Create a Vision Statement and Stick to It
If you have seen the Disney movie Tangled, you’ll recall when the lively and curious Rapunzel and the charming rascal Flynn Rider are at a near death experience after being chased by villains. They find themselves cornered into a cave which is quickly filling up with water from a broken damn, and their effort at to break free seems futile as they are unable to see underwater since the cavern is pitch black. After what seems like a few eternal seconds of despair, hope breaks through as Rapunzel remembers that her golden hair illuminates when she sings. Right before the water engulfs her, Rapunzel saves the day as she gets enough chords in for her hair to light the way, allowing them to find a small opening that led to their freedom.
Bill Hybels defines a vision as a picture of the future that produces passion. In the scene just described, Rapunzel and Flynn almost give in to despair as they anticipate the ill fate they see unfolding before them. Seeing the tiny shimmer of light from Rapunzel’s hair seems to infuse them with the needed energy to struggle even while under water. The light helped them break through. The light in the cavern is like having a clear vision; It gave them the energy they needed to figure out how to survive, and it ultimately led them to freedom.
A clear vision gives us the power we need to stay on course, to stay motivated even when we may feel as if underwater. Organizations that are highly successful over time have clearly defined vision statements. It allows everyone to know why the operations are the way they are and serves as a north star where employees can chart strategic plans without getting hijacked by other ideas that are irrelevant or the work. Think about some organizations you have heard about and their vision statement. For example, Habitat for Humanity’s vision statement is, “A world where everyone has a decent place to live,” and Family Bridges vision statement is, “Strong families with purpose driven children, leaders of their generation, committed to their communities.” These two examples show how a vision statements are inspiring and serve as propellers that move everyone forward.
Just as organizations have successfully adapted vision statements for the lives, families and couples can do the same. A couple of years ago, my husband and I did this same thing for our family. We knew we would have many challenges and even differences in our parenting styles but if we would agree on a vision for our family, that would help us chart a pathway forward whenever friction occurred.
How do you create a vision statement for your family?
- Gather everyone for a family meeting. Get some yummy munchies and explain to everyone what the purpose of the meeting is – to create a vision statement. Explain what a vision statement is so everyone understands what it is and why everyone is taking the time to develop one.
- Get a legal pad or newsprint paper and let everyone chime in with ideas. First ask everyone to come up with words that they feel currently define the family. Then have everyone come up with words or phrases that paint a picture of they would like to be in the future. Ask the question, where do we want to be 10, 20 years from now?
- Sculpt and Define. Delegate to the word smith in your family or work together on taking the words and sculpting them into a sentence that captures the essence of where you want to be 10-15-20-30+ years down the line.
- Frame it. Once we had our vision statement we included it in the family album we created that year. Find a creative way to feature it something you cherish and that can serve as a reminder of it for you and yours. Vision leaks so it is important to go back to it frequently. See it, read it, internalize it so when you are under water you can have an anchor to help you swim back to the surface.
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