If that question seems too touchy-feely, you might be thinking, “Why do I need a vision? I already have too much to think about and to get done.”
The nutshell answer to that question is that if you are not living your life with a big picture in mind, with a vision and a purpose, then most likely nothing big will ever come about. Then all of your work will ultimately fall apart into unrelated pieces. Here’s a story about three people to illustrate what I mean …
We met Walter, John, and Florence in 1968. Walter and John were brothers. Walter and Florence were husband and wife. They lived next door to one another in modest homes. They were all teachers and small farmers. They farmed a little over an acre behind their homes. Moreover, they were all visionaries.
In the 1940’s and 50’s teachers and farmers made very modest incomes. So, how did three people with modest means spend a year, in 1954, going around the world?
They had a vision!
It started when one of them had a dream…A dream to travel. The dream became a vision. Then the vision became shared between them. Through the sharing, the vision became a plan. They turned the plan into a list of tasks that needed to be accomplished.
Through persistence, and with the vision always in mind, they made it happen. In 1954 they all took a sabbatical from their teaching and, literally, went around the world.
We are lucky enough to have the records they kept – both written and photographic. We also have many artifacts that they collected. Through these records their experience is real to us. But, it could not have happened without a big vision and the persistence to follow the dream.
In 1954 everyone was still rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of WW II and the Korean War…Work hard…Keep your nose to the grind stone…Focus on your new life…Buy a house and raise a family in the new prosperity. These catch phrases were driving America.
Do not be fooled here. There was no hidden wealth of inheritance. Walter, John, and Florence were hard workers. They were successful teachers and farmers. But, they were more…
Walter had a business card that he readily handed to anyone who asked how he made a living. The card read “Teacher, Photographer, Entrepreneur, World Traveler, and Visionary.” That captured the essence of the spirit that was within all three of them. In the wake of WW II, during the Korean War, they were working toward the fulfillment of a dream, a vision, and a plan.
In 1954, they left the village of Dolington, PA and headed to California and beyond. They toured the islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and Bali. They travelled to Sydney, Djakarta, Singapore, and Bangkok. They went to Calcutta, New Delhi, and Karachi. They explored in Cairo, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Israel. Then they headed home through Greece, Italy, Spain, France, England, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
They wanted to get to know the many peoples of the world that were as different from each other as possible. They found beauty, elegance, and grace in people who had to work hard with their hands just to survive.
They came to know, in an intimate way, the people who were on the ground during WWII. And they were rewarded handsomely in terms of gaining an understanding of the world that few others in their time had.
They created an experience for themselves that few other people around them even considered doing, let alone actually make happen. They had a dream that became a vision, and they persevered to make it happen.
Do you have a vision? Do you have the persistence to execute a plan to make your vision come true? I really hope you do, because without a vision, around which you build your life, nothing big will ever happen.
Conversely, if you do create a vision there is no telling what you can make happen!