You personal vision statement is a set of words which explains your life’s purpose. It takes time, thought, prayer and effort, but it IS possible to tap into that deeper knowing: “What exactly are you here on earth for?”
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This post was originally released in June 2017, and updated in June 2018.
A New Season on the Horizon!
After a very long time being a Stay At Home Mother (SAHM) I knew my life was about to change. A lot. This post tells you what happened, and how I got over the line with a new outlook on my life as I transitioned from full-time mother into the next thing.
It’s funny how your mind plays tricks on you. Like it or not, the fact that my mother died young always made me dread the thought that, one day, my young children might also lose me. My vision was to soak up those early childhood days, and be there for them for as much as I could.
This is why, waaay back, when I was first a mother, I made a strong commitment to delay returning to work until after my youngest began school. I was blessed that my husband whole-heartedly supported my decision to be a SAHM, even though his mother had returned to work when he was just a little-tacker. She was a Work Out of Home Mother (WOHM).
I have to say though, that when I was a mother-of-one, my noble decision to be a SAHM seemed to be a relatively short-term decision. I thought perhaps it might be five or six years before working again, maybe a little longer.
How Naïve was I!
In my wildest dreams, I never expected we would have five children. But we did.
And I never imagined my child-bearing years would spread out over 12 years. But they were.
Which meant I ran a marathon of being home with pre-schoolers for 17 years! It makes me shudder to think of that. But it was the season we were in, and you just do it, don’t you?
Those years made me appreciate how difficult motherhood is. It’s a job that needs many qualities, including unending patience, constant love, a sense of humor, and plenty of friends to share the journey.
When my youngest child started kindergarten, I knew my SAHM days were coming to an end. I started thinking about the next phase of my life. My husband was great, and encouraged me to think about options and possibilities. Always an early riser, I began to get up even earlier to deliberately write in my journal, read my Bible, pray, plan and prepare.
As I reflected, I had a thought that kept coming back to me again and again. Every day it would whisper in my head: “Surely there is more to life than being a mother of five great kids. Surely.”
I know being a mother is an amazing adventure. In fact, it’s a critically important job. But there is more. There is always MORE.
The HOW: Write Your Personal Vision Statement
Two questions came to my attention:
1.What is my purpose in my life? OR What has God got me here on earth for?
This was a biggie. I had come to realise that between two important dates – my birth date, and the day I die – there spans my lifetime. It’s my time to do the things God has prepared in advance for me to do. What were those things? How could I make a difference? Would my life mean anything after I was gone? How could I leave a legacy for my children?
2. What would I do if there were no possibility of failure?
This is such an expansive question. It made me think beyond my own limitations, and ask with a little bit of excitement, “What do I really want to do?” What makes me get excited? Where do I want to make an impact? What are my strengths and weaknesses?
The answers to these questions tapped into some of my heart’s desires, and ultimately, what I was built for.
What does this mean for you?
Your response to those two questions will be different to mine. Our life journeys are very different. For one thing, I was a grief-stricken 16-year-old with no mother who called out, “God! Why me?” My story, and my brokenness, are unique. And so is my purpose. So when you come to write your personal vision statement, it too will be very different.
You too will have a back-story, and this is where you are special – no matter how good, or bad, that story is, God has a unique purpose for your life. He made you with a combination of gifts and abilities which are once-off. I don’t know what your life’s calling is, but I DO know your purpose is exactly suited to your experiences, talents and calling.
And I DO know, there’s MORE than you think. That’s why it’s so helpful write your personal vision statement.
Here’s how I tackled the challenge: Write Your Personal Vision Statement
Dealing with Question 1.
- What is God’s purpose for my life?
A devotional book I was reading encouraged me several times to “write your personal vision statement”. I kept avoiding the question. “Nah – don’t wanna do that today.” And then one morning, I took up the challenge.
I’d been busy though, because during previous weeks, I’d collected fave Bible verses in the back of my journal, and I went through and selected a couple that really resonated with me.
Proverbs 3:5, 6 . . . This one was good
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 22: 6 . . . But this one really got me going
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
As I journalled about those verses, it hit me I wasn’t so concerned about “the children”. No. What I wanted to do was help mothers adjust to trusting God (Proverbs 3:5), so they could benefit their children (Proverbs 22:6).
It was a big realization which has stayed with me. Essentially, it’s about how God taught me to be a mother. Even though I had lost my own mother as a teen, God showed me what to do, while providing other excellent role models. I became aware I’d been doing this – trusting God, for my kids’ benefit – all those years.
The next step was to write one short sentence, my personal vision statement.This takes quite a while to work out.
And so, over the months I worked on some specific words. I prayed for guidance. I told my husband my thoughts. And a close girlfriend talked it through with me. Interestingly, up until then I had always considered myself a Science/Math girl! What I discovered going through this process was that was all about to change. This was a new direction completely. A change in my self-concept was going on.
Then there was Question 2.
- What would I do if there were no possibility of failure?
To write your personal vision statement, the vision has to be bigger than you can imagine yourself, because if you can keep it within your own reach, then no doubt it will be limited. It has to be so big that all you can do is trust God for the outcome. But it also needs to tap into the “inner you”.
So, this is what I came up with:
I want to offer hope and encouragement to women (especially mothers) in Australia.
Why did I add “Australia”? I knew I might possibly impact women in my own neighborhood, but I wanted to take it beyond that, into that space of “beyond”. I couldn’t imagine how, as an inner-suburban mother of five, I could even begin to have an influence all of Australia. That was the “trusting God” element.
At the same time I was aware that for me to have credibility in the wider sphere I would need to do be active locally as well. It’s an important aspect to remember. Nothing gets large without a small beginning.
Now I had my Vision Statement
So what happened next?
Immediately, I used my statement, even in its initial stages, to make decisions. Did I want to put effort and energy into outside-school programs, or Scripture classes? No. God’s plan for me is specifically to encourage mothers. So there was an instant practical outcome. It’s amazing how that took the pressure off.
Then,shortly after my youngest began school, I was offered a job with a national women’s magazine. (There’s quite a story to that part – I will tell it some time.) As time went on I eventually became the editor. And a little later, the magazine began distribution into New Zealand.
And I had to change my vision statement! I’d expanded it to “Australia”, and it wasn’t big enough anymore!
So yeah, it’s funny how your mind plays tricks on you. I never imagined when I was a mother-of-one I would eventually have five children, plus an international impact.
It’s over 20 years now since writing my personal vision statement. And since then I’ve written for publications in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and USA; I’m a radio host; I returned to University to study media; and I co-authored a book. Most of the time I’ve worked on this concept at the local level, as well as further afield. And recently, I’ve worked with several aid agencies, giving me the opportunity to encourage mothers both here, and in SE Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
And STILL, THERE MUST BE MORE!
Over to you now. It’s time to write your personal vision statement. Of course, it will different to mine. But it WILL excite you. It’s what you were made for after all!
Have you worked out your personal vision statement? What would you do if there were NO possibility of failure?
Let me know! . . . Scroll down to the Comments box