Reactionary, stressed out, short-fused, and negative – when I am like this it is usually because I have lost sight of my vision. I am focused on the short term and forgot how to enjoy the ride I am on.
A leader without vision, is doomed to fail at work and at home.
Enjoying the Ride
There are times when I love to drive. Long drives on open roads are some of my favorites. I like to have my music turned up and my seat pushed back. I enjoy uninterrupted views for miles.
But, there have been those moments when the ride is less enjoyable. Like when I drive into a bank of fog – everything changes.
A Good Ride Ruined
When the fog rolls in, my joy ride ends. A few things happen instinctively.
- I Slow Down: I automatically begin tapping my brakes in anticipation of potential problems.
- I Tense Up: My grip tightens on the steering wheel and my shoulders roll forward.
- I Turn Down The Music: When I can’t see, the music becomes a distraction.
- I Change My View: I lean closer to the windshield – as if those extra few inches will keep me from hitting that armadillo (I live in Texas). My focus changes to everything happening just a few feet from the hood of my car.
- I Feel Every Pothole: The impact of an unexpected pothole feels like a crater in the road.
I use this illustration with people to describe what it is like to be a person or an organization without vision. Without vision, the same things happen to our lives or our businesses as what I described on my car ride.
- I Slow Down: Without vision, I automatically move slower and focus on what might go wrong.
- I Am Tense: Without vision, stress and tension are an everyday occurrence for me.
- I Push Away Passions: Without vision, my family and/or my hobbies can become annoyances.
- I Focus On The Immediate: Without vision, I focus on only the immediate, day-to-day tasks with little attention to the future.
- My Challenges Are Craters: Without vision, even small problems feel overwhelming and threatening to me.
What Vision Gives Me
When I am able to focus down the road, when I keep my eyes on the horizon and on my destination, everything changes. Vision changes the ride.
- I Speed Up: With vision, I can move forward at the maximum allowed speed.
- I Am Relaxed: With vision, I am confident in my ability to handle what is next. My view is clear, and my confidence grows.
- I Enjoy My Passions: With vision, the things I love (family and/or hobbies) are not distractions. They add to the journey.
- I Focus On The Future: With vision, the immediate day-to-day tasks lose their grasp on me. I am focused on my destination and preparing for the opportunities down the road. Thus, I move from a reactive existence to a proactive life.
- I Keep The Challenges In Perspective: With vision, the challenges I hit stay in perspective. I see them coming and either avoid them or drive through them, maintaining my speed and confidence.
The Bottom Line
A personal vision or an organization’s vision is like the North Star. It is that guiding principle that you always keep in sight but can never quite reach. Like the ancient sailors who used the North Star to guide them, you will never be lost if you can see your North Star.
A vision for an individual or an organization is a far-reaching ideal. It is always on the horizon guiding our journey and keeping us on a path towards our ideal.
Personally I like a simple Vision Statement that adheres to three rules:
- It must be one sentence.
- A 12 year old must be able to understand it.
- It can be recited at gunpoint.
Without this type of simplicity and clarity, individuals and individuals in organizations will have a hard time using it as a guide.
My Personal Vision:
To lead good people to become the great people God designed them to be.
I will never be able to say I have completed my vision. It will always be there. I strive to achieve my vision both inside and outside of work.
If I keep my eye on my vision it will guide me and keep me on track. The challenges in life will seem like potholes and not craters.
With vision, my life will not be reactionary. I will enjoy the ride. I am enjoying the ride! How about you?
What is your vision? Is it a good North Star for your or your organization?