Vision: “The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life”
– Tony Dungy, television football analyst and Super Bowl Champion Coach
What is VISION?
It is the ability to vividly imagine a far better current state, be it an organization, personal quality, family, church, community, you name it.
More Than A Mental Image
As Tony Dungy points out, true vision ignites the soul, kindling a raging fire that drives us toward that vision. The drive is so great, that as Tony says, we’ll do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Consider one of my personal heroes: James Meredith.
A Vision Of Something Better
James Meredith was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement who had an unwavering vision that anyone, regardless of color, has the right to higher education at any college they choose. So in February, 1961, Meredith chose to attend the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.
In the early 60s, Ole’ Miss was the literally and figuratively the “ground zero” of educational segregation in the United States. Meredith’s initial application was rejected; however, driven by his vision, he applied again. Again he was rejected. So James applied yet a third time while at the same time taking his case to the media and US justice system. On September 10th, 1962 Meredith achieved his first major victory when justice Hugo Black ordered the University of Mississippi to admit him.
Vision Perseveres Against Obstacles
When he arrived at school for a fifth attempt to register, he was met by a crowd of 2000 people blocking the entrance to the registrar’s office. Again, James Meredith refused to abandon his vision.
On his next return to the University he was accompanied by 30,000 soldiers ordered to escort him by President Kennedy himself (for those of you keeping score, 30,000 is roughly the same size as the 2009 – 2011 Afghanistan troop surge).
A 15 hour battle erupted between the protesters and troops, but when it was done James Meredith registered as the first known Black student at Ole’ Miss.
A True Vision Accepts The Risks
James Meredith’s vision fueled a fire inside of his heart so intense, that he risked his own life to achieve it. And in doing so, he put a stake in the heart of racially segregated education.
James Meredith graduated from Ole’ Miss in 1963 with a degree in political science.
Discover Your Vision
Follow your heart: What truly stirs you and creates an almost uncontrollable passion?
Chart a course: A vision without a plan is like a race horse straining to break free of the starting gate so it can start charging forward. It will create a tremendous amount of internal duress as the inner you tries to break out and pursue your dream. Don’t leave it inside the gate kicking and bucking to get out. Give it a path to follow.
Once you chart your course, you must follow that path to your vision.
Don’t give up:
Great vision requires tremendous effort and perseverance. Do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to achieve your vision. Think of James Meredith, his tenacity was so strong that a mob of 2000 angry protesters couldn’t stop him.
Now, go discover your vision.
Angelo Lombardo is a Fortune 500 executive who is dedicated to giving other business people the mentality, motivation, tools and processes to “Go On The Offensive” to create the career and/or life they choose.
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