Last week, we walked you through how to write a mission statement for your speaking business. So it’s no surprise that today we’re covering how to create a vision for your speaking business. Beginner speakers struggling to get their business off the ground often don’t realize a well-crafted vision is the missing link in their strategy. Or they think they just need a generic, buzzword-y vision statement on their website to check the box. But something that makes such a difference to how you move forward on your speaking business deserves more from you.
Big questions like how to create a vision for your speaking business can easily get abstract and overwhelming. That’s why we’re going to keep it simple by focusing on three criteria for a good business vision. To make it even easier for you, they all start with the letter A!
The Three ‘A’s of a good speaker vision are: Audacious, Attainable, and Aligned. Once you have a handle on these criteria, you will be able to develop a powerful vision that gets you out of bed every morning excited to work on your business.
At The Speaker Lab, we talk to thousands of aspiring speakers with incredible potential. All the same, many of them are limited rather than liberated by their goals. They know they want to speak, but when it comes to where they want to take their speaking business, they’re settling. Having manageable short-term goals is important (and necessary) for launching your speaking business. However, if you don’t establish the big picture view first, you’ll coast along for a while without really building something. (Our coaches talk about how they help students liberate themselves from a too-limited vision on this podcast.)
Where do these limiting attitudes come from? The culprit is generally Imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome puts you into a box. That box will never expand to let you reach the level of your role models–it keeps you small. Imposter syndrome might be telling you right now that the bold vision you’re dreaming of is going to set you up for failure. We have a whole podcast episode to help you with your battle against imposter syndrome–and creating your vision is often the battlefield for that fight.
You’re probably afraid that if you actually write down and talk about all your big, crazy dreams, it’ll be all the more embarrassing if you fail. And maybe you won’t achieve all of them. But having the audacity to strive for something great is in itself a huge asset to your speaking business. Speaking–or any kind of entrepreneurship–is a risky business. But if you don’t dream big, you won’t do big things. As cliche as it is, you really have to shoot for the moon. The lessons you learn on your way toward your audacious vision are what will make you a great speaker, leader, and world-changer. Speaking is not an industry for people who want to stay in their comfort zone. Most speakers realize that deep down inside–it’s why they’re interested in the unconventional lifestyle of speaking anyway.
The audacity of your vision should inspire you and those you work with. Event planners don’t want to work with someone who wants to produce small, mediocre results for their audience. Event planners and audiences want transformational speakers. So when you’re creating the vision for your speaking business, think about the problem you solve for your audience in terms of how you can transform the world.
Remember: your vision will evolve with your business. It’s ok if you eventually throw in the towel and adapt one or another of your dreams. But if you’ve been aiming for a dream for quite some time, you might find that the experience you gain doing so pushes you into new and incredible dreams that hadn’t even occurred to you. And if you aim for something that previously seemed out of reach, you might accomplish a few other things along the way that you didn’t expect.
So what do you do when you have big dreams and the confidence to see through imposter syndrome, but reality stops you in your tracks? It’s time to adapt your vision into something attainable.
By encouraging you to be bold, we aren’t tossing the real world into the garbage. Think audacious, not outrageous. Visioncasting should not be limited by imposter syndrome, insecurity, or worrying about what people will think. It should be grounded in reality. With a healthy understanding of your talents and capacity and a little self-reflection, you can make the distinction between audacious and impossible.
What makes big crazy dreams attainable? Putting systems into place as soon as you launch your speaking business that are oriented toward your vision. That’s why it is essential to get clear on your vision at the very beginning. If you don’t, the early work you put into your speaking business will be directionless. As we elaborated in our piece on the difference between mission and vision, your vision is the destination of your speaking journey. As you put your vision into words for the first time, think about the changes you are capable of that can turn your audacious ideas into reality.
For example, many speakers hope to publish one or more books someday. If you aren’t already a writer, that might seem unattainable. After all, becoming an author without a significant writing platform requires a lot of work. You have to establish your expertise and hone your writing skills through a blog or newsletter, maybe even find a ghostwriter. Not to speak of all the work of self-publishing or getting a book deal. If you aren’t willing to put time and effort into those tasks, writing a book might not be attainable for you. And hey–maybe you just have other more important priorities. But those are all absolutely attainable goals that could contribute to your vision of becoming an author. And if you put systems into place now that help you implement those steps, there is no reason not to include publishing a book in your vision.
If you’ve written out a bunch of audacious and attainable ideas for where you’d like your speaking business to be five, ten, or 25 years from now, great! You’ve not quite reached your vision yet. You have to evaluate whether those ideas are aligned. There are likely some goals that don’t quite fit with your mission and values. Others might need a little refining to make sense as part of the big picture. Alignment is the final and most powerful step in how to create a vision for your speaking business!
Think of your vision like a puzzle. Or rather, the picture printed on the box that holds the puzzle pieces. (If you don’t like doing puzzles, just stay with us for a minute.) As you sort the pieces into colors, you keep looking back at the picture on the box to make sure you’re putting the piles of color in the general area where they belong. Then as you start assembling edges and corners, you continue to keep an eye on the picture to make sure you’re arranging them correctly. Eventually, you start piecing together figures and the whole thing comes together and starts looking just like what you see on the box. In the same way, your mission, goals, and strategy should point your business closer and closer to your vision.
Conversely, your vision should only include that which is in accordance with your values and the impact you want to make. There are myriad directions you could take in your speaking business. Innumerable options for products and initiatives to include in your vision. But if they aren’t aligned with your mission, you have to throw them out. Alignment with your mission is key to creating a vision for your speaking business. Your vision should focus on the impact you want to make on the world–whether it’s a practical improvement in how your industry does business or a worldview shift that you want to initiate. Anything extraneous that detracts from that impact or could get in the way has to go.
In our upcoming blog, we will cover how to set the goals that get you to your vision. When your mission and vision align, it’s much easier to establish and meet intermediary milestones.
To recap our blog on the difference between mission and vision, your vision is the destination of your speaking journey. Your vision fuels the why of your mission and makes it come to life. Your vision is what you picture when you ask yourself “what is the point of all this anyway” after another late night reaching out to leads. It’s the reality you want to create for yourself and for the world.
Including a vision statement on your website isn’t necessary, but it can be a great way to showcase the goals of your personal brand. Eliminate any fluffy buzzwords that don’t really have to do with what you can accomplish. Remember, speaking is all about delivering solutions and results for your audience. Your entire marketing strategy as a speaker should be solutions-oriented. With that in mind, a well-written, concise vision statement could be a nice asset on your website. What matters more is the vision you have in your mind’s eye at all times!
A vision that is audacious, attainable, and aligned will propel your speaking business forward and give you the motivation to crush your goals. Hopefully with our tips, you’ll quickly master how to create a vision for your speaking business. So what comes next? Setting great goals and pursuing a strategy for meeting them–stay tuned for these topics on The Speaker Lab blog in the coming weeks!