Vetting a vision takes contemplation, perspective, feedback and refinement. Once established, it becomes a beacon by which everything else is connected. Setting goals toward realizing that vision takes comparable discipline.
People with the Futuristic talent theme from StrengthsFinder are especially talented at visioneering what could be. ...
At 60 years old, I can legitimately say I have perspective. I can look back and connect the dots of my life and look ahead with anticipation of what God has in store for me. Instrumental in helping me gain perspective over the past 11 years is being involved in several small group communities like Convene. Left on my own, it is difficult to hold my life in perspective. My worldview becomes narrow and biased. Isolation breeds self-pity, negativity, and ultimately, hopelessness. It feeds my ego, my self-sufficiency, my need for control. It creates an inward spiral that draws me further into myself. In contrast, community helps keep me in perspective. It shows me that I’m not alone in my brokenness. It allows me to understand my trials and challenges relative to other good people’s struggles. It helps me examine my own lifestyle and character and forces me to challenge my own limiting beliefs. Community creates an outward spiral that draws others into my life.
Let me share three areas in which I have gained perspective.
Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under heaven.” We all know the Scripture. A time to give birth, to die, to plant, to uproot the plant, to tear down, to build, to weep, to laugh, etc. In 60 years I’ve had a chance to experience most of those.
We talk a lot about “God’s plan” but we are often unwilling to let it play out. We fret, become anxious, think the worst. Have you ever heard it said that “God is the slowest person to be on time”? His timing and His ways are best and when we don’t allow it to play out, we are being disobedient to God’s will. When we try to circumvent the path He’s laid in front of us, we are disallowing God to work on us--to mold us and shape us. So at 60, I can say that I have gained patience. Patience is the fruit of perspective of time.
Romans 11:34: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?” Elsewhere in Philippians it says that “we have the mind of Christ.”
The mind of Christ—think of that! A regular prayer of mine is to watch the story of life unfold with patience and vision: to stand back and watch God’s plan play out like a movie. But that only happens when I know and care about the people who surround me. To trust God’s plan is to understand our role in it.
Joshua 1:5, 9—“As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you. …I command you: be strong and courageous! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.” I have adopted the rally cry of “Be strong and courageous.” That speaks loudly to me about continuing to carry out the work of God no matter how inadequate or undeserving I might feel.
So, the combination of patience for God’s timing, plus vision to see through God’s eyes, plus courage to act, knowing He is with me…those all produce perspective.
I have learned that the fruit of this formula of Patience, Vision and Courage is peace of mind and joy in my heart. Philippians 4:7 says, “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
So now a question for you: Who in your life helps you keep perspective?
Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie, though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” - Habakkuk 2: 2-3 (NKJV)
What’s vision has God given you for your business? How can you ensure that your team members understand the vision?
We know that the word vision is generally defined as the power of seeing; discernment; something seen in the imagination, in a dream, or in one’s thoughts. A vision statement describes the long-term aspirations of a company and offers direction for the organization by encouraging behaviors that are consistent with the achievement of the corporate mission.
Mission vs. Vision
A mission statement communicates what an organization is doing and a vision statement communicates where it is going. Your mission and vision statements should not be mutually exclusive. Accomplishing one should not preclude achieving the other. Both should be able to coexist. Your vision statement should describe a state that is a natural progression to a Higher level of excellence from the core business focus embodied in your mission statement.
Just as God reveals His mission for us, He will also reveal His vision for our lives and businesses. Vision originates from God (Acts 2:17; Ezekiel 11:24-25). The Bible says that “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). All of us must have a goal that is meaningful and exquisite to strive for—a dream, a vision.
The 8 Steps
The book of Habakkuk provides excellent guidelines and practical principles for putting your God-given vision into action. Let’s begin with Habakkuk 2:2-3, where God provides detailed instructions for imparting your vision. For instance, He says that your vision is:
- To be written down or recorded (v.2).
- To be made plain so that others can understand it (v.2).
- To be shared with other individuals (v.2).
- For motivating others toward a common goal (v.2).
- To be acted on or implemented (v.2).
- For a specific time in the future (v.3).
- Not to be discarded (v.3).
- Fail-proof (v.3).
Follow the above steps and principles as you as you identify, design, and communicate your vision. And, do not be overwhelmed if God gives you a vision that the world has not yet seen.
When God gives the Vision, He also offers the Provision
Be encouraged! When God gives you the vision, He also gives you the provision that you need to accomplish them (Psalm 37:5). He will give you all of the necessary resources—both tangible (e.g., professional contacts and financial resources) and intangible (e.g. grace and favor)—to make what you envision a reality.
When God gives us a vision, He not only supplies the provision, but He actually goes ahead of us to prepare a way for us to accomplish His will (Exodus 23:20; Matthew 11:10; Isaiah 45:2-3). Just as God strategically placed a mysterious man to help Joshua lead the children of Israel (Joshua 1:1-9; 5:13-15), He will also go ahead of us to place people and resources to help us on our journeys.
Just as “Jesus increased in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52, NKJV), the same can and will happen for you and me. Trust God’s infinite provisioning and allow the Spirit of God to work through you (Matthew 10:19-20).
Whatever God calls you to do, pursue it wholeheartedly with the confidence that you will achieve it “for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, NKJV; Numbers 23:19). As Jesus says, “Because of your faith it will happen” (Matthew 9:29).
Vision plays out in a specific context and via a specific organization, under the auspices of a specific leadership configuration. Context is messy. Organizations are complex. Leaders are not perfect in judgment or execution. Combined, these forces collude, often unintentionally, to prevent vision from finding its way.
This is why we must be relentless with vision.
How about some additional words and phrases to drive the point home?
Bull-dogged Dug-in Stick to the knitting Un-fazed Chained to it Persistent Geeked-up Our North Star Anchored Fuzed
Without the courage to consistently return to vision, to draw upon it, to let it open and shut the gate to what you will do next and defend the why of a thing, the vision disappears. We will think we remember something about a vision we once developed, but it will cease to operate as the leading light.
This is why we work through complexity to express vision in the starkest terms possible. It helps us sort the the messy context, the complexity of developing an organization and the inconsistent waffling of being human. Entrepreneurs, especially when completing original business plans, need to develop clarity of vision and the disipline to use it. CEOs, especially because they move in and among all of an organization's components and constituencies, must be absolutely relentless about communicating and holding to vision--even if it means not doing other important things.
Perhaps you have heard someone talk about the traps leaders sometimes fall into, making use of the ready--aim--fire metaphor, and describing some leaders as "ready-fire-aim" or "ready-aim-aim-aim." What this post intends to convey is that whether steady, all too ready, or stuck in an eddy, a leader with a commitment to be relentless about vision puts on clean glasses before they ever pick up the gun.