a sense of fearlessness--of destiny--as if planting your flag and liberating yourself is to say, “This is who I am and this is how far I can go.”
It’s time to look ahead and set an intention--a new vision for your life. Different from your mission, which answers why you do what you do, your vision statement sets in motion your career destiny. It should be so big you feel a little scared just writing it down, but do it anyway. Then surround yourself with the right people who will cheer you on as you say “yes” to opportunities that will manifest your vision.
Write a vision statement to achieve your dream and you’ll inspire the energy within yourself to get it done.
Robin Fisher Roffer is a leading brand strategist and reinvention specialist. Founder and CEO of Big Fish Marketing, she is the author of Make A Name For Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs To Create A Personal Brand Strategy For Success, The Fearless Fish Out Of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You, and Reinventing Yourself: 10 Steps To Shifting Your Career Into High Gear. Learn about her Reinvent Yourself! Workshops at http://relevanceinstitute.com/