“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo
Vision. Webster’s Dictionary states that vision is “a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination.” As a Life and Team coach, I think of vision as a preferred future. It’s a destination to work towards.
In his book Christian Coaching, author Gary R. Collins says, “A vision is a clear picture of something we want to have exist in the future. It is a target we intend to reach. It encourages people to think beyond what is and visualize what can be or will be.”
I see vision as being like the box top, from a puzzle, with a beautifully coloured image that paints a picture of the finished work once all the pieces are put in place.
The Advantage of a Compelling Vision
Many people journey through life without thought to creating a vision and living purposefully. We can find ourselves pushed forward by deadlines, expectations, and to-do lists; reacting to situations as they appear. Or we may find ourselves driven forward by a desire for something like accomplishments, recognition, or money. However, a compelling vision will irresistibly pull us forward like a gravitational force.
Andy Stanley writes, in his book Visioneering, about four advantages of having a compelling vision:
- Passion: A clear and compelling vision always brings about strong emotion. The clearer the vision, the stronger the emotion. Touch an individual or group’s emotions and you have the inspiration for movement.
- Motivation: The vision gives a reason to move forward and gives meaning to the day-to-day tasks you commit to in order to reach the vision.
- Direction: The vision acts as a map or guide. No more wandering aimlessly, wondering how to spend your time or what you should focus on. Your direction is clear. Does something move you toward your vision or away from it? Vision is the tool for decision-making.
- Purpose: It gives you a bigger “why;” a reason to get up in the morning; and a feeling that what you do really matters.
Dreams Inform Vision
As Dr. Martin Luther King said as he boldly and passionately began to describe his vision, “I have a dream…” Creating a compelling vision often begins with a dream. I tend to think of vision as a dream with goals and a commitment.
Some time ago, I met with a potential coaching client. Following my usual format for a chemistry session, I asked him about his ideal future. The question was, “If things go really well for you, over the next year, what would your ideal life look like at that time?”
He hesitated, and then began to talk about some changes in his day-to-day life as an employee in an organisation working for an autocratic leader. He feared for his psychological safety. In that moment, he wasn’t able to see past the present and dream big enough to imagine a future of possibilities for himself beyond his current reality. To urge him to dig deeper I said, “Dream bigger. What would your ideal life look like if there were no limits, and you knew you could succeed?”
He began to talk about going back to studying part-time and working toward a career in social media marketing. Working for a tech-startup where he could live out his values, and contribute as a team member. He talked about having the flexibility of integrating life and work. He allowed himself to begin to dream.
Helping Others Clarify Vision
Here are some other questions I, as a coach, ask to encourage my clients to dig deeper into their dreams and start to build a picture of what the future could look like:
Talk about the vision you have for what you want your life [business] to look like in a year, if things were to go really well?
- What would you do if you had unlimited resources and knew you wouldn’t fail?
- What would your future look like if you thought beyond your current capabilities and dreamed in terms of your potential?
- Tell me more, what exactly would that look like?
- What would be the impact of achieving this vision on your life?
- How would it feel to create this kind of life [career, ministry, business]?
- What would your life be like if all this were true?
- If there’s a dream you’re not naming for fear of what others will think; or because it seems too big or presumptuous, what would it be?
As a coach working with clients who are forming vision, I know that I must first help them create a very clear, compelling, and concise vision. I help them to discern if that vision aligns with their strengths, gifts, core values and passions. Then I hold that vision out front for them as they begin the work of bringing the vision to life.
As one of my clients once said, “Thanks for holding space for me to define the profession of my dreams. That’s what a good coach does… they see the future for you when you cannot.”
You too can bring your vision to reality – reach out to me for a free chemistry session.