The ABC’s of Professionalism
“Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” — Napoleon Hill
What a powerful thought. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems that the older people get, the less time and effort they devote to dreaming. Even when they do grant a little freedom to the right side of their brains, the images tend to be constrained by fears, doubts, and the “realities” that they’ve constructed for themselves. Vision is the victim.
“Capital isn’t scarce; vision is.” — Sam Walton
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” — Bible, Proverbs 29:18
Imagine an entire world that embraced the Napoleon Hill philosophy and was able to unleash the full capacity of human creativity and ingenuity. Not just the so-called “educated thinkers” with advanced college degrees. I mean everyone – kids included.
“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” — Sam Levenson, humorist
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” — Albert Einstein
“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” — Charles F. Kettering
Is that too idealistic for you? Okay. Instead of imagining the release of ALL untapped creativity, what if we could gain access to just 1% of it? How different would the world be if everyone made a habit of exercising his creative mind like some exercise their bodies? I envision happy, energized people who think up better solutions to old problems, invent new things, fuel the next economic boom, and make the world a better place. Ridiculous? Where’s your imagination?
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” — Muhammad Ali
Everyone has within himself untapped God-given creative potential. With desire and a little bit of practice, everyone has the ability to develop qualities of a visionary (not in the prophetic sense.)
“A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight, and see the dawn before the rest of the world.” — Oscar Wilde
“What is now proved was once only imagined.” — William Blake
Vision is imagination with focus. When random images are assembled and brought into focus through lenses called intent and purpose and a filter called morality, visions are formed – some have world-changing potential. Without focus, the target is fuzzy making it difficult to aim at and even more difficult to share with others. However, too much focus and the wrong kind of filtering can squelch creativity. For example, applying the filter known as “probability” too early in the visioning process is like a governor placed on a high-performance engine. It limits the power of the vision.
“Dream big dreams! Imagine that you have no limitations and then decide what’s right before you decide what’s possible.” — Brian Tracy
“No one is less ready for tomorrow than the person who holds the most rigid beliefs about what tomorrow will contain.”
— The Visionary’s Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business, 1999.
When the image is an outcome or target it is sometimes referred to as “the big picture” or “the 30,000 foot view.” Contrasting with that is the idiom “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Both are referring to the fact that that there is a difference between the overall outcome and the implementation details.
The next step is giving birth to your vision. Like a baby, which needs lots of love and attention, every vision needs a parent (biological or adoptive) to help it grow and mature. This is where care and feeding begin. The parent of the vision needs a plan of action.
“A baby is born with a need to be loved – and it never outgrows it.” — Frank A. Clark
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” — Japanese proverb
It’s Your Vision, Record It
Professionals keep a journal of their thoughts, events, ideas and yes, their visions. Describe the vision and all of its glorious details. If possible, draw or find a picture of it. It’s not silly to record the birth date of an idea or vision. If a beer company can make a big deal about the “born on date” of their product, you should do likewise. Certainly the birth of your idea is more significant than a bottle of beer. If you are unwilling to do these things, you probably don’t love your vision enough to help it survive, much less to help it grow and thrive.
“If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual – keep a journal. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down.”
— Jim Rohn <http://www.personal-development.com/jim-rohn/keeping-journal.htm>
It’s Your Vision, Share It
Dote on your vision like it’s your own precious child. Show it to others. Your enthusiasm will grow and you may find others willing to help support your vision. Be ready for some to say “you have an ugly baby.” Others will more thoughtfully offer encouragement or parenting advice. Use the good feedback to refine and bring clarity to your vision. Ignore the useless and bad feedback. However, both types of feedback can be sources of positive motivation.
“A baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” — Eda J. Le Shan (1922-2002), Psychologist, family counselor, author.
“If you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn and hatred that a fellow human being can pour out for you, let a young mother hear you call dear baby “it.”
— Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, p. 58.
It’s Your Vision Realize It
The future of your vision is undeniably linked to the amount of passion you or someone else has for it. Passion is the fuel that turns vision into reality.
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” — John C. Maxwell, <www.JohnMaxwell.com/about/>
“There is no finer investment for any community then putting milk into babies.” — Winston Churchill
There’s a corollary to this vision/passion connection. Regardless of whether or not a particular vision lives or dies is less important than for the individual to create a passion connection with any worthy vision. Having a passion-filled vision is crucial to achieving the highest levels of professionalism. It might sound cliché, but find what you love to do and figure out a way to make a living out of it. Instead of just making a living, you’ll be making a life.
“If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, then you’re supposed to be a singer, girl.” — A line by Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act II.
“Once you surrender to your vision, success begins to chase you.” — Robin Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
“You do not pay the price of success, you enjoy the price of success.” — Zig Ziglar
Ownership of a vision is not limited to the ones who created it. In fact, people working together should adopt the organization’s vision if the organization is to thrive. Whether or not you are the originator of the vision, if you claim either a parental role or an adoptive parental role in the life of the vision, you are a leader. Keep this in mind while reading the following leadership quotes:
“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” — John C. Maxwell
“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.” — Robert Jarvik, Artificial Heart Developer.
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” — Theodor Hesburgh
“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
“We lose sight of the most important factors that lead to successful leadership: commitment, a passion to make a difference, a vision for achieving positive change, and the courage to take action.”
— Larraine Matusak, Finding Your Voice: Learning to Lead Anywhere You Want to Make a Difference, p. 7.
“The size of a leader is determined by the depth of his convictions, the height of his ambitions, the breadth of his vision and the reach of his love.” — D.N. Jackson, Leadership Inspirational Quotes & Insights for Leaders, p. 155
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” — Warren Bennis
Now, go feed that baby!
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