Week 9: Creating and activating your vision

By the end of this week you should be able to:


  • identify your values with respect to returning to work in SET
  • set clear and achievable goals and objectives
  • identify your own strategy for returning to a SET career, either by finding employment, undertaking further study or becoming self employed
  • articulate your goals in the form of an action plan with SMART objectives.

Identify your values:


Defining Values are six or eight key principles that define who you are and represent the essence of your character and what you stand for.

Heart’s Purpose is the expression of your passion, your inner drive and doing what is most fulfilling for you.

Activating Vision is the ‘broad accomplishment that you want to achieve with your careeer. It is not merely a goal: it is your endgame…. It is a dream of being, rather than simply doing.’


The language makes me squirm, but the ideas are good, and similar to several exercises I’ve done in the past. However, having spoken to a few good friends, I’m becoming more aware of how little use these exercises can be to someone who isn’t particularly self-aware.

If you haven’t spent time thinking about who you are, how can you answer this type of question?

Even the personality tests offered earlier won’t give a meaningful answer to someone who hasn’t tried to work out what makes them tick. Now, perhaps I’m being a bit biased, but from my interviewing experience, I would say that this is more likely to describe a man than a woman. When asked “How would your friends describe you?” a disconcerting number of male applicants clam up and simply don’t know the answer. They’ve never thought about it before.


As is common with many of these activities, we are instructed to ‘be brave and think big’ when it comes to our vision. I’m sorry, but for a lot of people that is simply setting the stage for apparent failure and a resulting loss of confidence which is in no way helpful. By all means dream big, but if you can’t turn your dreams into a plan, then they will always stay as dreams and you won’t benefit other than by having a fantasy escape.


Setting goals

The SWOT analysis technique is introduced (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) in this stage of the exercise, but the technique is not explained at all.


For a short explanation, try here.


Goals should be positive (I want, rather than I don’t want) and should have measures of progress built into them.


Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).


An alternative to Achievable is Agreed (not mentioned on the course) as none of us will be able to achieve our goals alone. Any changes we make are bound to affect those around us, and unless we have their agreement and support, we’re unlikely to make much progress.


Creating an action plan

We are supposed to use the OUs software (Profile) to do this. Not going there! It requires me to run a windows computer, is painfully clanky, and won’t be accessible once this course is over (the only windows machine we have was set up for this course, and will return to Linux just as soon as it’s over – I want my computer back!).


A good action plan should include:


  • Description of goal
  • What it will involve
  • Exactly how you will do this
  • Resources needed
  • When you are going to do it
  • Possible consequences for yourself and others
  • Any barriers that need to be overcome

More on that later.



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