Author Jill Gilliland
Editor Elizabeth Moran, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC
As an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) or Physician Assistant (PA), you work hard. You have a job where you can have a positive impact on the lives of others, and are paid well for it. But to get the most out of your career you have to learn how to create a vision for your life!
A vision for a meaningful life is built on core values and principles. Setting a vision for your life now can lead to long term satisfaction. It is what will allow you to look back in 1, 5, 10 years and beyond, and understand how you lived and why — a life lived through good and bad times, successes and failures, in a meaningful way, without regrets. A vision starts with clarity about your why and what matters to you today.
How to Create a Vision Statement
APRNs and PAs who create a vision focus on 1.5 to 2 year time horizons to start. Think of domains in your life such as work, health, relationships, spirituality, giving back, travel, experiences, achievements, or intellectual pursuits that matter most to you. Vision statements need to be motivational enough to energize you daily to say no to other needs, wants, and demands that do not match your goals. At work, APRNs and PAs might design visions associated with leadership goals, research, productivity, new program development, or other areas of achievement.
To create a vision statement ask yourself:
- What is my ideal future state for this area of my life (domain)?
- What inspires and motivates me?
- What impact do I want to have in this area?
- What do I care about in the area?
- What are my core values?
Then, based on what you wrote, write 2 sentences that clearly describe your vision.
How to Achieve Your Vision, Set Goals
Set goals that provide you with a roadmap to achieve your vision. To achieve your vision your goals should be measurable and time bound. SMART goals is one framework for setting goals that help you focus your efforts with clarity. A new graduate APRN or PA may consider Benner’s Novice to Expert Theory to help craft a vision statement for work. Experienced APRNs or PAs who are considering embarking on a leadership journey can review Melnic’s Novice to Expert Leadership Journey Blog. Personal and professional goal setting provides peace from the confidence that you are living the life you want to live in the way you want to live it.
To set goals to achieve your vision ask yourself:
- What are my past achievements?
- What made me successful?
- What are my values and what is important to me?
- What are the principles that drive my daily decisions?
- What values support my vision?
- What is my reputation?
- What do I want my reputation to be?
- What do I not want in my life?
- What will I never do?
- What do I need to stop doing?
- What do I need to start doing?
- What is a stretch goal to achieve my vision?
Write well-defined, measurable, and time-bound goals that support your vision.
What is Your Action Plan to Achieve your Goals?
Your vision statement can provide the enthusiasm and inspiration necessary to stick to your action plan. Your action plan is the steps you need to take to ensure you meet your goals in the time you specified.
List each goal and the steps required to achieve each goal separately. To prioritize these steps, it can be helpful to start with the last step, or your ultimate goal, and work your way backwards to what needs to happen first. Often steps need to occur in a systematic order, but not always. Be certain to consider which steps will require the help of others, and be partially out of your own control. Take account of all other resources necessary to achieve your goals and include actionable steps in your plan to secure those resources. You should also consider what sacrifices you may need to make in terms of time and money along each step on the journey to success.
To create a plan ask yourself:
- What am I willing to do to achieve my vision?
- What needs to happen to achieve a goal?
- What order do things need to happen in?
- When do they need to happen?
- What else is necessary to make these things happen (people, things, resources acquired)?
- How will I measure the progress of my plans?
Write out each step in order with start dates and end dates, as well as the resources needed to achieve each goal. By the end of this exercise you should have a clear, step by step plan for each goal and a timeline for completing each step.
What Do I Do Each Day to Execute My Action Plan?
The key ingredients to achieving your vision are effort, hard work, discipline, and dedication. Without these, a vision has no hope of actualization. Dreams without action can also create a stressful feedback loop of failed attempts, shame, and disappointment in oneself. Little habits each day impact whether you achieve your goals and vision. Taking time each day to visualize your goals and work on a step in your action plan can help you to achieve these goals. Busy people in particular, such as APRNs and PAs, manage their schedules through essential daily habits and structure. Living intentionally through creating a morning routine, meditating on your vision, focusing on your goals by planning your day, and making time for your action plan can all help you obtain your goals.
To decide what to do each day, ask yourself:
- What is my morning routine?
- When do I plan my day?
- Did I write down my goals for the day?
- Did I include time to achieve my goals on my daily schedule?
- What daily actions support my plan?
- What actions will I take every day?
- What do I need to support my actions?
- What will I do to be inspired each day?
- What will I do to inspire others who I work with or need help from?
- Did you review what went well and what did not at the end of the day?
Create a plan each morning for your day and include your plan on your schedule.
If you are an APRN or a PA, most likely you are very busy. You not only work hard and have a demanding schedule, but also live a full life too. To successfully achieve your vision and goals you need to create a plan, invest daily in actions that help move your plans forward, say no to things in your life that do not align with your plan, and be intentional every day. If you can stay focused and committed to your plan and adjust your mindset to believe that your vision for yourself is a high priority, you can have a big impact on yourself and your world. An unexpected benefit may also be more energy to do these things. There is a self-fulfilling cycle when you are taking care of yourself. By doing what you plan to do, you then become more energized and motivated because it feels good to meet goals and live the life you imagined.
Melnic supports APRNs and PAs in their personal and professional journeys. We are here to help you find the career path that best suits you and your vision for yourself. Work cultures can move you closer or further away from the life you want to live. Talk to us to help you find the best place for you. Search Melnic jobs or Melnic APP Leadership Resources for inspiration and information.
Additional Resources to Develop Your Vision:
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.