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They Say You're a Man of Vision!

What is a Vision? There are several definitions, explanations and examples that may apply, although a scene that perfectly describes this concept (for our purposes today) can be found at the end of Lonesome Dove. A big-city reporter follows Captain Woodrow Call through a sunlit, border-town. The reporter is asking Woodrow question after question as the Captain walks away, stating “no comment” and attempting to ignore the reporter entirely. Finally, upon realizing that Woodrow is not interested in his questions, the reporter, in a last-ditch attempt to draw his attention, admiringly accuses Woodrow of being a “man of vision.” For those who haven’t read or seen Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, please pause and take time to do so now.

As you now realize (by taking the time to read and/or watch Lonesome Dove in its entirety), this friendly accusation that Woodrow Call is indeed a ‘man of vision’ causes a flashback of his entire, cinematic existence. From the highs to the lows, we see every significant detail of Captain Call’s journey as recollected from a first-person perspective. It’s a rough journey, as you no doubt recall. However, what we do not fully appreciate at first glance is the reporter’s perspective. Why did he use the term vision so specifically and why did it elicit such a response from Woodrow? Obviously, as we learn from Call’s response (“Yeah, hell of a vision”), the good Captain is considering the term retroactively. The reporter, on the other hand, does not see things quite the same way. In this reporter’s ambitious young-mind, Captain Call is a legendary man who had an innovative idea (or vision) and followed through with it. He is not focused on the bodies buried along the trail or any of the deadly encounters that took place. Rather, the reporter uses the term vision to encompass what Captain Woodrow Call truly did: he took his vision (or dream, or goal) and he saw it to completion.

"Life itself is only a vision, a dream."

-Mark Twain

So how does Lonesome Dove apply to your specific story? Surely, this stark example and all its hard-learned lessons only have brief implications to our own reality. I use this example very intentionally for two reasons. Number one, it helps define the term vision as we discuss dreams, goals and other long-term aspirations. Secondly, this story is a metaphor for the journey one takes down the road to eventual success. The hardships, the setbacks… all the things that arose to cast doubt on the overall goal are clearly illustrated in great, gory detail. From Homer’s Odyssey all the way to McMurtry’s westerns, history (both cinematic and print) is chock-full of great tales chronicling the achievement of a vision. And whether it’s the Cyclops or the Comanche, there will be inevitable and unforeseen encounters along the trail that cause the protagonist to question their beliefs and reaffirm their goals. Without this contrast, harsh as it may seem, the beliefs with which they began may become faded and lose clarity.

Having clarity in your vision is one of the most important steps. This is true when we’re forming our vision and it remains equally true as we travel down the road to ultimate success. It’s important to “keep your eyes on the prize” throughout the process, remaining focused on what you set out to achieve in the first place. As obstacles arise or problematic situations present themselves, as they have a tendency to do, having your focus on a positive resolution cannot go understated. When establishing both personal and business goals at VIP, we utilize Expansive Operating Patterns, or EOPs. Similar to Standard Operating Patterns (SOPs), our EOPs allow for an expansive and adaptive approach to problem solving. Check out our Services page to learn more.

In addition to having clarity and allowing for expansion, it’s also important to have someone to bounce your ideas off of. Often times this comes in the form of a friend, classmate or work associate (A 'Gus', if you will). Even if this 3rd party isn’t able to fully articulate your ideas and concepts, the process of collaboration and sharing remains a huge part of any successful endeavor. Throughout both my personal and professional careers, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between my success and whether or not I was utilizing a system involving a 3rd party (coach, program, system, etc.). Regardless of the medium, I can say, without a doubt, that having some form of oversight was critical to my overall success. For whatever reason, it’s just easier to be accountable (even if it’s just a little) to someone or something else.

Finally, we come to subject of time-lines. What good is having a goal or a dream if you don’t actually plan on achieving it? If the destination you have in mind, whether it’s a vacation or a cattle drive, does not have a realistic possibility of coming to fruition in this lifetime, why even bother beginning the journey? We’ve found, here at VIP, that working with someone (or something) on some sort of time-line can yield huge benefits. It is much easier to adhere to a coordinated schedule and calendar of events when you’re collaborating with like minds towards the achievement of a goal. There are various systems, programs, coaches and other avenues to achieving these goals, but a factor that should never go underestimated is the time in which you expect to achieve them. In addition to setting time frames and expectations, be sure to have an adaptive system in place to oversee the process from start to end, such as EOPs.

All of us have a vision, a goal or a dream we would like to see accomplished. It may seem like something small, like the perfect sandwich, or it may be a life-long goal, like retirement. Maybe it’s a cattle drive to Montana, or maybe it’s a new career path in the digital world. Regardless of whatever this vison may or may not be, one thing is certain: you are capable of achieving it. There is always a way of accomplishing your goals, no matter how outlandish or unsupported they may seem. In reality, your vision is never outlandish or unsupported; it only needs a few elements to bring it properly together.

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