Your Life is a Blank Canvas! How will you paint it?


For the past two weeks, I have been discussing the power of writing a personal vision statement. Two weeks ago I shared how my vision pulled me toward my destiny, and last week I shared the process I use in order to help students understand the importance of writing a personal vision statement.

This week, I am sharing questions that will assist you in discovering your passion as well as questions for writing a personal vision statement.

Passion precedes your vision!

Before you describe the perfect life you want to live in the future, you must first know what you are passionate about. When I left Procter & Gamble 12 years ago, one of the most common comments I heard from my co-workers at the time was how much they admired the fact that I knew what my passion was.  Many of them said they were not happy at P&G, but they did not know what they would do if they left P&G because they had no idea what their passion was.

One of the most common questions I continue to hear from people is, “How do I figure out what my passion is?”

If you are one of those people, the answers to the following questions will help you determine your passion:

  1. If you never had to work another day in your life, how would you spend your time instead of working? What would you do for free if money were not an issue? 
  2. When your life is ending, what will you regret not doing, seeing or achieving?
  3. If you won $10 million and had to give it all away (and you cannot give it to family members), where would you give it?
  4. What is the one cause or problem in the world that burdens your heart?
Discovering your passion may be the easy part and it is definitely just the beginning. Though I always knew I was passionate about working with youth, that passion did not necessarily translate into a picture of how I envisioned spending the rest of my life.

Initially, I made the process harder than it needed to be by trying to think of a life that someone else was living that matched my passion. I thought I had to see it in order to be it. In essence, I was attempting to paint an original picture based on a picture I had already seen. 
I finally realized the goal was to create the picture of a perfect life, not reproduce a picture/life I had seen someone else living. So I picked up my paintbrush and began to paint on a blank canvas with only the thoughts in my head as my guide. And you will need to do the same.

An empty canvas is full. ~Robert Raucschenberg

As you write your vision statement, be as detailed and descriptive as possible. Project out 10 or 15 years and write the vision in present tense, as if it is currently happening.

Answers to the following questions will help guide you in writing your personal vision statement:

•   How do you feel about your life?

•   What does your family look like?

•   What kind of work do you do?

•   How much money do you make each year?

•   Your typical day consists of what activities?

•   What are your biggest accomplishments?

•   What fears have you overcome?

•   What are you grateful for?

•   How are you making a difference in the world?

After you have written your personal vision statement, you should keep it in a place where you can see it every day so that you constantly remind yourself of the vision you have for your life. Your future decisions should all be based on whether they will move you closer to your vision or further from your vision.

Having a personal vision statement will not only inspire but also empower you. In the words of James Lane Allen,

The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart – this you will build your life by, and this you will become.

I would love to hear about your experiences with writing a personal vision statement. Please share them below!

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