A vision statement in 3 scenarios

Scenario # 1: The island

You are sitting on the cool golden sand of a small beach. Your clothes are wet and tattered but you feel fine. You are not sure how you got there; the last thing you remember is that you were standing on the hull of a large boat looking out over the open sea. You turn around to take in your surroundings; behind you there is thick green jungle and the soft orange of the setting sun. There is no one else in sight. You know somehow that you are alone. This is a deserted island. You feel fine and strangely calm as the light from the sun casts long shadows on the small shells scattered about the beach. You spend time thinking. You think about the people you love, the people that love you. You fantasize about building a hut to live in and eating the fruit from the palm trees. The hours pass, the sky turns a deep apricot, and as you lie down in the soft sand and look up at the sky, you begin to think about your project, your creation, your work.  Your perspective is different, you can see your project from a distance, for the first time. And you begin to see what it gives to the world, how it fits in, how the world will change if you keep going, if you make your project strong. And you feel your face begin to smile at the same time that you have this thought: “the world needs me, the world needs my project”.

In the distance, faintly at first, the sound of a ship’s horn can be heard over the gentle lapping of the waves.

Scenario # 2: The woman

You are in a spacious office with polished wooden floors; there is just you and a woman dressed in a finely tailored suit made of light brown linen. You are sitting across from each other, comfortably, in wide beige upholstered chairs; there is no desk between you. You are in the middle of pitching your project to her; she has the ability to offer you the economic and logistic support you have dreamt of. The woman is listening carefully and attentively to your words as you masterfully describe your project. You stop for a moment, take in a deep breath, center yourself and wait for any question or sign of interest. Your sole audience looks at you with a smile in her eyes, and after a moment of silence she respectfully says, “I like it. I just have one question before I give you my full support: What is your project trying to accomplish in the world?”

Scenario # 3: The circle

You have been invited to a meeting. You walk into a large room with lots of chairs arranged in a wide circle. There are many people there and they begin to each take a seat, casually without haste. As you look around, you begin to recognize many of the faces, and suddenly the realization hits you: you are in a meeting with the world’s most important visionaries, leaders, thinkers and great teachers of all times. There are people of all possible skin tones; they are tall, short, large and small; they are men and women of all different ages. You are sure that some of these leaders could not possibly still be alive, yet here they are together in this room—as if time had no relevance here. And there you are, standing among them; “there must have been a mix-up in the invitations”, you mutter uncomfortably to yourself feeling awkward and out of place.

Following the gestures of the others in the room, you take a seat in the large circle of chairs and sit, very quietly, waiting. Spontaneously and quite naturally, the men and women in the room begin to speak, one by one, taking turns, with all the others listening in silence with great attention and patience. Each person tells briefly and simply his or her vision of how they would like the world to be and how their particular work is striving to achieve that. You begin to feel nervous and fluttery in your stomach; you don’t like this type of exercise. However, as you sit quietly and listen, you come to sense that no one looks uncomfortable or as if groping for ideas or words. And no one looks as thought they would disapprove of anything the others say; they seem to truly accept all that is being said. It seems that the most important element is quite simply that the words come from the heart, and this way of speaking seems to relax the mood in the room, and you begin to feel a little less nervous, a little more alert. And curious.

Meanwhile, the speaking continues, slowly making its way around the circle, person by person, vision by vision. There are about five or six people before it’s your turn to speak. “Yeah, of course”, you think, “they’ve got this ‘vision thing’ down pat. That’s all they do all day long is think about how the world could, should, would, may be, and how their projects can help that to happen”. At that precise moment, you realize that you haven’t ever given even a minute to thinking about that­—about how you would like your project to influence the world. “This is definitely a mix-up”, you stammer silently. “Clearly someone has made a mistake in inviting me. What am I doing here?”

Yet, a voice inside of you says, “Wait a minute, not so fast, maybe this isn’t such a mistake after all. You do have a vision, you just don’t talk about it, but it’s there”.

All one needs to do is to phrase the sentence in a way that helps to form the idea. For example: I am doing this project because I believe that the world needs_________.

Or, If more and more people got involved in my project (organization, product, service, business), then our world would_________.

Or, I believe that by doing this project more people will be able to _________and the world will _________.

Or, one could answer this question: If this project is wildly successful, what will change in the world, what will be different and what would that be like?

“OK”, you think to yourself as you take in a deep breath. “Here’s an opportunity to push out the big ideas, the big picture. To give shape to my thoughts that are about change, about progress, human development, improvement for the planet and for humankind. This is my chance to sit in a circle of masters and leaders and speak their language, the language of visionaries”.

And with that last thought you notice a silence in the room; it is your turn. As you open your mouth and begin to speak you feel calm—you are speaking from the heart. The words flow from your mouth and you savor their taste and delight in their sound. The others that are sitting around the vast circle are listening with attention and interest, nodding while your statement of vision fills the room, effortlessly.


Author’s note:

We are all visionaries at some moment.

Just imagine, what if the visions we all have, about every one of our projects and their contributions to the world, were to come true—exactly as we have imagined them. What would that be like?


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