I would give all the wealth of the world, and all
the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision.
-Henry David Thoreau
Having a vision in life is probably one of the most important things you can have.
Above everything else, it is in your life vision that you find your purpose; in it you find meaning for everything else; in it, you interpret events that happen to you.
Your vision is your destiny.
Your vision tells you where you will be tomorrow; it tells you about the people you will meet; the friends you will have; the work you will be doing.
Everyone has one true vision for their life and that vision excites them.
It gives them energy to wake up each day with fervour.
However, most people live lives without a vision. They live life in a routine. Their lives feel like a cycle that never ends.
They get to work on Monday morning with Monday blues; and thank God it’s Friday at the end of the week.
And so it goes on and on for years and years.
Henry David Thoreau says the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.
While everything seems fine on the surface, but deep inside, most men live a life of dreadful, soul-killing routine.
As a leader, the first thing you must have is a vision for your life. You must know where you’re headed 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.
Do you have dreams about that one day when all your dreams are fulfilled?
My dreams began when I was very young. At 14 years old, I began to imagine myself sitting at the top of the tallest building in Singapore; drinking a glass of wine; enjoying the serene moment with my loved one.
At 14 years old, I had a vision about where I was going to head in my life.
Then fast forward to today, I had a vision about becoming the top businessman in Singapore who will influence other men to do business ethically and with excellence.
I wanted to become a leader of businessmen.
A leader of leaders.
You might be thinking:
What has this got to do with managing my staff?
What has this got to do with become a great leader?
To me, it’s EVERYTHING.
If you do not know what you want to see in your life; you simply cannot show others what they could have in their lives too.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you tell others about where they should be going?
Great leaders all have a vision about the future; and they bring people there.
Alexander the Great envisioned one empire under Heaven that would be prosperous, wealthy and united.
Winston Churchill envisioned a Great Britain that could drive back the forces of the Nazis despite its inferior numbers.
Jesus of Nazareth envisioned mankind reconciled to His Heavenly Father through his sacrifice on the cross.
Steve Jobs of Apple envisioned a Personal Computer in every household.
When I took up leadership in University-YMCA, I envisioned an organization that could change the self-serving culture of my university through its influence.
What about you?
1.1 What is your Vision? A Short Exercise.
Where are you heading in your life?
Where will you be in 30 years’ time?
Before you can have a vision for your organization, you must have one of your own. You just can’t simply have a vision for an organization without one for your life.
It could be:
I want to become a property guru and own a lot of land to build beautiful architecture.
I want to become a top ballerina and perform in the world stage.
I want to become a first class celebrity cook and teach people all over the world how to make healthy, delicious meals.
You notice that I don’t talk about leadership in the corporate sense yet. The truth is that, not all leaders exist in the corporate realms.
There are leaders in all spectrums of society.
If you haven’t figured it out, then you should start asking yourself these questions:
What gives me passion? Write down 3 things that you are passionate about.
Have I ever done anything that excited me so much I couldn’t sleep? Write down up to three activities that you ever done that kept you up at night.
What irks me? What makes me all mad and burning inside? Write down three incidents that frustrated you more than usual.
All these things give you a clue to your true vision and where you are supposed to be headed in life.
Stop reading and take time to evaluate yourself on this. Remember, before you can become a leader, you must first know where you should be headed in your own life.
3.2 Getting Away to Seek Your Vision
Another method I find useful to find your vision is to get away from people.
Sometimes, when we are amongst people, the natural thing for us to do is to conform to people’s expectations of us. If that is the case, our dreams are in reality, another person’s.
To get past that, you need to withdraw yourself from people. You need to come to a place where it’s just you. It has to be a place where you don’t feel like you have to conform to any image.
It’s no surprise that a lot of students in my university have a dream to become a top banker, or a top investor, or trader. For the most of them, they’re just choosing a dream that’s acceptable by people around them.
If you do that, you haven’t really found what you’re deeply passionate about; you haven’t found your true vision.
If you could, take a break and fly off to another country alone.
Spend time alone.
Discover yourself as you discover another culture.
Sometimes another culture helps you see life from another perspective, and in that process help you find yourself.
Or even better; go off to the mountains and camp for a few days. Spend these days thinking about what you want to do for the rest of your life. Away from any other human soul, you would be closer to finding out your true self.
If you cannot afford either of those, then just find a time where you can be alone for an extended period of time. It could be at the beach; or just simply at home away from the crowd.
Remember, all great leaders began with a personal vision in their hearts; and they spent their lives making sure that vision came to pass. And many of them made history.
Today, you can have a great vision too. You can become a great leader who can change the course of history.
Discover your VISION today.
Besides your vision, you need one of the most important qualities to see that vision come to pass…
Move on to Chapter 4: Courage to Stand
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