Without vision what is the purpose?

“Vision is a destination – a fixed point to which we focus all effort. Strategy is a route – an adaptable path to get us where we want to go.”

Simon Sinek

This is one of the best statements I have ever seen for codifying the difference between vision and strategy. For example, you might have the personal vision to use your life to positively and permanently impact the lives of others. This vision doesn’t change course dramatically as you move through life, if anything your vision will become more and more refined and perhaps even narrower as you more fully understand your purpose and reason for being.

The strategies you choose to actualize your vision will by necessity change and evolve as the world changes and as you change. Those things which worked 10 years ago to enable your vision might have lost their effectiveness or perhaps are tools and techniques you might have outgrown.

A good friend and mentor reminded me about 7 – 8 months ago of this simple wisdom from the book of Proverbs. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

Simply put, without a vision, all the effort we put into living our lives is suboptimal to our true calling and capabilities. All the strategies, routes, and plans mean nothing, if you don’t know where you are going…

a writing on the wall
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Empower better decisions…

“Directions are instructions given to explain how. Direction is a vision offered to explain why.”

Simon Sinek

Without a clear vision then the directions given might be unclear or lend themselves to interpretation. More importantly, if you are a person that holds on tightly to the giving of directions, then the work product can only be as good as you are…

When you focus on providing the vision (direction) and your directions (how) are used to define the guidelines of how decisions are made then you are empowering others to make even better decisions.

Without direction people aren’t empowered to figure out better directions…

Powerful humility…

“Humility, I have learned, must never be confused with meekness. Humility is being open to the ideas of others.”

Simon Sinek

The humble person isn’t concerned at all about who is right, they just want to learn and do what is right. When they ask questions they are genuinely seeking to understand, and in so doing they are reinforcing their own willingness to grow and learn.

It isn’t weakness, it is strength, because they know who they are, and their identity isn’t wrapped around about being right. It is based on the principle of doing the right thing. Now that is powerful, and that kind of power is anything but meek….

Myself or others?

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about looking after those in our charge.”

Simon Sinek

What percentage of your time do you spending looking at leadership through this lens? How of much of your energy and effort is focused on delivering on this principle?

Generally speaking we are naturally wired to focus on self before others. Overcoming this tendency is a critical step towards becoming an authentic and true leader.

“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:24

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Think of the leaders you have worked for and with. Did they demonstrate these principles? If yes, then what is your perception of, and attitude towards, their leadership? If no, then the same question applies. Which one did you respect more? Which one motivated you as a person? Whom do you want to emulate?

Reflect on and answer this simple question for yourself today. “Who am I focused on taking care of, myself or others?”

Why don’t you try?

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”

Simon Sinek

How many great ideas just whither up and die because they never see the light of day?  I know I have had some great ones (well I think they were anyway) that have lived only in my mind.  Why does this happen?  Is it fear of failure?  Prioritizing the wrong things?  Not making the experimenting with new ideas a focus area?  

There can be tons of reasons of course.  But what would happen if you dedicated an intentional amount of your time to focusing on bringing new ideas, great ideas to life?  Keep a running list, prioritize that list by impact and what really excites you.  Decide to try one new idea each year, quarter, month, whatever schedule makes sense.  But decide to try.  If you don’t decide to act then you never will.  

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