Monthly Archives: June 2010

Expect Opposition

This is part 6 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership

If you have been following this series of blogs (Hi mom and dad), you know that two of the first 5 X’s we have discussed include Extracting a Dream and Expressing Your Vision to Others. Both sound reasonable, make sense, and you may even be tempted to try them out. But this X provides a warning…sometimes when you do have a dream, goal, or target and you share it with others—let’s just say they are not as excited about it as you.

Have you ever noticed how some people are dream destroyers or target trashers?

I’m not sure they do it on purpose, but nonetheless they seem to have a way of taking all the air out of your balloon before you even have a chance to let it fly.

Now, while you may not be able to identify them by sight, you have certainly heard their discouraging words:

“Oh, good luck getting somebody to hire you with your experience.”

“Why bother even trying, you don’t have a shot at that opportunity.”

“You think you have a chance to get on that team…what have you been smoking?”

When you have a goal, dream, or target and you share it, you open yourself up to ridicule and criticism. You see there are a lot of cynics out there who do not have goals…they are content just coasting along taking the path of least resistance taking pot shots at others. They are comfortable with mediocrity.

Let me tell you about mediocrity…

It recognizes greatness.
It resents it.
And it seeks to pull it down.

These folks like to try and build themselves up, not by improving themselves but, by pulling you down.

Cynicism is cancer of the attitude.

So what do you do when someone tries to cut down your dream, your idea, your goal? Write them off. Like water off a duck’s back, let their words just fall off you. Don’t even allow them to hang out in your head for a moment.

Trust me. You will almost always encounter opposition in this life. Now, if you know this is the truth…don’t let it throw you off your game. Be prepared for it. And in the immortal words of Winston Churchill, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

Express Your Vision to Others

This is part 5 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership

These days there is much written and said about the power of vision. Corporate boards of directors are encouraged to have mission and vision statements. Consultants criss-cross our country helping their clients to facilitate “vision meetings”. Leaders are expected to “cast the vision” for the organization. I have even run across the phrase “visioneering”.

Now, while there are many different ways to define a vision or a vision statement, I tend to like the “easy to remember” ones like this:

Visiona picture of where you see yourself (or your department, team, family, organization, whatever) in “5,10,20” years…you pick the number.

The experts say that vision helps to motivate us (or our teammates, employees, partners, etc.) to “stay the course”, to “keep going when the going gets tough”, to “never give up and never give in”.

A vision should inspire, empower, and motivate.

I like this idea and have almost always heard it exclusively used when discussing organizations. But I think people should have personal vision statements too. [If you missed it go back and check out Part 2 of this 12 part series—the one entitled Extract a Dream.]

But here is where I break away from the pack of “you need to have a vision statement folks”. While having a vision is great, it is only the first step. I think equally important is Expressing Your Vision to Others.

There is something transformational that takes place when you articulate your vision.

  • It seals commitment.
  • It invites accountability
  • It galvanizes resolve.

And that is only part of the benefit. When we express our visions to others it is amazing to watch them line up behind us to help us get there.

When I finally made the decision to write my first book Sticks & Stones Exposed: The Power of Our Words, I didn’t tell anyone. Honestly, I think I was afraid I would fail and then have to answer all the questions about when it was coming out, how it was going and who was going to publish it, yada, yada, yada.

Now, while I had a vision of writing a book, I was in way over my head. I had never written a book. I didn’t know how to find a publisher, design a cover, find out if my working title had ever been used before, how to get an ISBN number, how to get a Library of Congress number, and so many other details. It seemed every day I discovered yet another aspect about which I had no clue.

It was overwhelming and disheartening and my book project slowed to a frozen snail’s pace.

So finally, with a bit of fear and trepidation, I whispered my vision to another person. They got all excited about my project and referred me to someone who knew about book cover design who knew someone that had a publisher friend who knew someone who had written a book, etc. The domino effect was in full swing. It seemed the more I expressed my vision to others; the more I met people who were excited to help me accomplish my dream! And together we did it.

Express your vision to others and watch great things happen!