Last year, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I tried creating a specific vision for the year I’d like to have. I thought, “It’s what I train business owners to do for their organizations; why not give it a try.”

In my 2016 Vision post from last year, I explained the difference between a resolution and a vision statement. I then went on to create a vision for myself for the past year that included a personal, professional, and growth component.

Three things happened when I abandoned resolutions for a vision statement instead.

#1 I successfully completed two out of three parts of my vision.

I nailed my personal and growth vision goals. Since I’ve rarely, if ever, accomplished any resolutions I feel justified in some self-congratulatory language, here. Yes!

My personal Dream Forward, or vision, looked like this.

In 2016, I will take more pictures of myself, allow myself to be photographed with family, and I will see in those photographs the qualities for which my friends and family love me.

Mother's Day with my boys

Mothers Day 2016

I had three specific goals in my plan:

√ I will take a selfie of myself once each month when I’m feeling most confident and strong.

√ I will hand the camera off to someone during important events so I’m in the pictures, too. (You can see my honey’s thumb in the upper right of the photo!)

√ I will think of one thing I like about everyone in the photos I’m in.

Check, check, and CHECK!


To my teenager’s horror, learning Instagram was central to my growth vision.

In 2016, I will use Instagram as a way to tell my personal and professional stories.

I shared my story as a mom, entrepreneur, author, and woman over the course of the year. I even shared some of those selfies I took.

These were difficult goals for me, but the vision for my life had to include them. In the past, with resolutions, it’s these personal and growth goals that fell most quickly to the wayside. In 2016, I was determined not to let that happen.

#2 I failed spectacularly at one important component.

I’ve spent decades in the corporate world and a decade in higher education before striking out as an entrepreneur. Professional goals and vision have been my mainstay — and yet, I failed spectacularly in this area. I’m writing about it calmly now, but I wasn’t so calm when I looked at my 2016 Vision post a few weeks ago. I felt low.

Here’s the gist of my professional Dream Forward for 2016.

In 2016, I will develop processes to establish a more consistent pipeline of business.

Hmmm. Now that I look back on this vision it’s pretty broad, but I’ll get into the results of the debrief later. Here are the goals I set out to achieve my professional vision.

— I will continue to follow-up after networking events and encourage my closest connections to engage with me several times throughout the year. I did do this, but I was inconsistent. 

— I will re-engage connections I have let lapse over the last year.

— I will set monthly revenue goals and prioritize my weekly tasks in the pursuit of those goals.

The second two points, I made no progress at all. Using a debrief process that I modified from what I teach in my Fearless Follow-Up training, I discovered two things.

Are you interested in the process? Take a look at this video.

First, I hadn’t properly analyzed what I’d need to do to realize the vision of a consistent pipeline. Step three in an online article by Forbes titled, A 5 Step Plan for Achieving Your Vision, recommends categorizing your list of goals, or plan back, after some extensive brainstorming. I did not do this. If I had, I might have discovered a category that leads me to my professional vision for 2017.

Stay tuned to this blog for a post in two weeks where I’ll share my 2017 vision and plans. I’ll be taking my time this year.

Secondly, even though I wrote it down and knew in general what I wanted to do, I didn’t look at my professional statement again more than once or twice. I looked at my personal and growth plans much more often because I was worried about them.

#3 I’ve had to deal with my failure productively and refine my vision.

If you’re not familiar yet with “The Pivot” as part of the Lean Startup methodology, I highly recommend you explore it. Although originally written for the software development industry, the concept can be easily transferred. Essentially the idea is this; if you’re going to fail, fail quickly, learn, and pivot direction to course correct.

Rather than have a five, or even three-year plan, I set my vision and plans one year in the future. By failing quickly I’m able to ask myself what went wrong, why, and what I can do about it – right now.

I may not have accomplished my goals and vision for a consistent business pipeline, but I did learn three important things about what will come next.

  1. I need to concentrate the focus of my vision.
  2. Before I can create a pipeline, I have to hone in on exactly how I explain what I do and how I do it.
  3. Once I do that, I can begin to communicate it.

Since we’re on the topic of learning, I’d like to hear from you.

What have you done in creating a personal or professional vision that has been successful? How have you failed and what did you do about it?

You can comment on the post, or if you’d prefer, you could post it on the Intentional Growth Strategies wall on Facebook.

Let’s learn together.


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