If you do only one thing today to start moving in the right direction toward growing your business, do this: take a moment to imagine what your ideal future would be. What does your business success look like? More clients? More revenue? Expansion on a local, regional, or national scale? It may sound simple, but this exercise is absolutely essential to your moving forward.
Consider how a lack of vision played out in the story of distance swimmer, Florence Chadwick, who wanted to become the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel in 1952. The day of her swim, the water was numbingly cold and the fog was dense. She started with resolve, but more than 15 hours into her attempt, she asked to be taken onto one of the boats. Though her trainer told her repeatedly that she was near the shore and urged her not to quit, she succumbed to the icy conditions and was taken out of the water. As her body began to thaw, she discovered that she had quit just half of a mile from the California coast!
She told a reporter, “I don’t want to make excuses, but if I could have seen the shoreline, I would have made it.”
I have observed that most people will quit just short of their desired outcome if their mind is limited by lack of vision. Without vision, organizations become disorganized, inefficient, ineffective, and filled with fear. Without vision, people quit. Without vision, people perish.
What Vision Is Not
Some may think, “Hey, I don’t have the time to sit around and imagine something that may not even happen. I need to get down to business.” Conventional thinkers would much rather iron out the details before spending time on “pie in the sky” thoughts and drifting off on some lofty cloud.
But vision is one of the fundamental powers of the effective leader. It is a quality that makes the effective leader unique. Without a driving, inspirational vision, planning is reduced to nothing more than an uninspired to-do list. Vision places the compelling why behind what you do.
How do I put the power of vision into practice?
If you are ready to see what the power of vision can do for your business, I have outlined five action steps for you below. Follow these step by step, and you will be on your way to harnessing Vision 20 reviews the power of vision.
Step #1 – Start and Keep an Ongoing Dream List
A dream list is simply a list of wishful goals that you have always wanted to accomplish… everything that you have ever wanted to be, wanted to have, or wanted to do. I have kept a dream list updated annually since 1979. Some might think this a silly undertaking, but I have learned from this exercise that we attract to ourselves that which we set out for ourselves. What we see is what we get.
Step #2 – Write a Vision Statement
The statement should be written in paragraph format and should be no more than one page. It should be dated five to 10 years into the future, but written in present tense. Write a clear description of your ideal future, as if you are already there. Be somewhat realistic, but be careful not to limit your potential. This description should express your heart and soul.
Step #3 – Set Annual Goals
Your annual goals, no more than three to five, should move you closer to your vision and your goals should always be driven from vision. Each year review your dream list and set specific, measurable goals that you can realistically accomplish this year. Each goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, tangible, and include a target date for completion.
Step #4 – Review Your Vision Statement
Review your vision statement annually and make revisions. Your evaluation should always be about how compelling the vision is, never how realistic it is. Vision is never about reality. Vision is always about using the gift of imagination to visualize your ideal future. That compelling vision then drives your daily actions and behaviors.
Step #5 – Share Your Vision Statement
With a mentor, share your vision statement, and ask him or her to hold you accountable. Accountability and results management are two of the strongest motivations I have ever experienced. Many people are afraid of accountability because it requires commitment, but commitment puts the reality of your vision on the line.
The power of vision keeps the effective leader moving toward a passionate vision for tomorrow, rather than settling into a comfort zone of security today. Your business will never grow or change if you do not expect it to grow. Your expectations will undoubtedly lead to a result that fits those expectations, so expect BIG THINGS!
Wonder what happened with our friend, Florence Chadwick? Two months after her failed attempt, she swam the Catalina Channel. This time she made sure it was a clear day because she had learned that she must be able to see her goal. Not only did she become the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, she also beat the men’s record time by two hours!