Almost all leaders and all people of vision have things in common. One of those things is at the center of their core being…they are optimist. I’m not talking about a false sense or belief that everything is great or a “I,m okay, your okay” type attitude. Blind optimism is ridiculous. What I am speaking of goes much deeper than that. It is an informed optimism, which can become an indispensable foundation.
Columbia University psychiatrist, Susan Vaughn, has concluded, “optimism has little to do with the external reality, and everything to do with our ability to regulate our own inner world. It is the perception of being in control, not the reality that really matters.” If leaders were to give up at the first obstacle they faced most companies would fail. Not having balanced optimism in our lives causes us to see obstacles as insurmountable. Imagine if after John F. Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon within a decade, engineers and scientists said, “it can’t be done and here are the reason’s why.” I image there were some who did, but there were many more who had an optimism that they could figure out solutions to these problems. Without this optimism toward there abilities, talents and education, we would have never landed on the moon.
Optimism helps keep people motivated, focused, and innovative. When serious change is needed or when obstacles arise that can keep you from accomplishing your vision, it will be optimism that helps you see through the fog of uncertainty and optimism that will help you see the possible solutions. It’s the difference between giving up or looking for ways to deal with the issues hindering you path to your vision and goals.
Colin Powell as Secretary of State
Colin Powell, the once Joint Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense, had the following under the glass cover of his desk, hand written on a piece of paper.
It ain’t as bad as you think.
It will look better in the morning.
Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Pessimists always find reasons why they can’t accomplish their goals or why the vision will never work. Informed optimists will always overcome the pessimists reasons. Each time you move closer to your vision it will take multiple steps or procedures. Each one of these step may have differing degrees of difficulty. It is during these difficult steps you will need to draw on your informed optimism in order to see it through. A “yes you can” person will ALWAYS out do a “no you can’t” person.
Which one are you?
One of my all time favorite leaders is Walt Disney. He was one of the best examples of a man with great passion. Though vision is always a great topic in books and articles on leadership, passion is often not mentioned or associated with vision. Many times vision is discussed as more of a vision or mission statement than in great detail. While being able to articulate your vision is important, if there is no passion it is nothing more than a dream with no real life to it.
Walt Disney took his passion to share art and fun with people around the world and developed a powerful vision. Think about this fact, Walt Disney started with a single comic strip, then, took great. passion and fueled a vision. Today, the Disney Corporation has over 35 billion dollars in annual revenue. That’s right, 35 billion, with a “B.”
Some companies have lofty visions, but there is no real passion to fuel those visions. A corporation can not create passion. Passion comes from a person and every great company started with a person with a passion. John Wesley, the great Methodist Revivalist said, “When you set yourself on fire people love to come and see you burn.” It’s your passion that will inspire and energize people to help bring a vision into a reality.
Passion brings true fulfillment.
Passion takes you through failures with loosing enthusiasm.
Passion gives you strength to get through the storms that will be between you and your vision.
Passion bring ownership and deep emotional commitment.
Passion brings a great love for your work.
Passion brings courage.
Passions creates the drive that will help you overcome every obstacle.
You can see the importance of passion as it relates to your vision. You may say, “Harold, I really do not have a vision for my life.” If you truly do not, then begin to find out what your passions in life are. What moves you to emotion. What causes you to feel angry, sad, joyful, excited? With everything that is in you find passion…find your passion. This passion will become the fire in your belly that will become the driving force to help you accomplish great things on your journey through this life.
Understanding What Makes America Great
As we look at where our country has been, where we are currently, and where it looks like we are going, it give many of us in this country a great reason for concern. As we look at different times throughout our history we see different degrees of greatness. For example, when you think of World War II we think of how our country was unified and proud of who we were and what we were doing. We rallied around the flag and were resolute in the goal of stopping Hitler and his thirst for world domination. We also were committed to stopping Japan and were ready for some “payback” for Peal Harbor.
Though this time period was over 60 years ago we still remember, read about
FDR and Winston Churchill Uniting against Hitler and Germany
and hear such speeches as the one Winston Churchill gave uniting his nation and the one FDR gave after the attack on December 7. These speeches gave us a vision of what had to be done and what things would be like if we did what was needed and what would happen if we did not. These men cast a vision for their two respective countries that caused both to accomplish what the leaders of Germany and Japan though could never happen.
I say this to show you the importance of vision. Every accomplishment in our great country started with someone who had a vision and they communicated this vision in such a way that others began to follow and make an all out commitment to the vision.
Unfortunately this country has a lack of people who have vision. Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton, saw this when he said, “Capital isn’t scarce; vision is.” It’s time to learn how much each of us can accomplish by living a Power Visioned Life. I think America’s greatest moments are ahead of us and I am committed to training thousands of people how to learn how to develop and live by a vision for their lives.