I love a good quote and I heard one the other day that I really liked, and I would like to share with you: “It’s not what the vision is; it’s what the vision does”, by American author Robert Fritz. Let me explain my take on that.
It is important to have a goal or a vision because that will keep you focused. Even if you don’t achieve your goal, you will still be better off having had the goal or vision than without it.
I recall in my corporate days I set myself a five-year goal to become my company’s global head of learning and development. I undertook a lot of professional development to help me achieve the goal. I completed an MBA in management and leadership, and I actively participated in leadership development programs. I sought out projects that would broaden my skills and experience. I did a lot of things, and guess what: I never achieved my goal.
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After five years the role did not even exist, as the company had regionalised. Then, as it happened, I decided to leave and start up organisational storytelling company One Thousand & One with my co-founder Yamini Naidu.
Was the MBA a waste of time and money? Was all the leadership development for nothing? Absolutely not. All the skills I learnt and the diverse experience I gained has been critical to me as co-director of One Thousand & One.
I have a similar experience every time I sign up for the latest physical challenge, such as fun run or half-marathon.The goal of doing the event gives me focus. It makes me train harder, and it makes my attention on nutrition sharper. I get stronger, fitter and healthier. Sometimes something happens along the way which results in my being unable to undertake or complete the event. It could be work, an unplanned weekend away or an injury. Regardless, the effort undertaken to achieve the goal has not been wasted.
I have just agreed to run 14km in the Run for the Kids event in Melbourne, which is being held on Sunday. I started training for it by doing longer runs, signing up for a four-week boot camp program and watching what I eat and drink. However, there is a chance I may be on holidays on April 1 and will not be able to undertake the run. While I will be a bit disappointed I will not have the chance to achieve the goal, I know without a doubt that I will be better off having the goal than not having it. I know I will be fitter and healthier.
So regardless of whether your goal is professional, personal or social, don’t be afraid to have a one and do everything you can do to achieve that goal. Even if you don’t achieve it, I guarantee you will be in a better position for simply setting the goal, because it’s not what the vision is; it’s what the vision does.