Have you ever scaled a mountain? Some mountains are easy, and some are difficult to climb but the view from the top is worth it, isn’t it?
I recently attempted to scale Mount Beerwah. For those not familiar with Mount Beerwah, it is the highest of the ten volcanic plugs (556 m) in the Glass House Mountains range and a ‘grade 4 difficulty’ at the start that turns into an easy climb to the summit.
I can appreciate that for some people, Mount Beerwah is a ‘walk in the park’ but for me personally, I hadn’t done much mountain climbing/ scrambling prior to this and a good friend of mine, who regularly climbs Beerwah, assured me it was possible and the view was amazing. He also promised to show me the critical footholds and handholds along the way.
Little did he know I had tried to scale it months before and found the first section (image) too difficult and too exposed. As we approached the first section, my previous failure was impacting my mindset, my nerves and my thinking. The sheer rock-face has no steps, no real footholds and no chains, ropes or shrubs to hold onto. Just some faint creases and divots in the eroded rock face that you can fit part of your toe in or manage to wrap your hand around. But with my good friend showing me the way, combined with a bit of forward motion, and not looking down, I quickly overcame this section and easily climbed to the summit where I was met with a spectacular 360-degree view of the Sunshine Coast and north Brisbane region.
Reflecting on this experience, the simple principle of having a clear vision for getting up and down the mountain was invaluable. My friend’s defined path of footholds and handholds was exactly what I needed. Without them, I would have been stranded on the rock face feeling my way up, or worse, causing myself a serious injury. The same principle applies to having a vision for our lives, our leadership and our team/s.
Vision provides clear direction. It’s easier to reach a destination when you know which way to go. Being specific, just like knowing each individual foothold and handhold, is important to helping you attain your vision.
I could have tried hard all day on my own and not passed the initial rock face but the clear instructions (how) and knowing there was a spectacular 360-degree view waiting for me at the top (why) was crucial for my success. It helped me to stay focused when times were tough. It wasn’t a vague wish or a dream or a hope of reaching the top. Having a clear vision of reaching the summit and overcoming the first section of the mountain helped me pool my ideas (e.g. right time of day, weather), people (e.g. someone who had experience climbing the mountain to guide me) and resources (e.g. appropriate shoe and clothing) to make the vision possible.
A vision should be:
Clear: So sharp and so vivid that you can almost see, smell and taste the important details. To create a vision that’s exciting and compelling, you’ve got to give yourself the freedom to dream. A vision comes from the heart, not the head.
Positive: Acknowledge the difficulties but don’t try to motivate yourself or others with a vision of bad things that might happen if you don’t succeed.
Big Enough: A vision that’s too small may not provide enough inspiration, or generate enough energy. Too large and it might impede your mindset to get past the tough spots or close your mind to what you could achieve.
Do you have a clear WHY and WHAT for your own life, your leadership and/or your team? Allow me to highlight some of the BENEFITS of having a vision for these three (3) areas of your life.
Vision for Your Life
- Direction: It’s easier to reach a destination (i.e. mountain summit) when we know which way to go.
- Limit the number of mistakes: Knowing how to navigate life is not too dissimilar to knowing where to find the footholds and the handholds on the mountain. Vision helps you to avoid the obstacles that keep you from getting where you want to go.
- Time: How we spend our time is all connected to our vision. If our vision is important to us, the time we spend pursuing it will be important to us too.
- Habit: Your daily to-do-list is created by your vision and it tells you exactly what you will do, which over time, will create better habits.
Vision for Your Leadership
- Self-Awareness: Personal leadership and self-awareness enables you to have a strong sense of self, knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Effective Communication: Powerful leaders know when to talk and know when to listen. They are approachable and effective communicators who can clearly and succinctly communicate a message on all levels: one on one, to a small or large group of people, via phone, email, social media. They also know which of these tools works the most effective for each situation.
- Manage Complexity: Learning to lead in a complex environment is a vital skill for any leader. According to Harvard Business Publishing report, that means being able to scan the environment in search of subtle trends and indicators of disruptive change and establish practices that allow you to respond quickly.
- Teamwork: Successful leadership is built on the people around you. Team building skills are essential to leading a diverse and unique group of people with distinct personalities, motivations and skills.
- Lasting Relationships: Effective leaders establish impactful relationships with customers, clients, partners and even competitors.
- Integrity: Whether it’s giving proper credit for accomplishments, acknowledging mistakes, or putting safety and quality first, great leaders always exhibit integrity. They do what is right, even if that isn’t the best thing for the bottom line.
Vision for Your Team
- Commitment: If there is a strong relationship between that team’s vision and what they personally believe in and care about, it kindles a passionate commitment.
- Empowerment: When leaders know that shared direction and values drive team decisions, they are more willing to let go of control and let team members assume more responsibility.
- Trust: When team members realise they are not too different from each other, there is greater trust in each other’s contributions, style and approach.
- Innovation: Where there is a high degree of trust, it helps foster innovation and creativity which in-tun boosts your team’s or your organisations competitiveness.
- Talent Retention and Attraction: Having a compelling sense of purpose with a detailed vision, is becoming more important for winning the best talent. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2015, 60% of Millennial respondents reported that they chose to join their current employer in part because of the organisation’s “sense of purpose”.
Discovering a clear vision for each of these areas of your life is not easy but once you discover it and write them down, your life will become less complex. Your life has a true purpose and it becomes more focussed and clearer to the point where not even a ‘mountain’ will get in the way of you achieving it.
If you or your team need help discovering and developing a vision, please contact our office and one of our qualified leadership coaches or consultants can speak with you.
Mitchell Witherington, Senior Consultant