Cookbooks and food magazines have figured it out! They feature gorgeous photos as a vision, leading us to believe we can re-create it just like the picture. If it were a text-only recipe, we probably wouldn’t be interested – behold the power of visual vision!

Vision plays a central role in two of my most influential books: The Road Less Traveled and Man’s Search for Meaning. I read The Road Less Traveled right after business school and it changed my life. Author Scott Peck reminds us we all have baggage, and the “road less traveled” is the one where you choose not to let your baggage impact your life… that is resilience!  I often think about the book’s opening sentence, “Life is difficult.” The road “less” traveled is the hard (and sometimes painful) process of change.

Renowned psychologist Viktor Frankl chronicles the suffering he endured as a prisoner in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other concentration camps in Man’s Search for Meaning.  He writes, “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed.” The book is full such bleakness you cannot imagine getting through it. Frankl discovered the prisoners who “had something left to do,” a purpose, held on a bit more tightly to faith and hope.

These books illustrate why I am so passionate about strategic planning. The main lessons in both are the integration of resilience, purpose (real meaning), and vision (imagining a better place). The current reality of 2020 is not good for any company.  At first, it was out of our control. Now, as we look to 2021, take time to assess your company’s purpose and its vision. Imagine a better place with your team and see the power of visioning!  A recent podcast reminded me of the 10 Happiness habits.  One of them was “visioning.” Take time to think about being in a better place – it makes us happy!  Strategic planning is about choosing the path to do the hard work to get to that better place ?

Now, here is the reality: visioning alone it not the answer. You need the plan to support it.  This ties directly to understanding why only 8% of us (the elite!) actually achieve our goals. Research study after research study of New Year’s Goals indicate more than 90% of people never actually achieve them.  This can be true with company goals as well.

Consider these four tips for hitting your goals, achieving your vision, and living a life of purpose!

  1. Begin with the End in Mind: write it down, draw a picture, make it visible!
  2. Build a Support System: tell people, ask for help, find a mentor, and listen to advice.
  3. Set specific goals and “Stretch” goals: research shows specific and more challenging goals lead to higher performance 90% of the time – be clear and specific.
  4. Recognize when you are procrastinating: …what, not me! Set priorities, deadlines, and focus!