When Disney World first opened, Mrs. Walt Disney was asked to speak at the Grand Opening because her husband, Walt, had died before the project was completed. She was introduced by a man who said, “Mrs. Disney, I just wish Walt could have seen this.” She stood up and said, “He did,” and sat down. (Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within, pg. 143)
Walt had vision.
Anthropologists tell us that humans are the only species of mammals that can think about the future, conceptualize what it might look like, and control our destiny. Take advantage of this gift.
Vision casting is not an attempt to predict the future; it endeavors to shape the future by visualizing possibilities which then influence current action.
Mary and I had a vision of being debt-free. It took 20 years of frugal living and careful planning, but in 1995 we made our last house payment and became unhindered by debt. Early in our marriage we had a vision for higher education among our family members; now, in our immediate family we have an M.B.A., Ph.D., M.D., a master’s from Columbia, and a Juilliard graduate.
In life, you seldom drift into a good spot. If you don’t have vision and don’t take initiative, you will likely be marooned in mediocrity.
Crafting vision is not a mysterious or difficult exercise. Simply take the time to think about the future and identify ways that it can be better than the present.
In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey says, “Vision is applied imagination. All things are created twice: first, a mental creation; second, a physical creation. The first creation is vision” (pg. 70).
When Mrs. Disney said that Walt “saw” Disneyland although he died before it was completed, he truly had — in his mind, where it was first created.
What? – Vision is a mental picture of the future that is better than the present.
So what? – Vision will help optimize your life.
Now what? – On a regular basis, take time to think about your future. Consider many possibilities, and in time, some of them will captivate your heart — pursue those.
Leaders – Is your organization energized by fresh vision? Vision casting is one of the 12 skills taught in the Lead Well workshop. Click here for a full manuscript of the lesson.