An extract from Nick Christelis’: The Art of the Arrow: How Leaders Fly
Maybe you’ve never known what to do with your life? Or maybe you had a dream but lost it through discouraging circumstances or the busyness of day-to-day living.
No matter how much money you have, if you don’t have a clear vision for your life you are truly poor. As the saying goes: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.’ What’s worse, you won’t even know when you’ve arrived. Unless you have a definite idea of where you want to go, the chances of your getting there are remote. The problem is that most people cannot see beyond their current circumstances.
- Without a meaningful vision of the future, life loses its meaning.
- An absence of meaning then leads to a lack of hope.
- People without hope can become resentful of their jobs or their familiesThey start living with a nagging internal longing for something more.
- They may even stop participating in life in a significant way.
No matter how much money a person might have, anyone who lives like this is poor. A visionless life is a poverty-stricken existence.
Is this you?
Are these your employees?
These people come to the end of their lives drained, not completed. But remember we do have a choice. We can choose to go above the line into a growth cycle, but to do this we must have a vision of where we’re going.
Our vision gives us powerful motivation for staying above the line. Staying above the line means accepting accountability for creating your life, but how is it possible to be accountable for creating anything if we don’t have a powerful, clear, and meaningful vision of what it is? It’s just not possible.
What is your vision?
- The first step to understanding your vision is to realise that it always emanates from your purpose.
- Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish.
- Vision is when you can see it in your mind. When you begin to imagine what it looks like as you live out your purpose.
- When you’re able to see your purpose, your vision comes to life.
Your vision may be clear to you or it may be buried somewhere deep inside you waiting to be discovered. The fundamental challenge of life is to find our purpose and vision and fulfil it. Until we do, we merely exist.
Vision is the strongest motivator of human behaviour; it influences what we do and what we don’t do. It highlights our priorities and is a guide to how we live our lives. Vision provides the fuel of passion that we need to stay in and win this race called life.
Leadership without vision is just not possible!
In my experience it’s a fallacy to think that a larger corporate vision originates from a group; it’s more often than not the case that a leader has the vision. The leader then shares their vision with the group and transfers it to them. The members of the group then run with the vision because they find in it a place for their own personal visions to be fulfilled.
This is an important idea for leaders to understand. It’s the essence of why a vision has power. But note, it can’t be selfish. If it is it will disconnect the followers from the leader. The LeadSA vision of Primedia Broadcasting connected with every citizen’s desire to create a better South Africa. The ‘One for One’ vision of TOMS shoes connected with every employees’ instinctive desire to help disadvantaged children.
Maybe now you can see why ‘to be a billion dollar company’ or ‘to have 15% annual growth over the next 10 years’ are not visions. Both are valid as objectives, but not visions. They don’t connect and bring to the surface any personal vision or aspiration individuals might have.
A leader will dig deep into your being and begin to draw out what you’re dreaming, thinking and desiring. He’ll present the corporate vision and you’ll become excited about participating in it because you’ll see how your personal vision finds fulfilment in it.
South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) is an excellent example of a powerful vision that digs deep into people’s psyche and begins to draw out what they are thinking, dreaming and desiring.
Here is a condensed version of that vision. You can see the full vision at http://www.gov.za/issues/national-development-plan-2030.
South Africa belongs to all its peoples. We, the people, belong to one another. We live the rainbow. Our homes, neighbourhoods, villages, towns, and cities are safe and filled with laughter. Through our institutions, we order our lives. The faces of our children tell of the future we have crafted. Leaders understand reality and then through using the power of vision they give people hope.
Finding your personal vision
- Take half an hour and allow yourself to dream about what you would like to do in life. What ideas and desires do you have? What have you always wanted to do or have?
- Think about your primary talents and strengths. How do your dreams, talents and strengths go together?
- Write down your dreams, ideas, desires, talents and strengths and read them over every evening for a week. Then ask yourself, ‘Do these ideas hold true?’ ‘Are they what I want to do?’ If the answer is yes, keep them where you can refer to them and watch them form into a specific vision of your future that embodies everything that’s important to you.
- Create a vision board to keep your vision top of mind until it’s fully internalised. To do this simply cut out, from old magazines, pictures that depict the ideal life your vision represents and paste these meaningfully onto a poster board. Display it where it can be easily and frequently seen.
And ask yourself – do you remember the child you once were?