A man sits and watches his two young daughters play at their local funfair. He enjoys their smiles and the sound of their laughter, but inside, he wishes he could play with them instead of watching from a bench. In that moment, his vision is born.
He becomes dedicated to creating a place where families can play together, where parents and children both smile and laugh. In his day, there were local small-scale carnivals, but he had something grander in mind. The thing he was envisioning would be the very first of its kind.
For years he pours all his efforts into this incredible project. He rallies his team around this goal for which they have no framework yet – he leads them into unfamiliar territory, and they follow him, because he sees the vision so clearly.
He is so committed to the growth of this vision that even in his later years, as he lays asleep in the hospital, he points and moves his arms around in the air, like he is leading meetings in his mind… like he is even directing the vision when he is unconscious.
That man was Walt Disney. And now, because of Walt Disney’s vision, we have Walt Disney World and all the other Disney theme parks worldwide. His vision began the theme park industry as we know it. His vision created tens of thousands of jobs – millions industry-wide – and opened the door for hundreds of millions to make memories with their families.
Now, what about your vision?
You don’t have to reach for a legacy like Disney’s to lead effectively. But you must have a clear vision that you are committed to.
In Developing the Leader Within You 2.0, leadership expert John C. Maxwell advises that vision is an indispensable quality in a leader. And I would add that it is indispensable to self-leadership, the theme of my emails these last few weeks. Why? Leaders lead others, but vision leads the leader.
“Without vision,” says Dr. Maxwell, “you will never develop the leader within you to the fullest.”
So, what about your vision?
What are you building within your business or organization? What are you creating that will call others around you to action?
If you are still searching for the answers to these questions, that’s okay. Leadership is a journey, not a destination. But I encourage you to continue searching, and diligently.
There are a few hallmarks of vision that may be helpful to your search. A leader’s vision must…
- Belong to them. To see something that does not yet exist, you must be fully invested in realizing it. If you do not believe in it wholeheartedly, what are you even passing on to your team?
- Come from within them. Leaders see things yet to be because they know the value they have to offer or they know what they have experienced. Your skills, your learned and lived wisdom, and your inborn wants will form your vision.
- Go beyond them. If your vision can be achieved alone, it is not big enough. Disney believed in his vision entirely, and it came from his creative spirit. But he knew he couldn’t plan, build, and run it himself. His team was the reason his vision was realized.
So, I ask you again: what about your vision? What need do you see that must be met in your organization, on your team, in your business, in your community? Why does it have to be you that meets it? And how will you pass on your passion to those who are following your lead?
I wish you well as you reflect!
That’s all for now,
P.S. Looking for more tips on getting clarity on your vision? Don’t miss this next Leading on Mondays: my colleague Madalina Ghinescu and I will be diving deep into developing vision and how it can help you grow as a leader. Join us Monday 22 August at 12 PM CET!
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