You’ve probably heard a lot about mission and vision statements if you’ve ever listened to business podcasts, taken a class or read about entrepreneurship. In this column, however, I wanted to go beyond the vision statement, to the core of what you really want to accomplish and why. You might share a vision statement with your team, but most vision statements about the future of a company are just thrown together with the intention of getting a team on the same page, working toward a common goal.

This is still a good tool; just make sure there is a real purpose behind it, not just “fluff” or what you think you should say. Here are some ways to make sure that vision encompasses what you really want and the daily activities you are doing are purpose-driven and focused.

 

Define your real vision

In our high-level events, we do specific guided exercises that help draw out true visions of entrepreneurs in the in-home service industry. It’s easy to get so caught up in daily activities that you often lose sight of why you got into business in the first place and what you truly want the future of the company to look like.

You can’t simply say, “I want the business to grow by ‘x’ amount in the next 10 years;” there’s much more to it. In order to get to the root of your real vision, you need to dig a little deeper than you’re probably accustomed to. Start by asking yourself these questions (and physically type or write down your answers, don’t just let them stay in your head):

What is your real passion (in life and business)? What is your purpose? What are your values? What do you want your involvement/position in the company to be in 5 years, 10 years, etc.?

Then, use your existing vision statement, or create one if you need to, to start to analyze it by asking yourself, “What is the ‘why’ behind my vision?” To clarify, think about it in terms of how it impacts you personally and professionally, as well as if it serves your purpose and is in line with who you are as a person and a leader.

For many people, the “why” behind their vision is creating a nice living for themselves and their families. Some people want their kids to have better lives than they did. Some want the company to be systematized so they have the freedom to go on vacation. Some want to make a positive impact on the communities they serve. Think back to why you started the business or first became involved in our great industry.

As you think about the vision for your company, try to tap into the excitement you once had. Try to look at your company with a fresh sense of energy, with the courage and hope you had back then, whether it was one year ago or 50 years ago. The difference is, now you have some experience and knowledge you didn’t have then.

You are equipped to turn your vision into reality more than ever, but if you are like many owners and leaders, you have become frustrated, and maybe even a little jaded, about the ability to realize your vision and accomplish your goals. If this is true for you, it’s time to examine what to do differently, starting now.

 

Recognize what's been holding you back

If you’ve had a solid vision for the company for a while and feel like you aren’t getting where you want to go, you aren’t alone, and this is why coaching and a support network are so crucial.

Recognizing what has kept you from accomplishing your goals (or even being able to define your vision) is not an easy task. It takes self-reflection and the ability to realize when you’re blaming some external forces. “The weather hasn’t been in my favor,” “I can’t find anyone to hire,” “My market is different” — you get the picture. When you stop making excuses and start facing what’s holding you back, great things happen.

This is different for everyone, but there are similar things that tend to keep people from accomplishing their visions (or even understanding what their exact vision looks like). These include: fear, limiting beliefs, lack of overall clarity, negative mindset, uncertainty about direction, flawed business model, pricing and sales strategy. These are the big ones I see all the time, but major breakthroughs happen, personally and professionally, when these things are addressed.

 

Manage fear and limiting beliefs

Fear and limiting beliefs are the two biggest things that prevent people from accomplishing their goals and visions. The state of your company today is a direct reflection of your vision, which is massively impacted by the beliefs you’ve held to this point, both about what you are capable of and what your business is capable of achieving.

These limiting beliefs are formed many ways, but mainly by how/where you were raised, friends and experiences you’ve had along the way. You might have the limiting belief (consciously or subconsciously) that your company is only capable of reaching a certain revenue number. You might have a fear of failure or fear of being judged by family or friends.

These all impact your vision, so it’s truly worth taking the time to analyze how you are holding yourself back from clarity of vision and goal accomplishment you deserve. It really helps to talk with someone about this, whether it’s a family member or, better yet, a business peer who can be more objective when helping you. Let me be clear: We all have fears and limiting beliefs around life and business, but the people who manage them the most effectively are the ones who have a much easier time accomplishing what they desire.

 

Focus on how to execute your vision

When you get to the point of having a clearly defined real vision and recognize some areas you’ve been limiting yourself, execution becomes the key to accomplishment.

In my column last month, I wrote about accountability-based leadership and developing a culture of ownership. Communicating your vision to your team with passion and purpose is crucial to gaining the support and help to execute your vision. I mentioned the vision statement concept earlier; just make sure it’s based around what you really want, not just a few corporate-sounding sentences.

You can’t execute your vision alone, but what you can do is manage your progress, calendar, time, processes, communications and systems. You can (and should) hold accountability meetings, thoroughly understand and analyze your KPI’s consistently and empower others to move the company in the direction you want. As a bonus, if part of your vision is to move toward a self-managing company, empowering your team members, systematizing and KPI analysis is at its foundation.

The road to executing your real vision is this: Defining and understanding what you really want and why, managing beliefs and fears, and taking massive focused action to execute it. Your team wants to follow your vision, so you might as well go somewhere exciting and enjoy the journey along the way.