Vision: Seeing is Believing

Big thinking precedes great achievement. The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.    – Helen Keller


Vision, not sight. Our vision can change our behavior.

Also, vision can change the world. In fact, it has: Dr. Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” speech; Nelson Mandela, apartheid-free South Africa; and President John Kennedy, landing humans on the moon. These are just a few examples of great leaders dreaming big, or seeing great things happen for humanity.  And, each has deeply impacted history through their visionary leadership.

Literary experts on Vision have emerged as well.

In his book, The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle writes: “Every team or organization must develop their own vision. Establishing a vision, or purpose, can include developing things like shared mission, values and goals.” John Ryan, writing for, claims that “Leadership success always starts with a vision.” As previously stated, Dr. King, Mr. Mandela, and President Kennedy each had a powerful vision of a world-changing human condition.

On a more personal level, we often have “visions” of what we want to achieve as we grow, at home and at work.

For nearly all of us, this starts at an early age. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” follows us around from a very young age. Ideas form and, as children mature, they develop visions of successful versions of themselves.

In fact, everyday language invokes the import of vision.

We say things like “I’ll know it when I see it” or “I can’t picture it” when we are struggling to understand something.  When we need a picture having a vision can help us.  In fact, vision has been defined as a “picture in the leader’s imagination…”

Vision also gives us purpose.

It is human to need to know or understand our purpose. How often have you asked yourself or someone else at work, “Why are we doing this?” It seems that we have to know why we do what we do, or minimally, why we are asked to do what we’re asked to do. For many professionals, there is a strong need to know that one’s work has purpose. In his TEDTalk, Simon Sinek illustrates that:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Does your company have a vision?

If so, do you know what it is, and how you fit into the bigger picture? The American Management Association states the importance of this: “Have a Vision…know where you are headed. Make your vision a shared one with your group. (Team members) should be able to describe a similar picture and communicate it.”

Is your vision of yourself congruent with others’ vision of you?

Do you see what they see? Congruency is important here if you want to stand out and influence others. Establish ways to contribute to the company’s mission and be sure others recognize your buy-in. Take action in ways that make you the greater in “the greater good.”

Simon Sinek suggests a leader without a vision is a follower.

Establish your vision – draw your picture – today. If you are already rising to the C-Suite, carry on. Be proactive and influential in your own success. Stay ahead of the game rather than waiting. Holding a solid vision of the leader you want to become helps ensure you will RISE sooner than expected, and you be ready upon arrival! In other words, vision, not sight, will help propel you to higher performance.


About the Author


Jeannie currently serves as Program Director at The First Tee of Mid-Michigan. She joined The First Tee in 2006; and has been privileged to contribute significantly to the network in both youth and adult development. She has an array of experience with The First Tee, as a Coach and Program Director, and a national trainer in two business units. She has designed and delivered adult education classes; written youth curriculum; and consulted on a variety of projects for The First Tee Life Skills Experience for youth and adults.