Use A Personal Vision Statement to Direct Your Career

By Gerald Walsh ©


When people are unhappy in their jobs, they think it will be fixed by more money, extra vacation, a job closer to home, flexible work hours, or even a new boss.

Yet if these changes do occur, they often remain unhappy.

That’s because the greatest cause of career unhappiness is not your salary or your boss. It’s when you are forced to work in jobs that conflict with your personal values.

Many people may know their employer’s vision statement but have never thought of creating a personal one for themselves. It’s embarrassing but most people are too busy with their jobs and life in general to search for the real purpose of their lives.

In other words, what do you believe in and want from your life?

Today, I hope to encourage you to create a personal vision statement that reflects these values and at the same time presents a framework for how you will invest your time and energy.

Your vision statement should strike a balance.

On one hand, it should be high level—expressing those deeply-held values that govern all aspects of your life. On the other hand, it should be practical, realistic, and actionable.

If it achieves this level of practicality, it can be used as a blueprint against which to evaluate all major decisions in your career and your life.

And it will allow you to act in ways that are consistent with your values and turn away those career opportunities that conflict.

What might a personal vision statement look like?

Here is my own personal vision statement which I wrote about 15 years ago. I keep it nearby and review it every six months or so to make sure I am still on track.

I will:

- Live a healthy, active lifestyle.

- Engage in meaningful and enjoyable work that helps other people learn and grow.

- Be community-minded and share my time and talents with people and organizations who need them.

- Maintain a positive perspective on life, always looking for the good in people and events that happen.

- Nurture relationships with existing and new friends.

- Act in a financially responsible manner; live within my means; and plan for the future.

- Continue to learn new things and be open to new ideas and different ways of doing things.

- Live a simpler lifestyle—spend less time working and more time developing outside interests.

- Maintain relationships that are open, communicative, and respectful.

You’ll see mine is written more as a list than a statement. The format doesn’t really matter if it reflects your values and is measurable. 

Give it a try and send me a sample if you like.



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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.