The value of putting your vision in writing

Do you have a vision for your business? Or is that something you associate with big corporations, who talk on and on about their mission and vision in their annual reports and on their Web sites? Well, small business owners and self-employed people can also benefit by creating a vision and putting it in writing. In fact, I know from personal experience that it is imperative for you to do so.

In the late 1990s, I was feeling a little antsy about my business. I had spent 10 years growing Tuscarora Communications, Ltd., my successful public relations practice, but I wasn’t feeling challenged, especially when it came to my writing skills. While I enjoyed my client relationships, each time I got an assignment to write another 400-word press release, I got that “been there/done that” feeling. In short, I needed a new intellectual challenge.

In thinking it over, I decided I wanted to write books. So I wrote myself a vision and I stuck it up on the bulletin board beside my desk. It’s still there today, although it’s in a different office in a different house in a different town. Here’s what it said:

I am a very successful ghostwriter who is helping great people bring their interesting ideas to the world. I am achieving my full potential as a creative person and as a talented writer.

My vision doesn’t specifically say I was going to write books, but that’s what it translated to in my mind. Looking at this statement every day drove me to action. I figured that if I was going to ghostwrite  books, I would need to have my name on a book cover first to prove I was capable of writing a book. So I suggested to a client, Mark Sebell of Creative Realities, that he and I should write a book proposal and see if we could find an agent to sell it to a publisher. Mark was dubious at first and it took a lot of persuading but once he jumped on board, we put together a proposal that quickly attracted several agents. We picked one and that agent soon had multiple offers coming in for our book! I was going to be a published author!

That was 10 years ago and in the time since then I have co-authored a second book, New Product Launch: 10 Proven Strategies with Joan Schneider of Schneider Associates, ghostwritten  four other books and edited four more. None of this would have happened, I believe, if I hadn’t written my vision down and posted it in a spot where I’d see it every day.

Looking at that piece of paper made it imperative for me to do something to make those words true. One of the key things I did was to tell others about the new direction I wanted to take. That led to numerous conversations with people about books they would like to write. A few turned into assignments; many more did not, but without me going out and telling people what I wanted–to work with people who had great ideas and who might want to write books–nothing ever would have happened.

So what is your vision? What is your dream? Write it down. Then tell people about it. Make something happen! What are you waiting for?

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