10 Questions to Refine Your Vision
If you are ‘going somewhere’ – in life, in business, in leadership, or in relationships – you need to know where that ‘somewhere’ is. As I wrote recently, one of the best ways to do this is by writing your vision. These 10 questions will help you define and refine that vision.
We rarely hear about ‘vision’ except from CEOs. This is unfortunate, since everyone needs a vision. You need a vision for your relationships, for the institutions you are part of, and for the projects that you undertake. You need a vision, even if you aren’t the main leader. You will benefit from having a clear vision, regardless of what you are involved in.
As you think through and write out your vision, consider these 10 questions. They may not all apply, but they should challenge you to think through the details.
#1 – Who else is involved and how?
Most visions need to incorporate other people. If they don’t, you probably aren’t dreaming big enough. However, it is not enough to vaguely include others. You need to define who they are and what their role is in the vision.
#2 – Why will individuals be motivated to contribute?
It is one thing to include others in your vision – it is another thing to motivate them to be in your vision. Why would someone want to be in your vision? What does your vision offer them? Why should they care? Whether you are envisioning your future family, future friendships, or future organization, you need to clarify what makes your vision worthy of someone else’s time.
#3 – What is your future role?
A good vision doesn’t end once you arrive. What will your role be in the future? In other words, what will you do once your vision is in place?
#4 – How will this affect the lives of those inside?
As you include others in your vision, clarify how it contributes to them. This is similar to question 2, but not the same. For example, if you are a father and are envisioning your family, ask the question – ‘how will my vision of family have a positive impact on my family members? How will they benefit from it? What will it require from them?’
#5 – How will this affect the lives of those outside?
While your vision should include others, it can’t include everyone. Hopefully, it still has a positive impact on those outside. Using the earlier example, a father could ask – ‘how will we as a family impact others? What can we contribute to the lives of those outside our family?’
#6 – What enduring impact will this have?
Don’t be content with a small vision. By God’s grace, your life might have a ripple effect for generations. If you aren’t thinking in terms of an enduring impact, you may be thinking too small. Recognizing the positive effect that you might have will inspire you to pursue your vision.
#7 – Why does this matter?
This question challenges you to write out your underlying philosophy. If you don’t have a why, your vision is simply the kernel of a seed – it contains no substance within. Ask yourself what matters and why you are motivated to pursue this.
#8 – What does this look like day-to-day?
Similar to question #3, you need to define the vision once you arrive. How will it continue? What are the nitty-gritty details of daily life? Remember, grand ideas are impractical if they can’t be applied to the details. It is essential to describe the practical application of your vision.
#9 – How will you measure success?
A business leader would be foolish to measure success only by money. There are other important things – company morale, creativity, and adaptability. Consider how to evaluate your vision. As you do so, your answers to questions 4-7 will be especially helpful.
#10 – What are your core values?
In other words, what really matters to you? What do you need to keep central to your vision? If one of your core values is ‘integrity,’ then you can’t attain your vision through shortcuts and tricks. If one of your core values is ‘relationships,’ then your vision will fail if you pursue it alone.