BY KEISHA JOHNSON
At the start of the year, there is usually much furor about vision casting. For many of us we have been there, done that and seen little results.
Our society tells us that part of our adult responsibility is to have a vision to indicate that we are serious about life, that we have a plan and that we are going somewhere. Ancient wisdom teaches that without a vision, people perish. So we create impressive vision boards and punchy vision statements but the actual realization of the vision eludes some of us.
With every unfulfilled dream we lose hope. At that point, we are at risk of becoming nonchalant, resistant and even dismissive of pursuing the vision we had in mind that once so excited us.
So why are we not realizing the visions we create? What are we missing?
The answer is not simple, so let’s examine some facts about visions and what it takes to attain them, then you can determine where the gaps may be for you.
A starting point is to understand the truth about a vision.
First, a vision is not tangible. It is a picture we have in our imagination of an idea, a concept or object. We need a vision to be clear about what we want to achieve, but without a proper plan and taking the required actions to implement it, a vision is unlikely to materialize.
Second, when we map the vision out on a vision board it is still not yet realized. Even with the most thorough research and strategic planning, the vision is still in the realm of ideation; if we leave it there, without the necessary follow through actions, that’s where it remains, unfulfilled.
The same is true for a vision statement. While it may succinctly capture and articulate the vision and get us excited, it remains an affirmation of our desire, hope or intention. The affirmation is necessary to reinforce the belief we have for and in the vision, to motivate us, keep us focused and to tell others the end result we are pursuing. But affirmations without the requisite supporting actions are not enough to fulfill a vision, much like “faith without works is dead”.
To make the vision real we have to actively pursue it. That means, action your strategic plan. In preparation to launch out, consider the following three questions that could affect your success.
Is the vision plain or clear?
Can you articulate your vision to a 7th grader in language they understand and does your enthusiasm and belief in the vision generate confidence and buy-in from others? To fulfill most visions requires the support and involvement from others. The first step in attracting the right team and talent to move the dream into reality is to be able to articulate the dream and get people onboard with you. Make the vision plain, especially for those whose talent and resources are needed to fulfill it.
Is the vision the right fit for you, for the times, for the place and for the people you wish to engage?
The question of ‘fit’ is often overlooked but has the potential to rob the steam required to persist with your vision especially when you encounter challenges and setbacks.
To determine the right fit for you as the visionary, answer: how does the vision align with your passions and your core values? Your passions are what you care most about and will do whatever is necessary to make time and sacrifices for. Your core values are your uncompromisable principles that you will die for. Your core values and passions are the fuel that will make you relentless and committed to push against the odds to fulfill your vision. Ensure that your vision is complementary to both.
To determine fit for place, times and people, do an assessment of the external factors, trends and stimuli related to each that could affect the realization of the vision. This is necessary to ensure that the people you target, the environment in which you will operate and the times you are in are all conducive to the vision thriving.
Some of the questions to answer are: is there a demand, how big, small and what is the room for growth, what price will the market bear, what edge do you have on the competition if there are competitors, where can you access funding to ensure sustainability, how accessible and available are the other resources required to fulfill the vision, do the people on the team understand and share a commitment to the vision, do they have the required skill set and are fully motivated etc.
Is the vision attainable?
Because our imagination is a boundless creative sphere unhindered by resources (time, people, assets, money, technology etc.), our visions can be large and lofty. That is encouraged so long as the vision – the ideal you imagine can still be practically fulfilled even if it’s a new invention, never seen or tried. To make this determination may require some research and exploration and even possibly a refining of the vision.
When these questions are adequately answered, the strategic plan for implementation is much more feasible and those charged to fulfill the vision can then move forward in unity, confidence and with a clear path to ensuring success.