Monday, February 12, 2018

Vision. Thank you, Johnny Nash


It's a pretty simple word, with powerful implications. And it's not just a buzz word.

I'm not talking about the sense of sight. Or Johnny Nash, though I hope you enjoy the background music and it gets stuck in your head all week. defines "vision" as "the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be".


Pump the brakes.

This is written in present tense, as in on-going, not static. Not one-time. Not "anticipatED". Continuous. Actively. With effort.

"That which will or may come to be". Hmmm. My brain hurts. What does that even mean?

In my simple mind, this is how I interpret the definition:

"Hey! Start thinking about what I want to happen and take steps to make it so."

How is vision different than goal-setting? I think they are complementary efforts. Vision comes first, that's how we know at what we're taking aim. Then comes the goals, or steps to get us slowly, but surely closer to that vision.

I also believe vision is fluid. While it's important to acknowledge where you started on a journey, like learning, you don't just wake up one day and say, "Phew! Looky there, I achieved my vision. Mic drop!" Rather, you continually refine and expand your vision(s).

I read a great quote by leadership expert John Maxwell that said "Everything worthwhile is uphill." I love this quote. It's a reminder despite myself, the learning and achievement is in the pain, the time, the effort, the progress.

In sports, a true competitor does not want to win a championship by beating any team or individual less than the best. What's the point in that? This is why the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl vicotry is even more meaningful. They were able to beat the best-of-the-best in Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Our personal efforts should be no different.

Remember the old adage about "if you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time?" I need not say more.

At the sports commission, we were humming along doing our thing, and we hit a point where we needed some input on vision and steps. Enter 5-year strategic planning process facilitated by the Huddle Up Group of Jon Schmieder and Gary Alexander. Refined vision. Clear objectives. Tactical implementation. All pointed at one vision: To be THE destination for sports and outdoor recreation.

The result? Renewed passion, energy, excitement, and refined efficiencies. (Sidebar, I'm from Ohio, so I take creative liberty to use "THE" in our vision as an homage to "THE" Ohio State Buckeyes! And yes, if I were not from Ohio, I'm sure I'd find that just as annoying as everyone else in the country!)

Scott Scanlon from YourBrandInc. suggests four steps to implementation: 1) have a vision, 2) create clarity, 3) make a plan, and 4) act on it.

So pick an area of your life, professional, personal, whatever. Spend time actually thinking about what you want it to look like. Be intentional. If you fall off the horse, get up, dust yourself off, give yourself a big helping of grace, and get back on. Oh yeah, and don't forget to celebrate your steps of progress. We're all muddling through this thing called life, so let's cut ourselves some slack, have some fun, throw caution to the wind and just see what kind of awesomeness we can achieve!

Helen Keller was once said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." This is Stoll on Sports.

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