3 Elements of a History-Making Vision

January 5, 2016

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can…begin it;
boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Welcome to 2016—the year of the history maker! If you joined me for Part One ofDeveloping a Dynamic Vision for Your Life,” you learned that history is only made by those who dream.

And now—at the dawn of a new beautiful year—is the time to dream big!

Now is the time to take the blank canvas of the year ahead and harness the power of your imagination—combined with the limitless potential of infinite possibility—and dream of a future history you can begin to help paint.

Dream of the impact you could make on the lives around you; the next generation that is always watching and learning from your example…let alone the value you add every day to your profession, field, practice, market, or industry.

That is how history is made. It begins in the incubator of your imagination and is birthed through the canal of a clear and compelling vision.

“The very essence of leadership is [that] you have a vision.
It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.
You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”

—Theodore Hesburgh

Author Kenneth Labich states that we should not “underestimate the power of a vision,” using McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, as an example: “Kroc pictured his empire long before it existed, and he saw how to get there. He invented the company motto—’quality, service, cleanliness, and value’—and kept repeating it to employees for the rest of his life.” 

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind.”
—Winston Churchill

Forbes staff writer, Jenna Goudreau, reported on what husband-and-wife duo Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield discovered after interviewing dozens of top performers for their book, The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well.

Sweeney and Gosfield found that the predominant characteristic of everyday history makers is “dedication to a vision.”

History makers not only must have a vision, but they must whole-heartedly dedicate themselves to that vision—they must perpetually hold the vision. They must craft a compelling enough vision that it draws—or drives—them irresistibly toward it like a magnet.

Super-achievers are dedicated to their vision day in and day out. Philippe Petit, famous for his high-wire walk between New York City’s Twin Towers, dedicated himself to the feat before he was even an accomplished wire walker. He stuck with it until he’d accomplished his goal.[1]

History makers are the trendsetters, envelope pushers, risk takers, record breakers, glass-ceiling crashers, and boundary busters. They are the pioneers. They are able to accomplish never-achieved-before goals only because they are captivated—we might even say, “consumed”—by a dynamic vision.

Not all visionaries make history, but all history makers are visionaries.

And of those history makers, all are leaders. You must see yourself as a leader if you are to take a vision God has given you and bring it to completion. Look at Noah, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, David, and Daniel, just to name a few Old Testament history makers.

It’s one thing to write a vision, yet another to run with it—to faithfully go the distance with the vision you’ve been inspired to create.

“To grasp and hold a vision,
that is the very essence of successful leadership”
Ronald Reagan

Yet a vision must not only be clear and compelling enough to hold your attention—or intention—over the long haul of completing it, a history-making vision must also create value.

In order for a vision to make history, it must add value to the lives of people—it must be value driven. Look at the values that drove Ray Kroc’s vision: Quality, service, and cleanliness; Walt Disney’s: “To make people happy”; Sam Walton’s: “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people; and Coca Cola’s: “To refresh the world.”

History-making visions, in other words, are what authors Marci Shimoff and Debra Poneman call “soul based” rather than “ego based.”

According to Shimoff and Poneman, a soul-based vision seeks to create value for others, as opposed to an ego-based vision that seeks only to serve one’s self. An ego-based vision may be very compelling to you, but it won’t make history.

The type of vision that makes history is expansive, broad, service-oriented,
and focused on the greater good.

So let me ask you, “How will you add value to the world around you in 2016?”

What is your value-added proposition for the next twelve months? How will you honor God with your time—with your life—in the year ahead? What is that mark you plan to leave that will bring Him glory on the earth even after you’ve left it?

You know you were born for a purpose: A certain hope and future (Jer. 29:11), for such a time as this (Esther 4:14), to be strong and carry out great exploits (Daniel 11:32).

God says,

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.”
John 15:16

So begin this year with the end in mind.

What kind of fruit do you plan to produce? At the end of this year, say by Thanksgiving, what will the harvest of your daily pursuits look like? What will be flowing out of the cornucopia of your life that will bring great honor and glory to God—and give you great cause to rejoice and give thanks?

“Big thinking precedes great achievement.”
—Wilferd Peterson

Think big, envision great achievement, and then live into that greatness by becoming the person you need to be for that dream to come to pass. I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesians:

“Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is concerning you” (Eph. 5:15-17).

Be wise, not foolish. Be circumspect, not thoughtless. Be diligent, not wasteful.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Proverbs 90:12

In other words, don’t waste one minute of this precious life. Don’t thoughtlessly let one day of this next year pass you by. Harness every moment of time you’ve been given for the greatest good you can produce.

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.
Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.
Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”
—James Allen

Now, I invite you to join me for Part Two of Developing a Dynamic Vision for Your Life. There is nothing more transformative than learning how to leverage the power of a compelling vision.

“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”
John Scully

Don’t begin 2016 with another list of resolutions, but by developing a dynamic vision!

This week, I challenge you to determine your value-added proposition. Consider how you might add value in all your spheres of influence: Your marriage, your family, your neighborhood, your community, your church, your workplace, your trade or profession, your business or industry. What are the strengths you bring to each area, and how can you capitalize on those strengths to make history.

“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved.
He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”
—Ralph Lauren

Next week, we’ll talk about how to make that happen over the course of the year—how to take your value-added proposition and turn it into a clear and compelling vision that will focus your energy on creating transformational outcomes.

Remember, a history-making vision must be clear, compelling, and create value—and so must you!

“To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.”

Get clear on where you want to go, and then lead your life in that direction by creating extraordinary value.

To your history-making success! Looking forward to creating a legendary life with you in the year ahead!

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream.
The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg;
and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs.
Dreams are the seedlings of realities. “
—James Allen

[1] http://www.forbes.com/pictures/fdim45ejmk/dedication-to-a-vision

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