Setting Your Direction: Vision & Mission Statements

Vision: Your vision explains where you want to be at a point in the future. It is generally a dream or a special accomplishment you hope to attain. It can also be how you want others to view you or your business at some “ideal” future date. As an example, a restaurant may have this vision statement: To offer fresh and delicious food to our customers along with a fun-filled dining experience.

Mission: A mission statement describes how you or your company is going to accomplish its vision. The mission statement describes the “what” and it is a statement so it is short and to the point. As you develop a mission statement, it may help to ask yourself, “What am I passionate about? What are my values?”

Sometimes there can be confusion between vision and mission statements. Remember, the mission statement defines a purpose and primary objectives. It talks about the present time. The vision statement describes what you or your organization wants to become, shaping and directing the future. Often, a vision statement will motivate and energize you.

Creating a Statement

For Yourself: Vision and mission statements can be personal. Having a personal mission statement brings focus and purpose to your life. A personal mission statement is a powerful tool because it provides you with a path for success, and it gives you permission to say no to the things that are distractions.

For Your Organization or Business: Vison and mission statements can, and should, also be written for organizations and businesses. These statements can help you make decisions based on what is really important. Although you know what you are trying to do to improve your life or your business, it's easy to lose sight of this when dealing with the day-to-day hassles that plague us all. Your vision and mission statements help those involved remember what is important as you go about doing your daily work.

Why Create Them?

Your vision and mission statements let other individuals and organizations have a snapshot view of you or the organization for which the statements were written. Vision and mission statements are also very helpful in having those involved become focused and bound together in common purpose. The statements themselves serve as a constant reminder of what is important, helps you make decisions and develop a direction as you set goals and objectives.

It's important to remember that while developing these statements is a huge step and one you should celebrate, there is more work to be done. You have to decide how to use them. Otherwise, all of your hard work will have happened for nothing.

Developing effective vision and mission statements are two of the most important tasks you will ever do, because almost everything else you do will be affected by these statements. They truly allow to you set your direction.

For more information or assistance with developing a mission or vision statement and strategic planning, please contact an SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist.


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