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“Habakkuk 2:2-3

And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.”

Walking with my mum one day (way back in the 90s when I was still in primary school), I asked her what she would do if she had a million dollars. Her face lit up and she began listing all the exciting things she would do… she would build a beautiful home for us. She described it. It sounded beautiful. She would buy a car. She would upgrade her parents’ home. She went on and on until suddenly, she realised what she was doing and the glow on her face turned to irritation. Why are you making me build castles in the sky she said? I hate that. I hate dreaming of things that will never happen. It just makes me feel sad. She promptly changed the subject. 

In order to encourage mastery of the language, my mum generally spoke to us in English. I had never heard the expression ‘building castles in the sky’ before but I understood what she meant straight away. In fact I saw it in my mind then as clearly I do while writing this. A gorgeous, dreamy castle sitting on a cloud high above my head that I could see clearly but would never ever reach. So best not to look at or even think about it right?

Wrong.

I loved my mother with all of me but she was wrong. I wish I had known then to tell her what I know now. That the people who have the castles have them because someone dared to dream that they could. Barack Obama became the first African American President because Martin Luther King Jnr dared to dream the impossible and inspired others to believe in his vision and, as a direct consequence of that belief, work for its achievement.

A vision is a mental picture of the result you want to achieve. It is a picture that is so big, clear and strong that it inspires you to work hard and persevere in the present to create that future you visualised. It is the destination that informs the steps you are taking today because it  informs the direction you should be heading in. 

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I read somewhere that a vision comes from the heart not the head. The head is a skeptic and will limit your dream with all the reasons why it can not be achieved. Oh but the heart! The heart is a dreamer. Let the heart dream the dream. Then listen to what God told Habbakuk. Write down the dream so clearly so that it can be read on the run. Finally, let the head start making goals and plans and then work to achieve the dream.

“Never limit your vision based on your current resources.”

The idea of setting goals, making new year’s resolutions, vision boards, the secret….I could go on but they all come from the recognition of the vital role a clear vision for success has in achieving that success. The same truth can be found stated in the negative in the old English adage that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every single time. There is also a Shona Proverb that says something to the effect of ‘a hunter who tries to hit multiple bucks with his arrow will miss them all.” The Japanese also have a proverb that says “vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Heck, even the Bible says it. Ask Habbakuk. 

These are the things I had in mind as I developed my #vision2019 and #vision2023 and determined where I ultimately want to end up particularly careerwise. The vision is so big that the thought of what needs to go into achieving it gives me anxiety. What is your vision for your career and life? Is what you are doing now contributing to taking you there?

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4 thoughts on “Women@Work: Vision + Plan+ Work = the Dream

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