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How to write a personal vision statementHow to write a personal vision statementHow to write a personal vision statement

How to write a personal vision statement

What is a personal vision statement?

A personal vision statement is a brief description of what you want to accomplish, both personally a professionally. It serves as your north star when making important decisions and planning how to achieve your goals. Just as a company vision it's own the north star, so too, a similar statement for your personal and professional growth provides key guidance on where to focus your time and energy in order to realize your aspirations.

Some of the key benefits of a personal vision statement:

  • Helps you align your personal and professional goals
  • Provides a sense of purpose and direction, encouraging you to be focused on what really matters
  • Empowers you to be intentional when making challenging decisions
  • Serves as a concrete checkpoint as you progress on your journey

How to write a personal vision statement

Sit down with some pen, paper, in a quiet space to start capturing key information that will help you write your vision statement. Answer as many questions as possible about who you want to become and what you want to achieve. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What motivates me to do my job? Why this job/function as opposed to another?
  2. What difference in the world around me do I want to make (and why)? What is really driving me?
  3. What am I passionate about? What brings me the most amount of joy?
  4. What values do I have that guide me in the way I show up in the world. Which ones are the most important and non-negotiable?
  5. What am I good at that I want to continue doing? What things do I do that benefit me/my team/my product the most?
  6. What 3-5 words capture the essence of who I am and what I do?
  7. What do I want to get better at to benefit myself/my team/my product (and why)?
  8. In (1 year, 3 years, etc), how do I want to be different from today?
  9. Review your answers and see what is really resonating with you. If you've done the exercise with post-it notes, you can even do some affinity mapping to see if there are patterns emerging.
  10. Write a 20-40 word statement that encapsulates who you want to become. The statement should be short and punchy. Something you can remember fairly easily on a moments notice when you really need it. Much longer than 40 word and you'll loose the essence of your goals in a sea of words.

How to evaluate your personal vision statement

There is no exact right way to craft an effective personal vision statement, as this is a very personal exercise. But there are some indicators that you have created something valuable and useful. You'll know you've got it right when:

  • The end statement feels unique to you. If you can read the statement and say "this could be about anyone", try again. Having a colleague or close friend read the statement and confirm if it feels like it's about you is a good indicator that you've got it right.
  • You read the statement and you are inspired and feel a sense of urgency to get going. This is when you know you've dug deep enough to find what really drives you and gives you purpose.
  • The statement tests well against recent decisions. Think of a recent big decision you've already made, but consider how well the vision statement could have guided you. Would you have changed the decision now in hindsight? Would following the vision statement have created a better outcome for you?

Once you've written a personal vision statement, try keeping it up on the wall or somewhere close by in your work environment, so you can refer to it often and use it to  keep you focused on what matters most to you, and your future.

Good luck!

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Robin Zaragoza

Founder and CEO at The Product Refinery, Robin has been working in tech for 20 years and delivering product for the last 15 of those at companies of various sizes, from early stage start-ups where she was the first product manager, to large publicly traded companies where she led teams of product managers.

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