The Importance Of Having A Personal Vision

31 Aug

Around five years ago, my previous company was in the midst of tackling the challenge of growing from a small to a medium sized company.  During that period, I spent a lot of time trying to convince people that it was crucial for us to have a company vision.  How else would we know which of the many opportunities that came our way we should take and which ones we should let pass us by?  How else could we be proactive instead of reactive?

After a couple of years of me banging the ‘vision drum,’ a friend asked me “well what’s your personal vision.”  My personal vision?  The question caught me off guard.  My friend persisted – “isn’t having a personal vision more important than having a vision for the consulting firm you work for?”

As I pondered this question, it occurred to me that I had always been very comfortable with change in my professional life and very scared of change in my personal life.  Could it be that this was because I didn’t have a guide to help me decide which of the many personal opportunities that came my way fit and which did not?

So I researched personal visions and I found a few methods to help with articulation – like writing your own eulogy or the speech you want to hear on your 64th birthday.  After playing with a main articulation for a while, I started thinking about how my main statement would manifest itself in different parts of my life – with my family, friends, work, hobbies, etc…  And then I worked on developing 5 year and 1 year goals based on my vision.  Finally, I developed a daily planning spreadsheet so that I could start keeping track and ensuring that I was investing my time and energy in alignment with my vision and goals.

As a result of this investment in my vision and goals, I have become much more comfortable with change in my personal life and I have lately taken several big steps – like leaving my cushy and well paid career of 14 years to join EWB, moving to Toronto, and most recently buying my first place!!! 

That’s right – the deal just closed today and I am now the proud owner of a condo in downtown Toronto.   My next step is to get it painted and get my furniture shipped out.  Hopefully I will be moved in within a couple of weeks.


My place is right in the heart of downtown Toronto and is only about 1km from the office.  It also includes access to a massive 30,000 square foot super club facility that has a full basketball court, squash court, pool, bowling alley, gym, etc… 

DSC04426 DSC04427 (Note that the furniture is the previous owner’s and will not be staying)

To all of my friends who bet this day would never happen, time to pay up! 😉


11 Responses to “The Importance Of Having A Personal Vision”

  1. Colleen O'Toole August 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    I’m going through this visioning process now – would you be willing to share the framework you used?

    • markwjabbott August 31, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

      Absolutely! I will email you a version of the spreadsheet that runs my life. 🙂

  2. Kelly Ng August 31, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Wow, that’s awesome, Mark. Very interested in this “eulogy exercise” you did! I think I read something like this in the E-Myth Revisited… can I see this framework as well? Beautiful place, by the way! Congratulations!

  3. Sara September 1, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    Congratulations on the big purchase!

  4. Darlene Webb September 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Leave it to an engineer to methodically and logically develop a vision statement along with the incremental steps to achieve it. We miss you out here, Mark.

  5. Doris September 2, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    Congrats!!! 🙂 Cheers to bold moves 😉

  6. Kyle September 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    What a coincidence! My personal visioning statement saw YOU buying a place for ME!

    Kidding aside, a big congratulations on all the right decisions you’ve been making.

    Hopefully the vision brings you back to Vancouver at some point too though…

    All the very best.

  7. Siera Vercillo September 11, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Mark,
    I was thinking about you recently as stories of your time in Ghana came up while meeting with Paul the contact farmer in Inconcinna village in Kpandai. What a beautiful place. Everyone misses you and you should give them a ring when you can.

    Much Love from Ghana,

  8. Janine Reid September 16, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    wow beautiful apartment! I’m also incredibly impressed by your personal visioning, as demonstrated by your spreadsheet and your general actions since I’ve known you. It takes big courage to examine your life that closely, and then do something about it.

  9. Masuma October 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Hey Mark!
    Congratulations! I’ve always wanted to write a personal vision but it seems like a tough thing to do! I too would love to get some pointers and possibly a copy of the framework you used!

  10. Brian Cheung October 17, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Congrats on the further accumulation of material goods 😛

    The condo looks like the same as my friend’s. Is it the one where they’ve locked off all the entrances to external balconies because someone had their railing fall off? If so, hoped you used it to negotiate the price down!

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