Success comes in many shapes and sizes, but ask any great leader about being successful and they will tell you it boils down to having a great team and a clear vision.

The first step is to identify your vision as a nurse leader. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? What do you want to achieve, build, and how do you want to make a difference?

You may have heard any number of goal gurus talk about writing down specific, measureable, and achievable goals. You may have heard that you should look at them frequently (I keep mine posted on refrigerator) and plan how you will achieve them. Although these points are good and can help you make some progress, you may be missing something.

The key to writing specific, measurable, and achievable is to have a crystal clear vision of what success looks like for you.

Here are 5 strategies to help give you clarity:

1.  Visualize.  Picture yourself being the very best nurse leader you can imagine; what does that look like? When you think about how you really want it to be, does it move you or inspire you? What do you want your nursing leadership legacy to be? Take some time and sit with yourself to identify where your passion lies. Allow yourself to dream big and connect with it. If you know your vision already, spend time to reconnect with it. Remind yourself of what your professional passion and purpose is. Why do you want to be a nursing leader?

2.  Focus.  Are you taking consistent action to achieve or make that vision a reality in your life? If you do not know, take a look at what you’re spending time doing. You will get a clear idea of your priorities based on your actions. You may say you are focused on team building, but most of the time you are working on cost and productivity projects. Do you spend time doing activities to distract you? Are you doing what seems urgent rather than what is really important? Are you carrying out activities to keep others happy or satisfied? The answers to these questions will give you valuable information about what you’re really focused on rather than what you think you’re focused on. In addition, if you think about the activities a little more deeply, you may uncover your motives behind them.

3.  Assess Your Priorities.  Are you creating a story around why you are not carrying out or vision? Our mind is protective, it wants to protect us from real or imagined danger. So we will create reasons or stories (I like to call them excuses) around why we are doing or not doing something. Notice if you cleverly dress them up to sound important to switch the focus off your vision.

For example, you want to increase patient satisfaction on your unit, but staff retention and sick calls are plaguing you. You tell yourself you will implement patient satisfaction strategies when you reach the proper staffing levels. Although that makes sense, you have given yourself a loophole to get out of the patient satisfaction goal. You notice you are spending too time on staffing at the expense of your patient satisfaction goals. Ask yourself why you needed to focus elsewhere? Does something else need your attention? Can you delegate? Are you avoiding patient satisfaction strategies for reason? These are questions to get you thinking and focused.

4.   Action.  What actions are you taking to live your vision now? You may have realized from the questions above that your vision was not clear or your actions were inconsistent with your vision. You also may have uncovered some truths about why you are not the leader you want to be. Take time to identify these truths and potential reasons. Re-focus back to your vision and take consistent action toward its achievement. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Many people fail to take action for fear of failure or wait for perfection to start. Is that you? Push through that fear and move forward. You will learn as you go.

TIP: Make a list of the actions needed to make your vison a reality and check them off as you go to reinforce your accomplishments.

5.   Review. How are you doing? As you are going through this process, ask yourself how you’re doing. Review your vision and look at your actions daily. Are your actions in alignment with your vision? This quick check in will give you an indicator on where you’re spending time and if fears or blocks have entered your psyche. Redirect back to the vision and actions.

You have some ideas to help you create and carry out your vision. Spend time detailing your vision and take action to live it. You must embody the leader you want to be.

Take my 30 day challenge. Spend the next 30 days doing the following:

  • Daily take 5 minutes to visualize the nurse leader you want to become as if you achieved it.
  • Write down action steps to make your vision a reality and start implementing them.
  • At the end of your day take an inventory of your actions. Did they align with that vision? Where are you spending your time?

Need help implementing these steps to be an outstanding nursing leader? sign up for a free consultation.