The Paradox of Personal Vision


“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare”

– Japanese proverb


Every great leader I have met has incredible vision. I have had the opportunity to know some of the best of business leaders, intellectuals, and individuals determined to effect social change. They all have one thing in common: Vision.

All leaders face insane obstacles. The obstacles either break you or your belief in your vision is strong enough to guide you through those difficult moments.

Without certainty we need to trust in something. Leaders trust in their vision.

Let’s face it – we all would do more if we knew we would succeed in the future. I would do anything if I were sure I would win. What separates those with deep, passionate vision from the rest of us is the absence of fear in those moments when we face what feels like insurmountable obstacles.

As an entrepreneur, I had many of those moments. We were down to our last dollar; our computer systems were crashing daily; the insurance companies that paid our bills never paid on time or at all. There were countless hours when we lost faith. But, we had a well-defined vision that we came back to over and over.


The Paradox 

What happens when the vision is simply impossible?

For example, we believed in a tech solution for our company and thought it was the vision for the company. Before the Internet, we would upload and download data to our clients. Amazing idea, but the technology was not ready for the amount of data we needed to move.  We stuck with it month after month, determined to succeed. Despite overcoming challenge after challenge, we realized it just would not work. We needed a new vision.

The paradox – create a clear vision while remaining completely open to alternative paths.

Vision. Determination. Single-minded focus.

Open. Flexible. Willing to experiment.

On the face of it, these ideas are contradictory, but they are not. Many projects fail because they either lack vision and determination or the needed flexibility and open-mindedness.

Sometimes the vision must be changed. Sometimes pushing through difficulties results in the best outcome. Since we do not know the future, the choice between determination and flexibility can be difficult to navigate. The balance is the dance.

The Balance

Ultimately, action without vision is a guaranteed failure. Vision is essential, but the realities of life sometimes requires editing the vision. We redesigned our tech solution and remained a tech based health care company. The vision simply needed some adjustments.

Create a vision that is open enough to allow for editing. Our company’s mission was to help patients nationally who suffered with kidney stones using state-of-the-art tech solutions. Changing course did not affect that vision.

Vision is not a detail. It is much broader. My biggest challenge is remembering what the vision is and what project is within the vision. I am writing a book. That is a project. My vision is to help others feel better by sharing what I have learned.

Do you have a personal vision? Family vision? Career vision? Health vision?

Take some time to write down your vision or if you have a vision ask yourself if you need to make any adjustments.

Love to hear your thoughts and your vision. [email protected]

2 thoughts on “The Paradox of Personal Vision

  1. “What separates those with deep, passionate vision from the rest of us is the absence of fear in those moments when we face what feels like insurmountable obstacles.” – I like many of your posts and love your outlook and perspective but have to disagree wholeheartedly with this assertion. In the face of insurmountable obstacles, the absence of fear would be simply pathologic. I would argue that successful individuals and those that are emotionally fit do not have a lack of fear when faced with difficulty, but instead are able to face that fear and are not paralyzed by it. They respond instead of react, remain aware of the consequences of any actions and make decisions “as if” the fear did not exist. Just my opinion, but truly enjoy reading your work.

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