Posted 10 years ago
Expanding Your Vision and Ideas A kindergarten teacher asked a student what she was drawing. “I’m drawing a picture of God,” the child quickly answered. “But, sweetheart,” said the teacher, “no one knows what God looks like.” “They will in a minute!” the child replied, according to a story told by Sheila Murray Bethel in her book Making a Difference. Charismatic people possess a similar, almost childlike faith in their vision and their ability to create change. People will follow leaders whose vision inspires them and makes their lives more meaningful. What do you feel passionately about? What do you care really deeply about? Whatever your objective-whether it’s ending world hunger or ensuring better care for stray animals-you’ll never influence anyone to change their ideas or take action if you don’t feel strongly about it yourself. In fact, having a strong, compelling vision will go a long way toward compensating for a lack of some other charismatic attributes. Einstein, for example, or Eleanor Roosevelt, or Bill Gates, whom I mentioned earlier, aren’t people who immediately leap to mind as being as dashing or debonair as stereotypically “charismatic” leaders. But their strong ideas or vision may have more than made up for other shortcomings. (Have you heard the computer-industry joke? “What do you call a nerd fifteen years from now?” The answer: “Boss.”) Their vision, it can be argued, transformed them into charismatic leaders. The strength of their ideas, and the passion with which they held them, gave them a different brand of personal magnetism. Warren Bennis, author of the best-selling book Leaders, says that being able to articulate your vision in a way that’s easily understood, desirable, and energizing is the spark of leadership genius. Here are some other ideas.
Expanding Your Vision and Ideas:
1. Listen to your yearnings. Don’t dismiss your daydreams, or for that matter, your nocturnal dreams either. They may be signals from your mind and body of some unconscious attraction. What’s important is what’s important to you personally. Sometimes it’s helpful to recall your childhood or youth. What propelled your dreams back then? Where did your imagination take you? What most influenced you? And it’s not just the fun or fanciful moments you should recall. If you were poor, maybe helping others escape poverty could be your mission as an adult. If you were abused, maybe abuse prevention is an area where, in your heart of hearts, you would like to make a difference.
2. Seek feedback. “Unfortunately,” said Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, “most people would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” But getting others to give you honest, constructive feedback may help put your mission and your goals in perspective. They may uncover a diamond you thought was just a pebble, thus sending you off in a better direction.
3. Focus on your strengths. You may have heard the adage “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing-it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” Too often we try to force ourselves to become detail people when we’re not, or to climb the management ranks when what we enjoy and excel at is the rank-and-file work. Ask yourself: What am I really good at? What do I most enjoy? And think about a mission and goals related to those answers.
4. Deal with distractions. On the route to achieving your dream, you’ll find change, risk, surprise, stress, and perhaps even failure. But if you’re committed, you’ll adapt.
5. Do it! “The best way to predict your future,” says management guru Peter F. Drucker, “is to create it.” Once you know your mission and goals, that’s the time to get down to doing it. It’s so in every field of endeavor. Writers must sit down and write; salespeople must sell; managers must manage; and painters must paint. Too often, though, people are locked into habits that prevent them from moving ahead. They relive yesterdays, they invent excuses, they procrastinate, and they doodle in the margins of life’s tablet instead of seeking to write their signature boldly. So don’t give up on your dreams but, instead, pursue them with passion.