When I started my business/entrepreneurial career I saw only dollar signs $$$. Business was a way to provide for my family and a road to making me rich. So, I only focused on setting financial goals and turning the wheels fast enough to reach those goals. Honestly, sometimes there were no goals or direction (other than getting sales), just a lot of motion. I spent every day doing everything in my power to reach the revenues and profits I had decided to pursue.
So what’s wrong with that?
Feeding my family is important, but it turns out that money isn’t all that is required to be successful. Money is nothing but a result, a scorecard for your success. To grow and get to the next level, I needed to go beyond and truly understand who I was, where I wanted to go and have a real plan for reaching the destination I could see in my mind. I was missing a clear vision.
I call those early goals “borrowed” because they were just that: I had taken them from other people and organizations. In the same way, we try to build businesses based on benchmarks, we tend to move into leadership using mechanical methods we borrow from others. To go beyond borrowed goals, I needed to understand where I wanted to land. At the end of the day, my vision was to become a better self-leader so I could be a better leader, so I could lead my organization to a better culture with an opportunity to be the organization that fits into my vision.
Navigating through the menagerie of leadership, self-leadership, success……... was exhausting. What came first the chicken or the egg? What comes first, a good culture, or a good leader? The question then is how far do I wish to go in true leadership, and am I willing to make the commitment to reach whatever level it is that we wish to reach as a leader?
My struggles with vision were punctuated by the inability to understand where I was starting from. I would work hard on my vision, taking my time to get a clear picture of what I wanted to look like at the end of the process, but often could not understand where in the process I was. Where was my starting line? It is fairly easy to know if you have accomplished a goal that moved toward your vision but if the intermediate goals were ignored or skipped, the process would not yield the desired results. So I constantly revised my vision to fit wherever I was, or at least wherever I thought I was in the process. Reaching my vision of who I wanted to be and what I wanted my organization to look like was really hard work.
At the end of the day, your leadership ability will be the limiting factor in achieving your vision. It will impact every facet of your business, your relationship and your life. When you’re visioning, be sure to include the type of leader you will need to become to achieve your dreams.