Lesson in Vision #2: “Oh, the vision-thing”

“Oh the vision-thing” This response was from George Bush Snr when it was suggested he needed a less short-term political approach to his tenure as President. A great vision stirs my emotion, compels me to act and keeps me going. A great vision inspires innovation and creativity, it makes me try new things, take risks and dream big.

I will never forget a conversation with a friend who, along with her brother, took over the family business after their father retired. They had both been in the business all their working life, and even after all these years I still don’t actually know what they do/produce/sell. What I do know is that they were always tired, always busy and lacking a certain joie de vivre. For many within this circle of friends the word ‘retirement’ seems to have recently appeared in conversations (not for me, incidentally). So I asked about what will happen to the business once they retire, and I will never forget the answer: “Close the door, turn the key, walk away.” No legacy, no purpose, no greater cause to pursue. It then occurred to me that I must be wired differently. I’m not  just working to earn money, feed and educate my kids, pay off my house, retire, put my feet up. It all seems a very linear approach to life.

The day-to-day, work-in-work-out approach might be extremely attractive. It is (apparently) gratifying to tick off all the points on your to-do list or clear your inbox at the end of the day/week. But I’m sorry to break the news, if you are  just looking to tie all your lose ends in a bow at the end of the day/week (or whatever time frame), then perhaps you need to reconsider your calling. If you are relentlessly pursuing a great vision you will never be happy with just finite end points.

This relentless pursuit of vision is exciting, but it is also messy in the journey. When I read Covey’s book,  “First things First”  a number of years ago it resonated with me. Our motivation, why we get up in the morning: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. The only way I can live with such purpose it to embrace “the vision-thing” for my life and to pursue a compelling vision in my work.

But maybe I’m just wired that way?

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