V2MOM: A Vision Planning Method That Helps Organizations and People Say No
Over the last few years, I've learned that the more success you encounter, the more likely opportunities get thrown your way. Whether it's in the form of a financial investment, business partnership, or new client relationship, saying no gets more difficult when you're on a roll and you convince yourself that you can accomplish anything despite what your gut tells you. It's only until when things all go to hell then you say to yourself, "Why couldn't I have just said no in the beginning?"
In early 2016, after some big blow ups in my personal and professional life from the previous year, I decided enough was enough. I realized I kept focusing on making goals for the sake of making goals. I also realized I began putting my professional goals over my personal goals, therefore having no work/life balance. I lost my passion for my hobbies like cooking and traveling. This hollow sense of professional and personal purpose could not go on. It was only a matter of time till myself and the organization I led would come crashing down.
Desperately, I went searching for a method that could help me regain my purpose and vision for what I wanted in my life.
After reviewing several vision planning methods, the one that stood out to me the most was the V2MOM alignment method. Made famous by Mark Benoiff of Salesforce, V2MOM is a one page vision planning tool that Salesforce built their whole company strategy on. While most planning tools helps companies understand, implement, and execute their vision, none I found were this short and easy to understand. Not only did I desire simplicity, I needed a vision planning system that quickly helped me make decisions during the easy and tough times.
Although V2MOMs typically appear in organization vision planning (see here on how to do one for your organization), I knew I found a renewed sense of purpose when I began filling out each letter of the acronym. The first step in doing a personal V2MOM for myself helped me define what success means to me and what truly brings me bliss. It then gave me better focus on saying no to opportunities that don't coincide with my vision of success.
A V2MOM plan consists of:
- V for Vision: Your idea of success (what you aspire to live for)
- V for Values: What values, principles, or beliefs are critical to meeting your vision (defining these values should help you say no easier)
- M for Methods: What do you plan to do to reach your vision (think tactics). Be specific as possible.
- O for Obstacles: What obstacles do you anticipate to meeting along the way?
- M for Measurables: How do you measure your progress? How do you plan to overcome the above obstacles? Be specific as possible.
I recommend everyone to create their own V2MOM plan. To be forewarned though, answering the above questions are not easy. They require a lot of thought, clarity, and honesty. However, creating a high level vision plan that can lead to your definition of success is a great reward for some reflection.
So in hopes of inspiring you to write your own V2MOM, I thought I'd share the one I worked on since the beginning of 2016. Before you jump on writing your own though, some pointers to think about:
- Define what success looks like to you when writing out your vision. Don't be pressured to write down what others' definition of success looks like. This vision is unique to you.
- Living and experiencing your vision of success shouldn't just bring you momentary happiness, but longing bliss. Remember, happiness is just a feeling that's pleasurable, bliss is a mindset that makes us feel truly alive. Experiencing your vision should invoke bliss. That's the whole purpose of this V2MOM - to clarify the opportunities that brings you bliss and to pursue them.
- Reevaluate your vision and values regularly. Do they still ring true over time? If so, keep on building the habits that can help you execute your vision of success. If your vision and values change due to various circumstances, I recommend you to relook at your whole V2MOM. Your vision and values should always heavily dictate your methods, obstacles, and measurables.
- Print out your V2MOM and stick it in a place that would be regularly seen by you. It's easy to stay consistent on the good days, but hard as hell to stay consistent on the bad days. Your V2MOM should feel like your inner conscience guiding you to be your best self during the good and the bad.
So how about my personal V2MOM...
Kenny's Personal V2MOM:
- To help more people than I’ve ever met so that I’m able to create opportunities for others that they would never knew they would have otherwise.
- Always learning and growing: That I will keep my mind, body, and health happy FIRST by dividing good habits and a thirst to learn.
- Build wealth in the long term: That I will only invest in income growing opportunities with people I love that can be eventually turned into passive income and ownership.
- Be money smart: That I will be habitually financially disciplined and save more than I spend to ensure financial stability for my family.
- Say no frequently: That I will not overcommit myself to the detriment of Laura, my family, and personal friends. Whenever asked to commit, always think to myself, would I be excited to do this next Tuesday? If not, don't say yes.
- Grow with my loved ones: That anything I do in the community, I can do together with my loved ones.
- Celebrate the wins: That I will stop and smell the roses more frequently and enjoy my earnings now rather than later.
- Physically: Develop a regimented habitual schedule + diet that keeps me physically healthy that is adaptable to my lifestyle.
- Physically: Encourage others through my various channels to be the best fulfilled version of themselves by pushing me to be the best fulfilled version of myself.
- Emotionally: Stop myself from working from home to focus on my family and loved ones when I’m away from the office.
- Spiritually: Meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes a day to clear my mind from outer world distractions.
- Spiritually: Travel to a new country once a year and travel domestically to a new city once a year.
- Mental: Journal everyday to reflect gratitude and spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading.
- Mental: Save 40% of income a year and reinvest up to 15% of annual income into current or new passive income opportunities.
Note: My dad always reminded me that human beings are special in that our bodies are made up of four parts: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. In my V2MOM, I strive to make strides in each part. It turns out improvements/complications in one part can lead to improvements/complications in another (for example, if I'm physically healthier I also feel emotionally positive about my body image).
- Tendency to overwork and forget to unplug
- Lack of discipline to maintain healthy daily routines due to stress of career
- Temptation to say yes to opportunities that feel great short term but don't benefit long term
- Unseen emergency expenses
- Physical: Weight loss and energy level/focus improve over 6 months (140-150 pounds)
- Emotional: Increase in financial savings per month due to company doing well and less time worrying about company stability
- Spiritual: Unplug for an hour a day without any electronics to take the time to recalibrate with the world. Be able to be feel content without any electronics (for example, if I see something beautiful, can I stop and take it in without wanting to post about it on social media?)
- Mental: Ability to build new positive habits from reassuring myself I own the previous ones (for example, journaling every day along with reading 30 pages a day showed me I can keep adding new habits to build myself as I was able to stick with the last two).
The above V2MOM made 2017 my best year yet. While writing the plan gave me the clarity on the things I love living for, the constant reflection of my plan pushed me to develop new habits like reading daily and unplugging regularly.
Saying no becomes much easier when you define your vision of success. It gets especially easier when you're able to weigh incoming opportunities against the values you hold dear. Focus on the opportunities that bring you bliss. Ignore the ones that go against your values. You owe it to yourself.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!