A dream is what may be described in leadership circles as “vision.”
Vision is something you can SEE clearly in your mind’s eye…before it is “real” in the real world.
The mark of a great dreamer – of a visionary – is the ability to see things no one else can see.
The catch is – making your own dream “come true” – making it “real” in the real world requires the help and support of other people.
But, if you’re envisioning something that doesn’t exist yet…other people won’t understand how to support you.
Until you inspire them to see it, too.
As the leader of your dream, it falls to you to share your vision in a way that other people can believe in.
But, explaining something that doesn’t exist yet can be hard.
I’ve worked with visionaries and big-picture thinkers for many years.
Without fail, I’ve seen great visionary leaders grow frustrated at one point or another with the “team” of people they surround themselves with as they try to bring their vision to reality.
Some push through this frustration and succeed. Others allow the frustration to become the focus and their vision is never fully realized.
The single difference between those who are successful with leading their vision into reality and those who are not – is their ability to inspire others to “see” and understand their vision, too.
So, how can you help others see what you see?
- Understand What You Really Want: Vision answers the question, “What do I want?” That’s a hard question to answer, and its even harder to answer when your mood changes. Spend some time getting clear on your vision and then write it down in clear language that inspires you. Read your vision back to yourself regularly. Change it only when you know it must be changed.
- Communicate: Once you understand your vision, share it (or a version of it) with others who you need to help you make the vision happen. It won’t be enough to just email it to people, though. You’ll need to say it – over and over again. Use short sentences that describe tangible outcomes, such as, “I want to see ______ happen.” This may seem direct, but it can help people have a very clear understanding of what you want.
- Be Gracious with Those Who Aren’t In Your Head: When we’re talking vision, perspective matters. I live in the mountains today, but I lived most of my life in the “flat” states of Florida and Ohio. Before I visited the mountains, the idea of a “mountain view” was just an idea on a postcard. Recognize that when you describe your “mountain view” of a vision, others may just be seeing the postcard version of your vision. Be gracious and patient. Invest your energy in learning how to communicate more clearly instead of being angry and upset that others “don’t get it.”
Learning to translate your vision into “reality” is one of the most valuable skills you can develop as a leader. What’s your biggest challenge with communicating your vision?