The Long Way From Vision To Reality
When I was still an employee, and job changes were imminent, I was often asked in interviews about my goals: “What do you want to have achieved in 5 years?” In the beginning, it was easy: “Senior Consultant”, then “Project Manager”, later “Program Manager”.
But at some point, I had reached my goals, and answering the question became difficult. So I asked myself whether I had the right goals. I had achieved them, but was not happy and had no idea for further goals.
The problem was that I had concentrated on obvious goals without questioning why they were my goals.
To pursue the right goals, it is essential to ask yourself why you want to reach these goals.
It all starts with a vision. A vision serves us as a signpost in which direction we want to strive and how we want to live. The vision reflects our purpose. It also helps us to find the right goals for ourselves more easily. With the vision, we clarify the “Why” for ourselves.
When defining one’s vision, there is a danger of confusing it with goals. “To become the manager of a medium-sized company” or a “dream house on a lake” may sound unfulfillable, and you may think it is a vision. But what if you have actually achieved it? Then you will set yourself new goals. So it would be best if you had something overriding to guide you in defining your goals. It is more of a feeling.
Examples of visions are
- I want to live a happy life and do good.
- I want to feel and express a “source of the power of love” within me.
- We want to be the happiest family in the world.
Visions are a guiding star by which one can orient oneself.
Based on the vision, you can then define goals. These goals can still be abstract because they will be broken down further in the next steps. Concentrate on the three most important goals first. The goals should be measurable because only then will you know if you have reached them.
Objectives could be then be e.g.
- A house on a lake.
- See more of the world — travel to South America and Asia in the next five years.
- Earn 100,000 USD per year.
When defining them, it is also essential to check if they match your vision. For example, if your vision is “I want to live a happy life and do good”, something would be missing. Maybe a goal like “1/2 year volunteering in South America” would be more appropriate.
Now you need a strategy to achieve the goals. The strategy defines the target state, which makes it possible to reach the goals. In the example mentioned above, income seems to play an important role. A condition in which achievement of the goals is possible would therefore be an appropriate position.
Depending on where one is in life at the moment, there could be, for example, the following strategies:
- Starting a medical degree,
- Starting a business,
- Working as a managing director.
Strategy means thinking in alternative target images — in possible target states, of which you select the most attractive.
If you define strategies, check whether they actually contribute to the achievement of objectives. Think about as many options as possible and then decide on precisely one strategy.
The next step is about tactics. Tactics are concrete actions that bring you closer to your target state.
If you have decided on the strategy “Start a business”, these could be
- Create a business plan,
- Select legal form,
- Procure starting capital,
- Registration, etc.
Planning and Doing
When it is clear what you need to do, it is a matter of planning and doing. These process steps involve prioritizing and planning the to-dos. But the most important thing is to get down to work.
Success has two letters: Do (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
If you proceed in this way, you can be sure that you are acting in line with your vision. Inspect and adapt regularly because goals and the vision can change, or you need to adjust your strategy.