This morning I watched Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan do something extraordinary. They set out a vision: to cure, prevent or manage all diseases by 2100.
To do this, they were giving $3 billion to fund medical research over the next decade. Their three-pronged plan aims to:
As I watched, I just kept thinking: 'Wow'.
Once upon a time there was a very bright chap who decided to create a website that connected university friends. And that went on to become Facebook which now connects 1.7 billion people across the planet. And then using the money he made from that he set up an initiative with his wife to invest in improved education. And when that wasn't enough, they set out to eradicate disease. He's 32.
There's achieving success. And then there's that. It can make you feel fairly paltry in comparison.
I took a lot of learnings away from watching their Facebook Live address - like how this is a seismic shift in corporate philanthropy, and how this interconnected generation has the possibility to become ever more humane while living in an increasingly technological world. It gave me an immense amount of optimism for the type of world my own children will inherit - and made me want to remind them to finish their science homework.
But it also gave me pause for thought in terms of my own vision. When I work with clients on their brand story, I ask them what their vision is. What do they bring to the world? How is the world a better place for their being here?
And those are really big questions. Because as much as we may like to, there are very few Zuckerbergs. Most of us will have far smaller visions, a far less significant impact on the world. But that doesn't make them any less important.
It can be hard to know what your vision is. It can feel forced, as though you ought to have a big vision, rather than just doing what you do because it's what you enjoy or what you're good at. It's easy to claim to have a vision, but if you don't back it up with tangible actions, is it more of a pipe dream rather than something achievable.
I seriously doubt that when Mark Zuckerberg started out with his original idea, he had aspirations to stop all diseases within a generation. But his vision has grown as his business has.
Yours can too. But you first need to identify what your current vision is. Do you have one? Here are some questions you can answer to help you figure out what your vision is:
If you still aren't sure what your vision is, start with your values. Your values are the things that you really, truly believe in. They are the things that you rant about. The rules you live by. The stuff you do every day without thinking about because it's just part of who you are. So think about that - what do you really value? Once you know that, you'll start to get a sense of what you could change in this world. And that will give you your vision.
Here's an example using my business:
I believe that you only have on life to live and that you should be able to live it on your terms. I believe everyone deserves work life balance. I believe in entrepreneurship for everyone who desires it. I believe in honesty, over delivering, having a relaxed approach to business, in freedom.
These are my values. Which have helped me shape my vision:
To help small business owners create a business that is perfect for them.
My vision is tiny when compared to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg. But that's ok. As long as I keep delivering on my vision - and as long as you deliver on yours - collectively, we can all work towards a better world. And that's a nice thought.
It you want help figuring out your brand story, get in touch. Or take a look at my Clarity package, in which I help you get clear on issues like this.
What's your vision? Leave me a comment and tell me.