“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
The only way a person can progress in life is to have a clear vision about their life, future and purpose. According The Merriam- Webster Dictionary, “a vision” is a thought, concept or an object formed by imagination. Each success story started with “a thought” or an idea. The idea is a sudden enlightenment. We all have moments like that, when we suddenly get an inspiring idea and we get excited about it. What happens after that depends on how we respond to the idea. We might get excited in the beginning, but after we consider all the obstacles and negative sides, we might get discouraged and start convincing ourselves that it is impossible and actually it is not a very good idea. On the other hand, in spite of our enthusiasm at first, we might not have the discipline and the necessary habits to work on it so we start putting it off. We tell ourselves: “I will do it later, when I am ready! It is a good idea, but I don’t have this and that yet so I will wait until it all comes together.” By doing so, we allow a good idea to die.
The difference between high achievers and low achievers is that, the high achievers dedicate their life to their good ideas. They don’t neglect them, don’t put them off and don’t abort them, but act upon them. They discipline themselves to start doing something with this great idea regardless the circumstances, the obstacles and people’s opinions, until one day, everybody else is able to see the idea (the vision) unfold.
In his book “Tough times never last, but tough people do!” Dr. Robert Schuller speaks about 5 phases of faith, which in my opinion, are identical to the phases of the vision.
The first one is the Nesting phase when the idea drops into our mind as an egg drops into a bird’s nest.
This is when the vision, the idea, is the most fragile. For most people the idea passes through their minds without being taken seriously, because of fears, doubts and a lack of self-confidence. Later on, when you read or hear that somebody else has turned the same idea into a great success, you may well feel regret. For those who are able to capture the idea, the vision, in their imagination and start following it, a whole new world will open. Such people become visionaries and high achievers.
The Testing phase
Nobody acts on the first idea that comes into their mind without first questioning it. How do you test an idea? Ideas must always be tested based on your value system. If it doesn’t contradict with your value system; if this idea helps your character to grow and makes your life and activities an inspiration for somebody else to develop their life and achieve more, then consider that idea a great one and act upon it.
Another way to test an idea is to share it with people close to you. This might not always give you the green light though, because some of them might find faults in it and, because of their own doubts and fears, may try to stop you. In spite of that, make sure that you find at least one supporter, who gets excited about the idea and who believes in you and your ability to achieve it.
Don’t neglect the facts and calculate the cost. Before committing to something, consider what it would cost and what you are ready to sacrifice. It will take time, energy, money. You might need to change some habits, work harder; sleep less; get out of your comfort zone and overcome challenges and fears. Are you ready for that? How strongly are you motivated by our vision?
The Investing phase
This is the phase after you have calculated the cost and you have made a public commitment to follow your vision. You have decided to invest time, money, energy. Probably you have made changes in your schedule, some public commitments and you have announced your projects. You have started with your plan –dieting or running every day; studying hard; practicing a skill; preparing for a project or talk; marketing or advertising an event. You are working really hard, but after a while when you don’t see the results you hoped for you might get discouraged, tired, demotivated. Ask yourself at this point: “Did I give all I’ve got? Did I invest everything? What else can I do? Who else might help me?” Most people fail at that stage, because they are not faithful enough to invest everything they’ve got into their dream or because they are too dependent on the support from someone else.
The Arresting phase
You’ve got inspired by your vision. You’ve made the commitment and started the run. You have invested your time, money, energy and heart, but now you find yourself surrounded by problems and obstacles. You may feel that this is more than you can handle and you are at the point where you feel that you want to give up. You have the choice to hang on or to give up.
Every major project goes through an arresting phase. This is where you are not the one testing the vision, but the vision is testing you. Are you determined enough? Are you committed enough? Are you faithful enough? Do you have the strength of character to carry that vision on and receive the final prize?This phase is crucial for the success of your vision. It might look hopeless and that all the circumstances are working against you. This is the moment when you need to decide whether to quit or keep fighting. The breakthrough depends entirely on your choice. At this point, you have to learn to trust God, to keep believing, to wait for the right moment. Difficult times change us, transform us from the inside and make us the people we are determined to be. The arresting phase might take a while, but if you don’t give up, the breakthrough will come and you will have overcome the mountain.
The Cresting phase
This is the phase of breakthrough, of achievement. Success finally has come. A broken relationship is healed and restored. A bad habit is broken. You have lost 10 stones. The doctors tell you that you are in perfect health. A job opportunity comes your way. The money starts flowing. A world record is broken. You have achieved your dream!
The best part is that during the journey, you have changed and you have become a better person, one who inspires others to overcome obstacles and to never give up.
Have you got an inspiring idea?
Don’t let it go! Test it! Write it down!
Make a plan to follow and commit to it!
Whatever it is, that you know, you should be doing, decide that this is the day when you will do something about it. Make a plan and discipline yourself to follow it. Start today!
“There will never be another now – I will make the most of today. There will never be another me – I will make the most of myself.” Robert Schuller