Your Better Business Content came about because of my business partner’s vision. He saw potential – a future if you like – in all the content we produced. He realized that one of the biggest issues people have in this social-media-crazy world is being able to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for more and more content, for blogs, newsletters, websites, training etc. He could ‘see’ the future of our business clearly – a lot more clearly than I could.
This got me thinking about visioning as an important part of an entrepreneur’s tool box. I thought, why is visioning so important? And realized that it helps us survive outside pressures and radical change. It is a way of preparing the mind for whatever might come along. Having a vision allows us to recognize opportunities when they come along. Rather than having tunnel vision and only seeing the problems and concerns of today, visioning allows us to have a clear view of the bigger picture. This in turn allows us make use of opportunities as they come along.
When Paul and I looked into our crystal ball to see what the future of our company would be, we did not base our vision on historical fact. We recognized that things can be different, times and circumstances change.
We also knew that we had to see beyond the problems and not let our focus be restricted to short-tem, or current issues or challenges. In fact, we needed to see beyond reality – our future didn’t have to be real – yet.
As importantly, we allowed no summary judgements – no naysayers. We wouldn’t judge things until we knew exactly what we were judging. There is a time for just letting vision run its path and time later – after the vision had been created – to make assessments.
I remember the story of Florence Chadwick. Florence set out to be the first woman to swim the English Channel. After years of training, she had disciplined herself to deal with pain and exhaustion. In 1952, she tried for the first time to swim the channel. Nearing England toward the end of her swim, the weather became terrible and the water choppy. A heavy fog descended on the water. In a boat alongside her, her mother shouted encouragement but Florence had to give in. She was defeated and heartbroken when she learned how close she had been to shore.
Before she attempted the swim again, she decided to learn about visioning and how she might use a visioning technique during her swim. She went out in a boat for a number of days prior to the swim and sat off the coast of England staring at the white cliffs of Dover where she would arrive (if successful). With this image clearly established, she attempted the swim again. Once more the weather was rough and again there was thick fog. This time however she could mentally see, or envision, her goal very clearly. She could ‘see’ the cliffs and the beach and though suffering pain, cold and exhaustion, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
Top sports people use visioning; a good example are the Olympic high jumpers who spend many minutes studying the bar imagining themselves clearing it. Carrying out this procedure prior to each jump increases their success rate significantly.
There’s a simple way to try this ourselves when we are playing golf, or pool, or just about any sport involving a ball or balls. Imagine the ball going into the hole, play it over and over again, keep watching the ball sliding into the hole. Imagine it over and over in your mind; don’t take your eye off the place where you want the ball to go then take your shot. It is amazing how much this will improve your game.
The same is true of business, we have to be able to ‘see’ where we are going, we have to have a clear vision, or else we may end up giving in when in reality we were within sight of shore.