How to Have a Vision for Your Life From Start To Finish
How did Steven Spielberg direct and produce so many movies as successful as Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws or even his latest War Horse? How does Adele write world-class music in an era when very few elite performers pen their own lyrics? How does Pixar keep churning out their animated blockbusters?
The answers all involve vision. The best leaders are able to see a vision and then activate it by stepping forward. In addition, they’re willing to sacrifice to see the vision come to fruition. Finally, they realize the importance of surrounding themselves and their vision with an incredible team.
1. See the Vision
Many people don’t jumpstart their lives because they don’t see anything to jump to! They plod along through life with little more than survival in mind. Visionaries dare to dream. They peer into the future and generate possibilities in their mind’s eye.
“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” ~Marcel Proust
The legendary sculptor, Michelangelo claimed that as he looked into the stone, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” His imagination had already created his masterpieces before his hands did the work.
2. Step Toward the Vision
Some people see the vision, but they never step toward it. They cannot seem to summon the courage to overcome their fear, or they cannot find the passion to get past their apathy. As a consequence, their vision sits on the shelf until it spoils, or until someone else takes initiative to claim it.
Let me put it this way. “Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.”
More than two months before Alexander Graham Bell submitted his patent for the telegraph, Elisha Gray had already arrived at the conclusion that voice could be transmitted over a telegraph wire. Why, then, is Elisha Gray anonymous and Alexander Bell a celebrated inventor? Because Gray procrastinated two months before putting his vision on paper. Then, when he finally finished his sketch, Gray delayed another four days before taking it to the patent office. When he finally made up his mind to go, he arrived two hours too late. Bell had already secured the patent, and Gray’s idea was worthless.
3. Sacrifice for the Vision
Visionaries give up to go up. They bypass good enough to gain at shot at better or even best. If they fail, at least they go out swinging. Visionaries don’t fear failure; they only fear losing out on opportunity.
In an effort to break into the U.S. market, Cirque Du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberte, took his entire troupe from Montreal to Los Angeles. At the time, Cirque was a budding act that was barely breaking even. As legend has it, the circus did not even have gas money to return home if the show flopped. Laliberte had leveraged every resource at his disposal for the opportunity to achieve his vision of striking it rich in the United States. Thankfully for everyone involved, the show was a smash hit. Cirque Du Soleil’s success catapulted it forward in terms of recognition on the entertainment scene.
4. Seek Help for the Vision
Teamwork makes the dream work. If you can achieve your vision by flying solo, then chances are you’re not doing anything worthwhile. A big dream requires a talented team in order to take root in reality.
Wilt Chamberlain was one of the most gifted athletes to ever set foot on a basketball court. He holds the NBA record for most points in a game (100), most rebounds in a game (55), and the highest scoring average for a season (50.4 points per game). However, Wilt was so talented that he had trouble meshing with his teammates. At one point, coaches even advised him to shoot less so that other players could be involved.
Despite his exceptional abilities, Wilt never won a championship whiles the star player of his team. However, he did eventually learn to become an unselfish player. As his point totals declined, he became better and better at setting up teammates to score. Well past the prime of his career, Wilt finally won in achieving his vision of winning a title. As a role player for the Los Angeles Lakers, he captured two NBA championships. His growth as a teammate made him an invaluable asset even though his athleticism had diminished from its peak.
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.”
Act 3 – Scene 2
The lame man (Acts 3) had been healed by Jesus. There was great rejoicing as the man clings to Peter and John, a natural response from a man who had been lame from birth, and people are astounded at what has happened.
Peter saw this and began to preach to the crowd, in a way that the crowd understood. What you notice about all the New Testament preachers is that they pitch it at their audience. Peter is talking to a crowd who were present at the crucifixion of Jesus and had played their part (verse 14). He explains the good news to them in way that they would have understood.
Peter doesn’t pull any punches or try and soften the blow about the condition of the hearts of his audience but he does give them a message of hope. Hope that is only found in Jesus.
Christians are commissioned to be people who spread the good news of Jesus. However, we often talk in terms that people don’t understand and then don’t explain them! We need to talk in language that people understand or we’ll lose them from the conversation. We need to talk about sin but we have to explain it, as people don’t get the concept of sin. Maybe we need to talk in terms of selfishness, start there and then explain its destructive consequences (there is other jargon that we can fall into and it is a big put off for communicating the good news) the gospel’s focus is on the new life in Christ and eternal life at that, if we focus more on sin then we miss the point. Sin is serious, and has been catastrophic for the world, but Jesus is the great redeemer and restorer. What a beautiful message to bring to a broken world!
This message is still powerful and Jesus still mighty to save, a broken world, a broken humanity. Think about the language you use when talking about the good news; does it help or hinder conversations? How have people responded? How do you talk about the good news when a whole generation don’t know about Jesus? What Christian jargon is unhelpful and how can it be reworded and explained to a non-Christian?
If you have any helpful suggestions, then please feel free to comment or share stories of how you have either had successful (people still talk to you and are still asking you questions) conversations with non-Christians or when you have had un-successful ones.
Please help this conversation along and tell us what you have learned.
G.K. Chesterton is thought by many to have been one of the most gifted Christian writers of the twentieth century. He was once asked, ‘If you were trapped on an island, what book would you most want to have with you?’ The book he chose was not the Bible, it was called ‘Thomas’ Guide to Practical Ship-Building.’ Chesterton’s response reveals his sense of humour, and his sense of the practical. It also, I think, accurately portrays something of the nature of God himself. Many people think of the Christian God as someone who wants to give you exactly what you don’t need. He wants to tie up your life with all kinds of useless activities and obligations. Those people couldn’t be more wrong. Jesus taught that God is eager to give us what we need, what we ask for. Our God is a practical Person.
You don’t need to be afraid, said Jesus, that if you trust your future to God he will lead you off in a direction you hate. If you seek his will in some decision he won’t send you off in directions that frustrate you or create more problems than they solve. God is interested not just in the big issues of our lives, but in the small details. The small things add up to become big things, after all. If you were alone on a desert island, I think God would definitely want you to have the resources to build a boat!
Matthew 7:9-11 ‘Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ (NIV)
Prayer: ‘Father, thank you for your interest in every practical detail of my life. Please lead me to the right people, opportunities and resources today so that I can achieve something good and overcome the challenges thrown in my path.’
Boldness is Beautiful!
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness is beautiful, there is power in it. There is a time to wait, the time of soul searching and heavy prayer. But there is also a time for action — for bold, courageous and determined steps into the unknown.
Acts 4:29 ‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.’
Boldness unlocks the power of God in our lives like nothing else, because boldness works to release the true power of our inner faith. Without faith we cannot find the favour of God; but without boldness we can never exercise our faith. Without boldness, favour is like a muscle that is never flexed. Without boldness, nobody will ever see the depth and the power of our faith in God — not even us. Faith demands more than giving mental assent to a course of action — it means more than simply saying, ‘Yes God, that seems like a good idea to me…’ Faith must have an outlet in action. Eventually, my faith in a word from God requires that I seize the opportunity he has put before me, without delay.
Sometimes, doors of opportunity are open for only a short space of time. If we fail to make use of them at the right time, they disappear. God is a gracious God and will often give us a second or even a third chance, but he wants us to learn the power of grasping God-given opportunities when they are first given. He wants us to learn the power of decisiveness, because it strips away all insecurity and double-mindedness. The boldness of faith breeds a mind of single focus, and a heart of gritty determination to succeed.
Prayer: ‘Lord, help me to learn how to act at the right time, with boldness. Help me not to delay when you have prepared a path before me.