Here starts the new decade and what better place to start than with a vision, your vision, of the decade that stretches before you. I am not speaking here of the meanings attached to your night dreams, nor with the abstract, random, almost uncontrollable lapses into daydreaming but with your personal dream and your personal vision for your life ahead: be that in business, at work or in your personal life.
To set the tone for the following article I would like to present the following quotations:
“I do not want to die until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me, until the last small twig has grown.”
“The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but significance and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that is as unique as a fingerprint, and the best way to succeed is to discover what you love, and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”
Clearly, with just a few moments, research on the Internet, one can find many such quotations, and indeed quotations on just about any subject from just about any significant modern or historical figure, so why did I choose these? Well, in order to bring them into the context that I require I will briefly attempt to distinguish between dreams as ideas and dreams as vision.
I have never really had much time for those people in life, and more particularly in business, that purport to be an “ideas man”. Invariably, these people use the term to avoid any practical and realistic deliverables from their ideas. It is far too often used as an excuse for avoiding the necessary hardship of manifesting the idea, because of their patent inability to commit to implementation and detail. Frequently they lack the drive, ability and, dare I say it, vision to see their ideas become reality.
You will undoubtedly have met such people yourself masquerading as mavericks and eccentrics. Whilst it may be possible for some very few people to survive in today’s economic climate by simply having ideas, more often than not, backing and support from stakeholders, colleagues and employees quickly falls away as their “ideas” fail to deliver any tangible plan or solution. Another tell-tale sign of the ideas man is a habitual tendency to change their ideas on a daily basis and to jump on the latest bandwagon under the guise of performing “ahead of the pack” or claiming to be at the “cutting edge” of technology and society. Statements such as “people just don’t get me, they can’t keep up with my ideas” are typical sound-bites from these dreamers.
To have a vision, to be indeed a visionary, requires far more than random ideas and abstract concepts, particularly in the world of business and commerce; this is why the above quotations have a particular resonance with me. They recognize the value of having a dream, but also and critically, of the absolute and un-swaying focus and commitment that makes the dream a vision.
Let’s face it, companies don’t have Dream Statements, they have Vision Statements!!
Another brief reading of the two quotations from Oprah should provide you with the proof of this. She speaks of realising a dream and not simply having one; she mentions small victories along the journey which itself implies that there is work and effort required over the journey of turning a dream into a reality. This, I believe, is vision.
Interestingly, also, she mentions, the greater meaning of little victories and small steps; my understanding of these comments is that the journey may not be quick nor simple and that one should seek the positives as you travel the journey, and not just simply focus on the manifestation of the end result.
In the second quotation referred to Oprah mentions a unique talent. I have previously covered this subject; namely that of our individual uniqueness. I have for some time been of a similar opinion that we all have one single particular skill or attribute, ability or talent, that we can perform or deliver better than anybody else in the whole world. I used the analogy of the thumbprint to elaborate upon this in a previous article. To find this unique and personal attribute, one should absolutely start by investigating exactly what it is that you love to do or desire to be; this I firmly believe is the best starting point for your personal vision. Find what it is that you love, and I’m willing to bet that you are better at doing this than anything else that you currently do; build your vision around this.
Whether you are a believer in the law of attraction, and that the universe will provide you with all you need to succeed with this vision, or whether you simply believe in working hard and “getting what you deserve” is a moot point, because surely working hard, committing oneself, having focus, commitment and intent are far more easily available to you if you are performing the work and service that you love. At this point you can hopefully see the relevance of the quotation included from Kathe Kollowitz; if I may paraphrase, don’t die wondering.
So, if the above commentary has struck some chord within you, then how you may ask, are you to convert this vision of yours into your brave new world? Well, take heart; the solution is at hand. What you require is a method, a system, if you will. This is the fun bit and if your vision does not provide you with enjoyment and fun then maybe you need to re-evaluate your vision. It is critical, before you go any further, to understand one fundamental issue, this is your vision and will deliver your reality; not your colleagues’ vision, your friends’ or your family’s vision, but your own. It is personal, and you may indeed decide to keep it private. But if you do share this vision, please, please ensure that it is only with those people that you can rely on to be supportive. Indeed, part of your vision for your new life may include moving away from those people who lack the desire or ability to change anything and who far too easily point out the negatives and potential pitfalls.
Having clarity and clearing the clutter from your mind and life could be the first step for you in making your vision real. (See Marie-Claire’s article in the December issue of the 3rdi magazine for help in doing this.)
There are almost as many systems and methods as there are individuals to deploy them. We are, as we have seen, unique and therefore the system that we deploy is potentially as unique as we are. In general terms, though, the following techniques may provide some initial direction;
Meditation and visualisation techniques.
Storyboards and picture charts.
Writing lists of desires and goals.
Personal development training
Autobiographies and inspirational stories;
the list is almost endless, but carries a single consistent and critical theme, namely, that you should find what resonates with you.
What has worked with someone else may not work for you, and equally, what has not worked for you in the past may hold some new relevance for you in this new moment with your new clarity and new vision. Make this research and investigation exciting and enjoyable because it is the first steps to a new future. Try and test as many methods and techniques as possible until you find the one that suits you and you alone. It is your life, your vision and your way.
In a recent interview between Rachel Elnaugh and the billionaire Michael Gerber, author of the global best-seller The E-Myth, he alluded to the relevance of dreaming. In fact, he spent some time promoting his latest venture, which focused specifically on this aspect of entrepreneurship. When answering a question from an incoming caller he provided a typically concise and erudite response;
Get on a plane and come to my seminar. I guarantee it will change your life forever.”
His new “dreamer” course costs approximately $5,000. Add to this travel, transport and accommodation, and his system for delivering your vision will cost nigh on £8000. There is little doubt about his success, nor his track record and this may well be the solution for you. Indeed, I am frequently confronted in business and in life situations with people that still fail to see the value of things, and only see their price. I would, however, just suggest that it maybe worthwhile investigating less costly solutions before booking your place in Los Angeles!
In summary, then, your vision needs to be more than just a pipedream if it is to take you towards your new life. It is the first and arguably most significant step for you to take.
My advice is simply this – take this first step.
When you are clear on your vision you are clearer on your future.
Be creative, committed and inspired in your adventure.
Don’t die wondering.