"Everybody ends up somewhere in life. You can end up somewhere on purpose!"
Vision in the context of this book is defined as your preferred future and a specific destination. This type of vision, then, stands in contrast to the present situation you find yourself in. Visioneering, according to Andy Stanley, is “a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.”
This book is written from a Christian perspective, and the author explores the ordinary life of Nehemiah from the Bible and his God-given vision for accomplishing the extraordinary. He shows how the life of this great ancient visionary, determined to rebuild the ruined walls of Jerusalem, reveals principles that can prepare us to find and follow God’s multifaceted vision for our own lives.
Visioneering is the engineering of a vision. It’s the process one follows to develop and maintain vision. In this book, Stanley builds a compelling case for the necessity of a clear, God-ordained vision for each of the roles of your life. Whether you’re a parent with a vision for your children, or a CEO pursuing a corporate vision, Visioneering is a guide to help you develop and maintain God’s unique purpose for your life.
What Gets You Going?
"Visions form in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied with the status quo."
The author makes the case that vision is always accompanied by strong emotion and that the clearer the vision, the stronger the emotion. Have you noticed what gets you “worked up” about what is wrong in the world? Is there something that feels like a moral imperative to you? What issue brings your emotions to the surface? Your answers to those questions may reveal your personal vision.
Those without a clear vision are easily distracted by various things in life. The mundane of the routine take over as the things we think about. But when someone gains a clear vision of what should be, they have the power and desire to bring the truly important things to the top of their priorities and schedule.
Have you identified what gets you going? Do you have a preferred future in all areas of your life such as career, finances, relationships, spiritual development, etc.? Are the actions related to these things at the top of your to-do list?
Yes, It's Going to Take Some Time
"If you measure your success by whether or not your vision has materialized, you are a candidate for discouragement…Confusing success with rewards of success is one of the primary reasons people abandon their dreams."
Before pursuing your vision, develop an action plan. Spend some time sharpening the ax before doing the hard work of swinging it. Ask yourself, “If I had all the resources I need, what would I do first to start putting in place my vision?” Write out a simple plan for accomplishment and then ask, “What can I do now?”
Other people will be crucial to the success of your vision. Think about who the people are that would most help you accomplish your vision. Contact them and share the vision and get their feedback.
True success is staying faithful to the process of making things become reality. Don’t fall for the overnight success syndrome. When is a parent successful—during the process of raising the child or when the child achieves a milestone? What does remaining faithful in your present situation look like?
What Will It Cost?
"Any vision worth pursuing will demand sacrifice and risk. You will be called upon to give up the actual good for the potential best. You will find it necessary to leave what is comfortable and familiar in order to embrace that which is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. And all the while, you will be haunted by the fear that this thing you are investing so much of yourself in may not work out at all."
As you pursue your vision, don’t expect others to take greater risks or make greater sacrifices than you have made or are willing to make. Sacrifice and risk are always part of the equation when pursuing a worthwhile vision. Remember, your heart and your treasure are linked; look at where you spend money and see that is where your heart is. The opposite is also true, where you are not willing to invest money your heart is not in it.
Visions typically thrive in an environment of unity. They usually die in an environment of disunity. Here is a list of behaviors which may indicate that you or others have lost alignment with the vision:
- attempt to control people rather than to serve them
- manipulation of people and circumstances
- unwillingness to resolve issues face-to-face
- unwillingness to see the best in other teammates
- viewing the failures of others as one’s own successes
Just like outside intervention is required to remedy an out of alignment vehicle, so it is necessary when attempting to restore the alignment of others with the vision. You must address any of these issues directly with those who demonstrate these behaviors.
Can you see what you will need to give up as you pursue your vision? In other words, what will your vision cost you?
One characteristic of visionary companies is an uncompromising commitment to a set of core values. Unity in pursuing a vision can only be maintained when there is agreement and adherence to a set of core beliefs and behaviors. As we have seen in this summary, visions require constant attention and the willingness to pay the price. Visioneering requires patience, investigation, planning, risk-taking and sacrifice. Are you ready to pay the price and embrace the vision you have been given and end up somewhere on purpose?