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January is a favorite month of mine. At my church, Bethel AME in Boston, the theme in January is always Vision Month. Not just from a religious perspective, but from a pragmatic personal one as well. And for more than 20 years January has provided the anchor for setting my course of action…not just for the current year but for future years to come.
Creating a vision statement provides a real time mapping strategy for future aspirations. These statements are created in corporate board rooms, in educational institutions and with military and governmental stakeholders.
Now we are going to help YOU…an individual citizen of the world to determine the BEST vision statement for your life.
Trust me. I live by my personal vision statement. And it has served me with NO changes for over 18 years!
Bring your mind, your hopes and your aspirations to this program and let’s get started creating YOUR personal vision statement.
Excerpt From 21 Ways To Bring Multiculturalism To Your Job Your Home And Your Community
Tip #7 Create A Vision: The Path To Following Your Dreams For Diversity & Multiculturalism
What is vision? It’s defined as an unusual discernment or foresight. Vision can also be characterized as the power to see what is NOT evident to the average mind. When you embrace multiculturalism, empowerment and diversity you’re allowed to reach beyond yourself while setting a new direction that requires you to stretch.
How far can you stretch on your job, at home, or in your community? Can you put aside your past troubles and look forward to a brand new horizon of opportunities? Can you see yourself in a leadership role or accumulating wealth? Can you see the doors of protection and prosperity opening wide for your children or grandchildren? Can you see yourself be- coming the vehicle of change for those who can learn from your misfortunes?
A personal vision will take you places never before imagined. See it, believe it, and know that your abilities and your vision will help your dreams come true.
Create Your Own Vision Statement
I belong to a wonderful congregation that sets aside the month of January each year to concentrate on creating a vision for the New Year. During this month our pastors, Rev. Drs. Ray and Gloria White Hammond deliver a series of electrifying sermons that articu- lates the vision each member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church should con- sider. We are an ethnically diverse congregation, yet our shared values bind us together in a unified fashion.
I look forward to our annual “Vision Month,” and take it upon myself to carry that concept into my personal life. In January 1998 I created my own vision statement that applies to my life today. It states,
“Carole Copeland Thomas will capture the essence of the human spirit by delivering messages of hope, interconnection purpose, courage, and faith to people throughout the world.”
Each year from this one vision statement, I create a multipage document of targeted goals that is broken down into financial, marketing, product development, personal, educa- tional, family, and spiritual subcategories. Every goal in each subcategory links back to my vision statement.
Here are some tips on creating a vision statement for yourself:
1. Use broad, expandable language in your statement.
2. Don’t use the present tense. Use verbs that will connect to your future. (Rebecca will capture, Douglas will embrace, Michael will unfold, etc.).
3. Mentally stretch when creating your statement. Don’t lock yourself into thinking too small.
4. Find a quiet, peaceful location when you’re creating your statement.
5. Write your vision on a large poster board and display it in your home or office as a constant reminder of where you are headed in life.
Creating a personal vision statement and companion goals will take some time to develop. Think about establishing a multi-year system for yourself so that you merely have to update your goals and vision statement instead of recreating them year after year.
Empowerment begins when you take charge of your life by creating these necessary tools that will keep you centered, balanced, and focused on your path to success.
Empower Yourself To Dream
Establishing a vision is only the beginning of your empowerment process. You are also given permission to dream. Through your visualization you create dreams that ultimately turn into tangible goals and objectives.
What is a dream? The dictionary definition states it clearly: “A dream is a train of thoughts or images passing through the mind in sleep.” It further describes a dream as, “A visionary idea, anticipation or fancy... or anything having a dreamlike quality.”
Our goals, aspirations, achievements, and accomplishments in life so often start off as dreams, images passing through our minds while we sleep. Each one of us has the capac- ity to dream and the ability to create dreams the size of Mt. Everest. Our visions transform those dreams into journeys that can take us from our present state of existence to the un- believable destinations in our future.
The key to all of this is believing in your ability to make those dreams come true! Hold fast to your dreams and believe in your ability to reach the impossible.
Our Ancestors Were Dreamers
It’s amazing how Black people of the past dreamed dreams and reached goals with practi- cally nothing. For years my father’s mother eked out a living as a Bel Air, Maryland do- mestic making five dollars a week. As a single parent, Carrie Copeland Brown (or Nanny Carrie as I knew her) raised two sons, saw my father, Wilson Copeland, graduate from col- lege in 1941, remarried, and took her life savings to purchase a home. All as a five dollars a week maid.
So many African Americans can share that same story of transforming humble beginnings into a lifetime of sacrificial achievement. Look at the nickels, dimes and pennies raised to start most of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Janitors, street sweepers, cooks, and maids dared to dream the impossible and paved the way for their children to someday capture the American dream.
So the next time you complain about not having a second pair of designer jeans, stop, count your blessings, and be thankful for the five dollars a week cooks, maids and janitors of your own cultural heritage whose sacrifices made it possible for you to achieve success.
Starting A Dream Box
Before you finish this book, I want you to start a “Dream Box.” Use any box around your home, or buy a new one. This will be a special storage place for pictures, articles, words, wish lists, or miniature items that resemble a future purchase or goal. What will you put in your DREAM BOX? Will you load it with lofty unattainable items, or will you pack it with possibilities, plans, and future dates that will plant the seeds of your future?
When I started my new home dream box in 1995, I didn’t censor my imagination. I loaded that box with pictures of 7000 square foot luxury homes to cozy bungalows nestled be- tween the trees of familiar city streets. Your dream box should capture the breadth of your possibilities including all the opportunities that you can possibly achieve. Want to buy a new home? Want to send your kids to college? Want to have the financial freedom to care for your aging parents? Want to easily give money to that new community center that must be built? Start with your dream box.
It’s all up to you and it all starts with you. Your dream box is waiting to be filled with your creativity, your possibilities, and the plans of your future.
From Dream to Reality
In 1995 I started my dream box and filled it with magazines, books, pictures, and articles on building a new home. I set a goal to become a homeowner in five years or less. I vis- ited new construction sites, and trekked through Sunday open houses just to see what was on the real estate market. Achieving that gigantic goal of building a house was about as
far-fetched as you can possibly image. I was recently divorced with three teenagers to feed. As a struggling small business owner my cash flow was in constant flux. My “new house” savings account totaled less than $100. And the college tuition bills for my oldest child were always right around the corner. As impossible as my dream of home ownership seemed, I never stopped dreaming about building a new home.
What seems unimaginable can turn into reality when your faith, your commitment to your career or business, and your determination to turn the corner in your life empowers you to achieve the impossible.
With the help of loving family members, countless prayers, focusing on my business, and that dream box, I built my new home in 2001. I was only one year off from my original goal deadline. It was a tremendous victory for me, a divorcee who had overcome obsta- cles in my path. The thrill of my life came when I watched my house being built. Those six months of construction magic were some of the most joyous I’ve had.
You too can start a dream box that can be filled with the aspirations and ambitions of your future. Fill that dream box to the brim and cash in on the possibilities that are waiting for you.
Empowerment does begin when you believe in yourself.
Your Dream Box May Open Pandora’s Box
When you start a dream box don’t expect your friends and family members to immediately understand what you are doing. In fact expect them to sometimes become your chief crit- ics. They mean no harm; they love you, and want to do whatever they can to protect you. But sometimes those closest to you don’t have a clue about all of the possibilities just bursting inside of your spirit.
Sometimes when you’re planning for your future or dreaming about what tomorrow will bring your way, you need to carefully share your plans with the right people. During the early stages of creating your dreams, you should only share your thoughts with the most supportive friends, colleagues, and family members. They may not understand why you are planning certain things, but will remain encouraging and supportive of your aspirations.
So step out of faith, carefully pick and choose your supporters, and dream about the excitement of your future.
Click Here For More Information About The Book 21 Ways: How To Bring Multiculturalism To Your Job Your Home And Your Community
1/29/2016 03:52:11 pm
Ms. Copeland Thomas, Thank you so much for an inspiring and functional podcast on vision. I am motivated to really thinking about it! I so appreciate your valuable guidance! I wish you wonderful and productive travels to India!
Carole Copeland Thomas
2/4/2016 06:34:11 pm
Thank you for your very kind words, Paula. Establishing a vision statement will set your life course of action at a competitive level....forcing you to reach higher each and every year...and causing you to settle only for the best!
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.