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Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’. President George H.W. Bush famously said, ‘I don’t do the ‘vision thing’’. And your mom said, ‘Eat your carrots, it will improve your vision’. Somewhere in those three different perspectives, you can see how people look at the idea of vision. Some see it as corporate boilerplate, some don’t get it and some think it’s a matter of survival. I tend to fall in with the latter camp.

Vision is imagining a future state you want to achieve. It’s where you want to be at some date certain. Some people visualize a nice house and car and comfortable life but little beyond that. Even though they may not know it, they choose the schooling, jobs and investments they need to achieve that vision. Their unconscious mind keeps working toward the vision they have set.

People who don’t visualize where they want to be in the future end up wherever the tides of chance carry them. They may be lucky and end up in a good situation, but more often than not, if they are living in the moment all the time, and the outcomes are not usually satisfactory.

When working with clients I never ask them what their ‘vision’ is. I ask them where they want to be in five years. Many times clients don’t have an answer beyond ‘successful’ or ‘rich’, which are goals so nebulous they are valueless. After some discussion, we are usually able to focus on the material things clients wish to acquire: nice homes, travel, and security for their families. We then translate those wishes into dollars. The number of dollars needed to achieve the client’s goals will dictate what needs to happen in their business.

If their vision includes a 40’ sloop in Newport Beach, purchasing a franchise that will net them $100,000 per year will not get them there, but having twenty locations of that same franchise may have them trimming the topsail.

Continuing with this example, if I know I need twenty stores, but I can only afford to start with one, then I need to analyze whether I can create enough cash flow to purchase the second and subsequent stores. On just this one point alone, it’s easy to see that your franchise selection will affect your ability to achieve your vision.

Visualization is a valuable skill and anyone can learn it, but it takes patience. Above all, it requires you don’t judge yourself if you have missteps and your vision changes before you arrive at the one that’s right for you. Here are three quick tips that will help you with visualization:

  • Set aside a regular time to spend working on your vision. How often is less important than being consistent.
  • Keep a book where you capture your ideas about your vision. The more details you collect, the more real your vision will be.
  • Do the work even if it seems fruitless in the beginning. Visualization is not something we are taught. It will take a while for you focus. You will have trouble eliminating options. However, if you stick with it, it will become easier and more productive.

Nothing of value is accomplished by luck. Luck plays a part, just as an empty highway speeds you to your destination. However, that empty highway didn’t determine your destination, your vision chose it. Remember this when planning for your business. Without a solid vision, your dream for your future perishes.