Creating your Career Vision

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When you create both a personal mission statement and a career vision statement, you finish with one document that explains who you are now and another document that paints a picture of you at some future point. What’s left is building the ladder that gets you from today to that future. Without a career vision statement, you’re passively letting fate or inertia push you through life rather than taking a proactive approach. So how do you go about creating a career vision statement? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to creating a career vision statement that inspires and energizes you.

1. Carve out a chunk of time. Career visioning cannot — and should not — be rushed. It’s also something that may take several efforts and false starts before things begin to clear and you start getting a grasp of your ideal future.

2. Review your mission statement and core values. While you can certainly create a vision for your future without reviewing these career planning tools, it helps to examine who you are now and what drives you today. [Learn more about creating amission statement and about understanding your core values.]

3. Suspend logic and pragmatic thinking. Remember that with a career vision anything should be possible, so find a way to turn off any negative vibes or logic filters that will block you from thinking big. Don’t assume the future is locked to what is happening today.

4. Try one or more of these visioning exercises to help get your creative juices flowing. Think deeply about the question(s) and answer each as authentically as you can: something you can aspire to — and that should inspire you — regardless of where you are now and the distance between the present and your vision. By putting your vision into words, you begin to set in motion a process through which you will eventually achieve your goal.

A career vision statement opens your eyes to what is possible and gives you something tangible to move toward. Unlike a career or personal mission statement, which focuses on who you are now, a career vision statement is about crafting a mental image of the future you. A career vision statement describes the absolute peak of where you envision yourself in your career — not necessarily your current career, but the career you really want, the career that will completely fulfill you. Your career vision statement is the goal you want for your career — and it should be something that inspires, energizes, motivates, and directs you.

Remember when you were a kid and adults used to ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? Are you still searching for the answer to that question years or decades later? Are you happy with your career, but feeling unfulfilled — like you’re missing something? Are you unhappy with your career, but don’t feel very inspired or that you have many options?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps what you need is to put your mind to creating a career vision for your life that brings into focus a fulfilling career. A career vision is a statement about what you want to achieve in your career — the major accomplishments you hope to attain, the level or position you hope to rise to, and the lasting impacts you hope to make. A career vision statement is very much “big picture” thinking. It should be.