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Quality Management & Leadership Academy

The Five Step Process

There is a direct correlation between your vision and what you feel about yourself. Many studies exist that speaks to the lack of clear vision to the feeling of being confused about life and what direction would be best overall. There is a saying, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” I can recall at a young age accessing what I wanted to be in life. Thinking about where I wanted to live. Contemplating things I wanted to accomplish and by when. Although I was commended by my teachers for being a young visionary, I did not have a roadmap to help put my thoughts into action.

So, what are the steps to developing a clear and concise vision for your life. In this section we will discuss the five-step process for developing your vision. As with all information you receive from this book, you must do the work. The way to achieve your vision is to spend time working on it daily. Look at your vision as your lifeline. Just as you eat and drink daily, you must work on your vision daily. This does not mean everyday you will make tremendous strides. However, one day you will wake up living your vision.

Step 1: Identify Your Strengths:

When I was in my early teens, I felt the need to move out of Philadelphia. As strange as this may sound, I genuinely loved my home. I thought I would never leave Philadelphia because all my family and friends were there. However, there was one problem I could not overcome. I could not see myself achieving my vision. I could not separate the successful entrepreneur with a big house, nice car, wife, and children from the dangers I encountered daily. My roadmap was tainted by my circumstances.

So, I decided to make a list of all the things I did well with minimum effort. At the time I was able to articulate this part of the process as my strengths. I just called it things I did well. The point of doing this exercise was to see if I could extract something that I could use to make money. The list started off with poetry. It was nothing for me to sit down, pick a topic, and come up with an eloquent poem. I felt I was really gifted in this area but could not visualize me making enough money to support my vision.

The second thing I wrote down was leadership. At home my siblings and I were always taught to be a leader. My mom would always tell us the importance of not becoming a follower. Her exact words were, “If you are going to get in trouble for something, make sure it is something that you decided to do and not because of something someone told you to do.” This was something that resonated with me because I did not mind suffering consequences for something I felt strongly about. I could see me doing very well in this area, but I did not believe that others saw this same quality in me outside of my parents and friends.

Overall, my list was filled with many things I thought I did very well. On the flipside I also wrote why they probably would not work in helping me achieve my vision. See, it is very easy to get caught up in the self-doubt game when doing this part of the exercise. That inner voice that screams so loud in your ear thinks it knows you better that you know yourself. Matter of fact it makes you think that it is your self-conscious speaking to you at that moment.

I would encourage you to not sabotage this part of the exercise with writing contradicting statement. When you write your list of strengths, stick to just acknowledging the things you do very well. Deny that inner voice the opportunity to make you second guess your strengths. Listen to that still small voice in your head that constantly tells you that you are victorious. That voice that says you can do all things through Christ that gives you strength.

Step 2: Commit to Your Core Values:

There is nothing more important in life than your core values. Your core values express louder who you are as a person than your words could ever speak. Think about that for a moment. Here is Wisdom: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If your vision is based solely on how much money you make, you will live a sad and miserable life. Unfortunately, no amount of money on earth can buy happiness.

There was this rich old man who had everything his money could buy. He wanted for nothing. He life was filled with possessions. He had the largest home in his community. He only drove cars that was worth six figures or more. He collected expensive watches and rings. He traveled the world and bought the finest clothes. This old man was living the life according to world standards.

The day came when it was time for him to die. As he laid in his hospital bed a nurse asked, did he have any family members. The rich old man with tears in his eyes said no. I never made time to fall in-love and have a family. I was the only child growing up and both my mother and father passed on when I was in my early twenties. Sadden by the news, the nurse told the old man that she would constantly check on him during her shift. The old man smiled and said thank you as he turned his faced to the window.

One day the nurse walked into the old man’s room and asked did he need anything. The old man replied, “yes, I would like a do over.” Puzzled by the old man’s response, the nurse asked him to clarify his answer. The old man looked at the nurse with tears streaming down his face and said I would like a do over. I spent a lot of time pursuing materialistic things. I have everything a man could buy. However, I cheated myself out of the opportunity to love. Now I am about to die regretting my decision not to love others more than I loved myself.

I believe there is nothing more depressing that watching a person on their death bed regretting the decisions they made in life. Sticking to your core values help determine which road you should take and why. Your core values act as your guiding principles in life. They are used as your barometer to keep you balanced. Unlike the old man, your core values act as your beckon to remind you of the people and things that matters the most.

Step 3: Assess Your Resources:

I have read and heard many self-help scenarios that tells you that you do not need resources to bring your vision to life. There are many individuals that makes millions upon millions of dollars telling people that they can live the glamorous life using someone else resources. Their claim to fame lies in the ability to have another person or bank fund your vision. The only issue I have with that is we loose sight of our true contribution to the game. Before embarking on the road to bringing your vision to life, you must access your resources. Your resources include but not limited to your skills, money, and partnerships.

I have encountered many people over the course of my career who thought they just needed an angel investor to fund their vision. Whatever skills needed; they would hire once the company was open. They also felt that they did not need to build any partnerships because the angel investor would take care of all their needs. Unwilling to burst their bubble I would say good luck with that and please let me know how that turned out for you.

See, it is nothing wrong with pursuing angel investors to fund your vision. But if you do not believe enough in yourself to gather your own resources, you run the risk of either someone taking your vision or never getting it off the ground. Your resources are the catalyst to pushing your vision forward. Success comes from your passion, your drive, and your commitment to the vision that God has given you. Remember someone is waiting on you to bring your vision to fruition.

When I look back on all my missed opportunities to bring my vision to life, it never fails it all link back to a lack of resources. I had a plan that I wanted to build an awesome subdivision. I had selected the land that I wanted to purchase. I identified the types of houses that I wanted built in this subdivision. I wanted it to have a man-made lake, with Olympic sized swimming pools, Tennis Courts, Golf Course and all ran by solar power.

There were a few problems that I did not consider when I embarked on this adventure. I lacked the skills necessary to bring this vision to life. I had no idea of how to build this subdivision nor did I have the knowledge to articulate what I needed. Another thing I lacked was the partnerships needed to make this thing happen. I did not know any architects and builders that would join me as a potential partner.

The final thing I lack was the collateral needed to secure the funding to build this magnificent wonderland. Banks were not interested in my vision because I did not have any skin the game. Here is Wisdom: Before announcing your vision to anyone outside of your immediately circle, make sure you count the cost it would take to bring it to fruition. Do not listen to anyone that tells you your resources is not needed to close the deal. The people that preach this fairytale just want your money to fund their vision.

You need the skills, credit, money, partnerships, and any other necessary piece to bring your vision to life. Here is kicker. God can move on your behalf and bring all those resources into alignment and help bring your vision to life. You just need to be prepared and do your part when the time comes. That way no one can take credit for your vision being a success.

Step 4: Remain within Your Passions – The Entrepreneurial Drive:

Many times, your vision will drive your passion to make something significant happen in your life. Countless number of people waste their lives in dead end jobs that never fulfilled them. They become trapped in someone else’s vision because they believe that is their only road to success. The problem with this type of thinking is that they are never fulfilled. They are always looking for the next best thing to bring them over the hump. There was a young man in the 1960s who was a struggling college student. He came from a poor family. To afford his tuition he decided to attend college part time while working at the University’s Campus bookstore. Push by his desire to see a better life, this young man was driven to achieve his goal of becoming a metallurgical engineer.

While working in the campus bookstore this young man’s interest and experience in retail grew. His vision for his life surpassed being a metallurgical engineer and turned to becoming an entrepreneur. His passion for retail surpassed his current circumstances and struggles. Here is Wisdom: Exposure to new things can ignite the passion inside of you to do great things. Never shelter yourself from the unknown. At the age of twenty-four the young man dropped out of college to explore his passion for retail. In his mind, he felt he could do a better job than his manager. So, he withdrew the $5000 from his savings and opened his own college bookstore around the corner from where he previously worked. The young man thrived in his new business adventure. As profits grew, the young man opened four more campus bookstores throughout the city. 

In 1971, the young man approached a group of bankers to lend him 1.2 million dollars to purchase a struggling bookstore that have been in business since 1873. The bankers agreed to lend the money to this young man because he had proven himself to be a successfully businessman. With four profitable campus bookstores and now the purchase of a struggling bookstore the young man was on his way of making a name for himself in the retail industry.

Twenty-one years later the young man had a portfolio of thirty-seven large bookstores and one hundred and forty-two college bookstores. This portfolio made this young man the biggest book retailer in the Country. Over the next few years the young man improved his business concept. He created an environment where book enthusiast could relax with their favorite book before purchasing with a beverage and pastries. Today we know this young man as Leonard Riggio the Chairman and CEO of Barnes and Noble.

One of my favorite books is called, “What Color Is My Parachute” written by an author name Richard Nelson Bolles. This book was first published in 1970 and have help countless people discover their passion and their next career move. When we follow and remain in our passions even in hard time, we find ourselves on the other side of success living beyond our wildest dreams. Leonard Riggio found his passion working in NYU’s Campus Bookstore. At first, he saw his job to help him pay for college. Then the light bulb in his brain went off and the vision for more began to engulf his mind. He saw himself as a successful businessman operating in the retail industry. I have come to believe that no one really knows how far their vision would take them. But they hold onto the possibilities of what it could be if they only stick with it. Do you dare to dream big? Are you okay with following your passion even if that mean you must stop doing something that you thought was pivotable to getting you to that next step? Change doesn’t have to be hard if you are doing something that you are truly passionate about.

Step 5: Your Vision Fuels Your Mission – What Is Your Purpose?:

I have spoken with many people who did not know their purpose in life. They navigate aimlessly hoping that something good would come their way. Vision drives your mission in life. Your mission births your purpose which propels you to want to achieve things greater than yourself. Think of it this way, your mission questions your why for your existence. For example: Why me? Why this? Why now? 

From a young boy growing up in Philadelphia I always imagined myself accomplishing more than what I saw in front of me. My environment caused me to dig deep and search for my why me. Although my family wasn’t poor per say, we still had many struggles that made me question my reason for living. I looked at other children who lived in the same community as me but was afforded the opportunities to do a lot more stuff than me and my siblings. It seemed like life was just unfair. 
Then I came to this conclusion, my parents failed to take the opportunity to question their why me, why this, why now. They allowed themselves to get wrapped up in the worries of the world. Although I didn’t see them as walking aimlessly through life, I believe they didn’t come to grips with their mission for why God gave them life.

Many adults are trapped in the reality that their true mission in life is to get married, raise a family, and make as much money as they can through working a dead-end job. This risk-free type of existence only brings contentment at best. They lose the zeal for life that challenges them to think outside of their box. The desire to become more is strangled by what their environment and circumstances dictates for their lives. They ride the wave of mere existence hoping that they would have more highs than lows.

I found this to be true with my parents. In the beginning they had more highs than lows. However, as life began to even out, the lows started coming more frequently. Opportunities for advancement came but they couldn’t see the blessing in it because it required them to uproot their current lifestyle. They saw change as a bad thing because they didn’t adequately define their mission in life. Their purpose was more broadly driven instead of narrowly focused.

To really embrace change you must allow your vision to fuel your mission. You must constantly work to find your purpose for living. You must constantly challenge yourself look past your current circumstances to see the true greener pastures. Money cannot be your only focus. Fulfillment should drive your decisions to advance. Let me further explain. You must have fulfillment in every area of your life. Nothing should suffer as you pursue your purpose.