Meet Eric, College Student Blog Series – Defining Your Vision

Eric PhilippouI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my summer internship at ILI, a leadership and management consulting firm. I am entering my final fall semester at T­he Ohio State University, majoring in Strategic Communication. I like marketing and plan to attend business school in a few years. I’m also on the varsity fencing team at Ohio State.

If you’re a college student, you may often think about what you want to do with your life. Even after lots of soul-searching, many of you are still uncertain about what you want to do. This summer, I am starting a blog that helps students find their life purposes, plus a step-by-step guide on bringing this vision into reality. I am giving you information from a workbook written by a combination of college faculty and leadership development and executive coaching experts who make business executives very successful. This book will be published late in 2014. I am working with the draft version to create a blog series. Throughout this blog, I will provide my answers to the exercises as an example.

Here are the six steps to conquering your dreams, all of which I am covering this summer:

Innovative Leadership Development Process

To begin working toward your dreams, you need to have dreams. This brings us to our first topic – create a compelling vision of your future. This topic is broken down into four sub-topics. I will cover the first in this post and the next in subsequent posts. You will see my answers to each question in italics below.

Define Your Personal Vision

  • Step 1: Create a picture of your future. Imagine yourself in the future, at the end of your life, happily reflecting on your success and how you achieved it. Answer these questions:
    • What is the thing of which you are most proud?
    • Motivating millions with my non-profit organization (NPO).
    • If you had a family, what would they say about you?
    • They would say that I would do anything for them, and I was selfless and great to them.
    • What did you accomplish professionally?
    • Climbed to the top of a large corporation and started a highly successful NPO.
    • What would your friends say about you?
    • The funniest guy they knew, always great to hang out with, and I’m an overall great guy.


  • Step 2: Write a story. Now that you have a general idea of what you will do, write a short story that goes into further detail about these things. Include details about your answers from above, and consider the questions below. This will act as a roadmap for your journey and what you would want if designing the perfect life for yourself.
    • Who helped you along the way?
    • My wife, family, and friends – many of whom I met in business.
    • What did you enjoy about your daily life?
    • I always ate well because I am a great cook. I also had a lot of fun interacting with co-workers, clients, and my family.
    • Who was closest to you?
    • My wife, family, and a few friends are people I have known for a long time.
    • What feelings did you have as you accomplished each milestone along the way?
    • Overwhelming joy and pride and each accomplishment motivated me to tackle the next milestone. I am also proud that on the days I felt concern, and even a bit of fear, I kept focused on my goals and moved forward.
    • How did you mentor and contribute to the success of others?
    • At work, I mentored my co-workers who worked below me and brought out the best in them. In my NPO, I touched millions with my work and helped many people worldwide succeed.
    • What did you do to maintain your health?
    • I exercised often to keep my energy up, ate nutritiously, and relaxed to recharge my batteries.
    • What role did spirituality or religion play in your journey?
    • Not a large role. I always stuck with the golden rule unconditionally.
    • What job(s) did you have?
    • From entry-level to executive at a large corporation and then founder of my NPO.
    • What role did material success play in your life?
    • I won’t lie, I did enjoy making a lot of money. Money gave my family and me opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have. Material success played a decent role in my life but was not the main goal.
    • What type of person were you? (Kind, caring, driven, gracious, etc.)
    • I was always regarded as very generous, selfless, and driven. 


  • Step 3: Describe your vision. Now that you have more information about yourself and how you want to live create a two-to-five-sentence life purpose statement. This talks about your highest priorities in life and your aspirations. This statement should ca­­pture the essence of how you want to live and project yourself.
    • An example: My vision is to bring maximum greatness to myself and the rest of the world. I will conduct myself with integrity and always push myself, knowing that succeeding in my goals will benefit the human race. I will live the best and happiest life that I could imagine. The world will benefit from me being here long after I am gone.


  • Step 4: Expand and clarify your vision. Many of you probably have a mixture of selfless and self-centered elements to your vision. You may wonder if wanting wealth and luxury in your vision is okay. For now, suspend your judgment about what is “worth” desiring and instead ask yourself which elements of these visions are closest to your deepest desire. Ask yourself, “If I could have it right now, would I take it?” and consider what about each element appeals to you.
    • For example, in my answer, my true deepest desire is to impact the world positively. I want to be wealthy, but right now, if I did that to the extent I desire, I could die and be 100% content with my entire life. In your life purpose statement, focus more on what would bring you complete peace with yourself. Consider this, and revise your life purpose statement accordingly.
    • Some elements of your vision will not surpass this question, and others may only pass under specific circumstances. Some may change over time.
    • My previous life purpose statement looked like this: I will climb up to top management in a large organization. I will have enough money to have an awesome house and luxury cars and even create my nonprofit organization that focuses on providing people with motivation and success strategies. Everyone who meets me will think, “Wow, what a great guy.” I will show respect for everyone.
    • Then I asked, “If I could have it right now, would I take it?”
      • Climbing to top management of a large corporation
        • Yes, but only if the corporation does things that I support and I get to where I am ethically. It’s more about having the power and resources to carry out what I believe will benefit society more.
      • Enough money for an awesome house and luxury cars
        • Yes, but only if I received it ethically and it brings me the joy I seek.
      • Enough money to start a nonprofit organization
        • Yes.
      • Everyone who meets me will be impressed.
        • If I’m impressed with myself, and I feel my accomplishments have benefitted humanity, then the desire to impress others is not very important – merely a bonus.
      • I will show respect to everyone.
        • Yes, that is a very broad goal I can easily control immediately.
    • After thorough analysis, I refined my life purpose statement according to the previous step: My vision is to bring maximum greatness to myself and the rest of the world. I will conduct myself with integrity and always push myself, knowing that succeeding in my goals will benefit the human race. I will live the best and happiest life that I could imagine. The world will benefit from me being here long after I am gone.


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  1. […] to that vision and values. The story of Eric is a three month series starting with the post “Meet Eric, Student Blog Series – Defining Your Vision” in which he talks about his experience using the Workbook to plan his professional career and […]

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