If you want to run a successful business, you have to have goals. There is no doubt about that. But goals are not created out of thin air. Too often we get hung up on small, absolute goals that can crush our morale and deplete our energy.
As business owners, we should try to understand the big picture and ask ourselves, “how can we create valid goals that drive real, confident actions?”
Goals are part of something bigger. They’re not just some words on a whiteboard. Goals are the concrete reflection of a vision. Now, this is an overused (and abused) term, but rarely in the right context. A vision is not just a number in a business plan. A vision is strongly connected to, well, our vision- our eyes, our visual reception and processing of data. A vision is something that we can see.
In terms of biological evolution our visual sense is the closest link to our way of experiencing the world. It comes before any other sense, even though our visual organ is not the best developed. What this says about us: Our brain is designed to work with imagery. It likes to make sense of the world through graphical information that we link to something important. This is why symbols and analogies with visual qualities can be found at the heart of any culture in the world. Even letters and numbers owe their importance largely to their visual properties. Even when we learn with our hands we build a visual reference. And blind people replace the optical data stream with a different sensor input, however, they still use their visual cortex to form mental images and relate to the world in the same way. We all see our world and our existence in relation to it as an internal picture or movie.
Once we understand the mission we seek to fulfill, the value we bring to the world and the people we want to touch, it is up to our vision to define what our ideal world should look like. I call this the visual north star: a wealth of relatable images that guide our steps in a direction and gives us a sense of “homecoming.”
The vision does not define why we are on the road, it does not define who we are and how we get there. It paints a picture of the place we want to go to. It is the movie we see when we think of the results our business is bringing; what the world we are guiding our employees and clients towards should look like.
It is one of the sharpest tools in the shed, and if used right, creates an incomparable sense of uplifting identification and energy within a team.
Reflect about the ideal world you want to create as a result of your business actions. Is it more collaboration? Is it wealth for everyone? Is it health on a sustainable level? Is the ideal world you see before your mental eye the ability to share your knowledge with the entire planet? Dare to dream big. Mark down everything that comes to mind. Your job now is to find your place of comfort within all these visions and “overstep” it. Why? Because visions need to be big. The strongest visions live just slightly outside of our zone of comfort. This is how we push ourselves towards growth.
Agree on the 5-7 most inspiring ones. Now use your Google skills to search for images that relate to the visions you have. Create a folder where you amass dozens of pictures. You will find that you will exhaust the options after 5-6 images per vision.
Using any photo montage tool (you can find a free version of Photoshop Elements on Adobe.com, you can use Canva, a Word doc, or simply by printing and gluing images and words from magazines onto paper) create a large vision board. Organize the pictures according to your vision key words, such as “Collaboration”, “Wealth”, “Safety”, “Happiness”, “Peace”, “Comfort” etc.
Next to every group of images and their key word, write one bold statement. Some examples are: “To reach unparalleled collaboration, to make the world a safer place, to bring comfort to millions of people.”
You have just created a wonderful starting point for real goals. NOW you have a visual bridge to define goals that fuel the world you want to see.