Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Vision Is Tonic

Originally posted in 2016

Barn in Utah
Consistency is not my middle name. I’m really good at starting new projects and new habits. Maintaining them over time … not so much.

So, it was something of a surprise to me this morning to realize that I’ve just finished 5 weeks of keeping the Gratitude Miracles journal. 35 days. Without a miss.

It made me wonder why I’ve been able to maintain this new behavior of keeping the gratitude journal when most of my new leaves have turned brown shortly after turning them over.

A couple of things come to mind … the system I designed for myself is easy and quick (5 minutes), and I completely believe that gratitude is powerful (the fact that there are scientific experiments confirming that helps).

However, last week reminded me of the interplay of vision and discomfort.

Leo Babauta talks a lot about discomfort and new habits in zenhabits.net and says that the one skill that changed his life was learning to be comfortable with discomfort. But, no one really wants to be discomforted, so that thought never got me far.

Last week, however, I did a 5-year visioning/planning workshop for a small company I’ve been involved with for the past ten years. It’s a successful, small niche company and the people are warm, generous and dedicated to quality for the clients as well as healthy, balanced lives for themselves.

One of employees shared an article focused on vision and discomfort (included below) with the main two-part take-away being:
  1. Execution invariably requires taking new actions, and new actions are often uncomfortable.
  2. Creating and maintaining a compelling vision of the the future that you want even more than you desire your own short-term comfort is the key to success.
I have some new habits I would like to start … and, this time, I’m determined to maintain them over time. The Gratitude Miracles journal has given me the confidence to think I can design a system that will work for me and the article below makes me think I can withstand the discomfort involved … if I can create a vision that’s bigger than the effort and discomfort required. 

It seems that there are three things required for “success” in any new endeavor:
  • Vision: a possibility or end result that’s bigger, more appealing, more delicious than the reality of today. Vision is the tonic that makes all things possible.
  • Action: doing new or different things … moving out of our zone of comfort, i.e. into discomfort and tolerating the discomfort long enough to achieve the vision.
  • Confidence: in the vision as a possible reality and in our own ability to tolerate the zone of discomfort to get there.
So, on this lovely Sunday afternoon, I am off to create a vision for a new possibility.
How about you?

More Information:
From:  The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington.

"Behind every impossible achievement is a dreamer of impossible dreams." - Robert K. Greenleaf

"All my life I wanted to be somebody. Now I see I should have been more specific." - Lily Tomlin

Effective execution isn't complicated, but it's not necessarily easy, either. In fact, most people and companies struggle to execute well. Execution invariably requires taking new actions, and new actions are often uncomfortable.

When faced with a course of action that includes difficult or uncomfortable tasks, the short-term costs of taking action can seem so much greater than the long-term benefits of reaching the goal. Because of this, individuals and entire organizations often abandon both the tasks, and ultimately, the entire strategy. We have found from experience that to execute successfully it is essential to have a strong emotional stake in the outcome.

Without a compelling reason to choose otherwise, most people will take comfortable actions over uncomfortable ones. The issue is that the important actions are often the uncomfortable ones. In our experience, the number-one thing that you will have to sacrifice to be great, to achieve what you are capable of, and to execute your plans, is your comfort. Therefore, the critical first step to executing well is creating and maintaining a compelling vision of the the future that you want even more than you desire your own short-term comfort, and then aligning your shorter term goals and plans, with that long-term vision.

Think about what you truly want to achieve.
  • What legacy do you want to create?
  • What do you want for yourself and for your family?
  • What do you want spiritually?
  • What level of security do you seek?
  • What level of income and fulfillment do you want from your career?
  • What interests do you wish you could pursue?
  • What do you really want to do with the time you have been allotted?

you are going to perform at a high level, take new ground, and be great, then you better have a vision that is compelling. In order to achieve a level of performance that is greater than your current performance, you will need a vision of the future that is bigger than the present. You must find a vision with which you are emotionally connected. Without a compelling vision, you will discover there is no reason to go through the pain of change.

Vision is the starting point of all high performance. You create things twice; first mentally, then physically. The biggest barrier to high performance is not the physical manifestation but the mental creation. You will never outpace your mental models. Vision is the first place where you engage your thinking about what is possible for you. 

You must be clear on what it is you want to create. Most people focus primarily on their business or career, but business is just part of life, and it is actually your life vision that gives traction and relevance to your business. That is why we begin with your personal vision, what you want your life to look like in the future. After that is established, we move on to what your business needs to look like in order to align with and enable your personal vision. The more personally compelling your vision is, the more likely it is that you will act upon it. It is your personal vision that creates an emotional connection to the daily actions that need to take place in your business.
In order to tap the incredible power of your vision you need a future that is bigger than the present. If you're going to create a breakthrough-if you're going to reach the next level-you will need to move through fear, uncertainty, and discomfort. It is your personal vision that keeps you in the game when things become difficult.

A compelling personal vision creates passion. Think about something that you are passionate about, and you will always find a clear vision behind it. If you find you're lacking passion in either your business or in a relationship, it's not a crisis of passion; it's a crisis of vision. We will show you how to craft a compelling personal vision and a business vision that aligns with and supports your life goals.

The first step is to create a personal vision, a vision that clearly captures and articulates what you want in life. The personal vision should define the life you want to live in all areas, including spiritual, relationships, family, income, lifestyle, health, and community. The personal vision creates the foundation for an emotional link to your business and career objectives so that there is a strong alignment between what you pursue in your business and the life you desire to live.

Your business vision is most powerful when it is developed in light of your personal vision. The reason so many people fail to follow through when things become difficult is due to this lack of connection with their personal lives.

Your business objectives are not the end in themselves, but the means to an end. Too often, managers and associates plan for business success but fail to connect with the real power source that will enable them to achieve that success. In essence, the personal vision is the reason why we work in the first place.

Once you understand the linkage between your life vision and your business success, you can define exactly what level of income or production your business must deliver in order to support your complete vision.

Vision provides you with that line of sight, that emotional link, to help you overcome the challenges and execute. When the task seems too difficult or unpleasant, you can reconnect with your personal objections (I think they meant objectives!) and vision. It is this emotional connection that will provide you with the inner strength to forge ahead in spite of any difficulties, thus enabling you to achieve your dreams and desires.

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