The Importance of Having a Vision

Let me preface this making it very clear this is NOT a technology article. Rather this is about how I think about everything I do and I’m writing this as several people have asked me what drives me and for virtual mentoring. I hope to create a series of these when I have time and I’ll likely also create a video version 🙂

In this article I wanted to share something that has always been very important to me and that is having a vision. If you were to come to my house in my pool room and my studio where I record my whiteboard videos you would see two custom signs I had made which are the 5 rules of success from Arnold Schwarzenegger. In my gym you’ll see a metal poster version I found online. Even before I discovered his rules I had always lived by my own rules which were almost the same so I was drawn to them instantly (and his were articulated much better). I want to focus on that first rule and hope to cover others in future articles but they are all intertwined and so I will touch on others briefly throughout.

Having a very clear vision, a goal, is everything in life. Without a clear end point no matter what you do you are unlikely to succeed. You could have the grandest, most amazing ship in the world but without a captain who knows where they are going that ship will just drift around, never getting to its destination. In life it is critical we have that same vision of where we want to be. We need to be able to picture that end state very clearly. That vision can relate to our jobs and/or our personal life.

  • “By the end of this year I’m going to help my customer digitally transform by moving 20% of their datacenter workloads to Azure PaaS services”
  • “In 3 months I’m going to run a 5k with my kids”
  • “Next year on that trip to Paris I will be able to speak French”

When we have a clear vision the work we have to do to get there we do gladly as it puts us one step closer to that vision. The work has a purpose. When you are working towards your vision it is not a chore as you can appreciate its purpose. This is also why it is critical it is YOUR vision and not a vision someone else is setting for you!

Now this is where the other rules come into play when we think about our vision. When we define our vision it is often tempting to pick a very small vision, something we believe we can easily achieve but why? We should set ambitious goals. People have small goals because they are afraid to fail so they pick a safe goal but by picking a small vision we cheat ourselves of pushing ourselves and achieving more. Don’t be afraid of failing, everyone fails, sometimes we win, sometimes we learn but every failure teaches us and makes us stronger. We don’t grow without failure but that’s another article :-).

We must ignore the naysayers. If we share our big vision others will question it “that’s not possible”. Ignore them.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

When people say something can’t be done it simply means they cannot achieve it. That’s OK, you’re not asking them to. We have a clear vision and are willing to put in the work to make it a reality and believe in our vision.

Think big, be brave and do whatever it takes to make that vision your reality. Once you find your vision, everything else will follow.

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