Professional and Alumni

Reflective Human Action

Reflective Human Action
On-Line Curriculum

Final Paper


Visioning is the term used to describe the process of focusing on an image of the future. It has been referred to by Jaffe, Scott, and Tobe (1994, p. 146) as " . . . a journey from the known to the unknown. "Other authors refer to visioning as " . . . the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist, to become what we not yet are" (Covey, Merrill, & Merrill, 1994, p. 103-4).

We use current facts, hopes, dreams, threats, dangers, and opportunities to design our visions. Visioning encourages us to use awareness of ourselves, our conscience, our imagination, and our independence to ask the tough questions: What do we want to be? What does it take to be the best that we want to be? What are my capabilities for achieving what I want to be? For what do I want people to know me? Visioning focuses on what we want to become rather than on what we are presently.

Effective visions for the future are grounded in respect and honor for the past. People who accept their past and use it as a stepping stone to the future deal with change more easily than those who refuse to let go of the past. In our personal and professional lives, ". . . change occurs in creating a continuity from the past to the future. Honoring the past provides a springboard into the future" (Jaffe, Scott, & Tobe, 1994, p. 155).

The visioning process has numerous outcomes for an individual and an organization. Several outcomes important for an individual relate to commitment, sense of purpose, personal mastery, appreciation of differences as strengths, interdependence, and innovation.

In this activity, we will learn about the process of visioning as a means of reflecting on our own personal vision. Visioning challenges all of us to engage both head and heart in designing a mission statement of what we want to be and what it takes for us to "get there."

Getting in touch with our inner selves allows us to use our self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination to create a compelling inner or personal vision. Putting that vision into words of a mission statement permits us to discover new ways of seeing ourselves and doing what is right. In other words, the end of the personal mission statement is "personal empowerment".

A personal mission statement is exactly that--truly personal and empowering for the individual who envisions it. It is not a "to do list" to be checked off when completed. Rather, it is a living document that becomes the person. It is the blueprint before construction, the criteria by which we live our lives day by day. Covey, Merrill, and Merrill (1994) indicate that "most people who feel empowered by their mission statements find that there seems to be a point at which their statement 'lives.' They own it. It is theirs. A vital connection is made between the mission and the moment of life. With nurturing and continuing cultivation the mission statement becomes the primary factor that influences every moment of choice" (p. 116).
Covey, Merrill, and Merrill (1994, p. 113) identified several characteristics of empowering mission statements. An empowering mission statement:

  1. Represents the deepest and the best within you and is rooted in a solid connection with your deep inner life.
  2. Is the fulfillment of your own unique gifts.
  3. Is transcendent and based on principles of contribution and purpose higher than self.
  4. Addresses and integrates all human needs and capacities and includes fulfillment in the physical, social, mental, and spiritual dimensions.
  5. Is based on principles that produce quality-of-life results.
  6. Deals with both vision and principle-based values.
  7. Represents a balance in your life.
  8. Communicates to you and inspires you.

Final Project: (Parts 1 and 2)

Part I:

Personal Mission Statement


  1. Find a quiet place where you can bring yourself into a reflective frame of mind.
  2. Reflect on the results you want to achieve in your life. Write down your responses. Bring your vision to the surface by asking questions such as "If you could have it now, would you want it?" "What would it bring you, allow you to do?"
  3. Allow the ideas listed below lead you toward expressions of deep wishes and vision.
    1. Self-image: If you could design the kind of person you wanted to be, what qualities/characteristics would this person have?
    2. Tangibles: List the material things this person would have.
    3. Home: Describe the living environment of this person.
    4. Health: What is your desire for the health and fitness of this person?
    5. Relationships: What types of relationships would this person have with family, friends, associates?
    6. Work: What is the professional or vocational aspiration of this person? What impact would you want this person to have on other people in the work environment? What do you see this person doing in the work environment?
    7. Personal pursuits: Where do you see this person in terms of individual learning, travel, reading, volunteering?
    8. Community: What is your vision for the community in which this person lives and works?
    9. Life Purpose: What is the purpose of this person's life?
  4. Review what you have written about your vision. Identify the primary goals that surface from this analysis. Are there some common themes that both you and your partner share?
  5. In the privacy of your own space, develop an action plan--a mission statement--for living out these goals.


Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R. (1994). First things first. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Jaffe, D. T., Scott, C. D., & Tobe, G. R. (1994). Rekindling Commitment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Part 2:

Once you have completed your personal mission statement, reflect on the principles of Reflective Human Action (authenticity, ethical sensibility, and spirituality). How does your personal mission statement integrate the process of the new reality: accepting chaos, sharing information, developing relationships, and embracing vision?

Mail your Final Project for evaluation to: Kappa Omicron Nu, or email a PDF version to

The final grade will be based on participation in the course, substance and depth of the personal mission statement, and the reflective integration of the concepts explored in this course.


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