Yesterday, we worked to make our vision statement a little bit more concrete, moving from broad notions of achievement and accomplishment and into the moments of our lives.

Take a moment and look at your mind map, then write up a simple summary on the first page of the guide.

Bam. 1/3 of your strong vision statement, DONE.

This alone will amp up the power of our vision’s magnet.

But if you want to turn it into a rare earth magnet (the strongest magnet on the planet!) then we have to add the “Why.”

Simon Sinek rose to internet fame when his TedX talk How great leaders inspire action received 49 million views. In his talk, Simon helps us to realize that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

His point is that leading others – either through thought leadership for your following, or through direct leadership for people who work for you – comes down to whether people agree with your deeper values.

Let’s say that I was shopping for a business coach and I come across two:

  • Coach A has a few more years of experience, an additional certification, and slightly better availability. Her website touts: “Coach A helps entrepreneurs stop leaving money on the table. You can extract sales from your existing clients with no additional effort to you!”
  • Coach B is a little less experienced and isn’t available during mornings, a key available time for me. Her website says that she “helps entrepreneurs build a client base of raving fans who will become your best referral partners.”

With whom will I book a call?

Well, given that I am a what we call a “heart-centered entrepreneur” who works in partnership with her clients to build authentic and meaningful change, I am already annoyed at the idea of “extracting” money from clients without offering anything in return.

So, despite the fact that Coach A looks like a better fit on paper, I’m going with Coach B.

That is Simon’s point, and it’s a good one.

I think there is a very interesting translation to personal development here, too. It turns out that YOU don’t buy what you do, YOU buy why you do it.

And you NEED to be convinced!

I mean, who needs to buy what you do more than you?

No one.

Because if you aren’t buying it, you will end up in cycles of defensive failure, setting intentions and then procrastinating. You’ll get nowhere, and begin to doubt yourself and your ability to do “anything right.”

Let’s avoid that, shall we?

What kind of why will convince you?

When you find yourself with a great idea and a penchant for procrastination, you need to beef up your why.

I’ve found that there are three categories of why that need to align for your vision to get off the ground.

We need to know:

  • What’s in it for me?
  • What’s in it for we?
  • What’s in it for the “one”?

Find the page in your workbook that has this Venn Diagram and let’s do some reflection:

What’s in it for me?

There seem to be two kinds of people in the world – those who are totally fine wanting things for themselves, and those who writhe in agony every time they are forced to express what they want.

Have you noticed this?

If my husband wants the rest of my steak and I leave the table for a nanosecond to get some Worcestershire sauce (FOR THE STEAK), I’ll come back to him chewing and no steak.

“What? You were done!”

And then there’s me, craving stir-fry and hedging my bets “So what do you want? Do you like stir fry? Do you feel like stir fry? Would you mind stir fry?”

What is that about?

And, listen I am NOT some shrinking violet. I’m sort of famous for arguing with the people I’m supposed to defer to….I once got into a hollering contest in the hallway with my constitutional law professor. People talked about it for years.

But making an outright declaration that I want what I want just because I want it, sets my inner critic on fire. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU CAN’T JUST SAY THAT WHAT WILL EVERYONE THINK STOP IT NOW”

And yet, we need to have a strong, concrete vision which involves stating unequivocally and with passion what we WANT.

What to do?

First, get over it. You need to look out for you. It’s OK for you to want more money, more clients, more adoration, more fans, more adventure, more friends, and more fun.

(I’m saying this to me, too!)

Writing in the yellow circle on the venn diagram, ponder:

Why do YOU want this? What’s in it for you? What do you want simply because you want it?

Acknowledge this.

Honor this…what YOU want matters.

What’s in it for we?

Who do you think of when you say “we?” For me, it’s my husband and kids. For a dear friend of mine, it’s her dog. For another, it’s her fully extended family. And for a city friend of mine, it’s her close-knit friends.

Your “we” is worth protecting and providing for! How does your “we” benefit from your vision coming true?

Take note of that in the blue circle on the venn diagram.

What’s in it for one?

If you’ve ever whispered to your God or the universe in a small but courageous voice “I want to change the world,” who were you talking about? Was it about offering more therapeutic support to veterans in your community? Was it about providing networking events to raise a new generation of entrepreneurs in your region? Was it about changing the national conversation about how we raise our boys?

The world needs changing, there’s no question. And what you have to offer is so valuable.

Consider: How does the world (defined in any way that sets your heart alight) benefit when your vision comes true?

Write those thoughts in the pink bubble in the venn diagram.

Take a moment and summarize your thinking, and transfer it to your strong vision statement.

Look at you! 2/3 Of the way to creating a rare earth magnet out of your vision statement. 🙂

2 stars for you!

how to write a vision statement for your business

Psychologists call these “competing commitments” and they wreak all kinds of havoc on the pursuit of our goals. We’ll talk about those tomorrow!

Until then!

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how to establish a long-term vision for your business

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.