Birth of a Vision—Part II
By: Marie Williams, Dallas Yoga Magazine Writer & Yoga Enthusiast
In the first part of my article, I introduced the concept of visioneering, defined a vision and discussed how to plan, execute and follow up on it. I also went in-depth about the importance of having a positive mindset and establishing relationships with the right people who believe in a specific vision enough to be great contributors. Finally, I used my personal vision of starting my own online affiliate marketing business as a real-life example of doing something new and different.
This part will focus on criticism an individual may have to face along the way of carrying out his/her vision to completion. I will also go into a detailed discussion about the ethical aspects of a vision along with distractions involved as well. There are specific ways an individual can stand out, according to the book concerning his/her vision. Lastly, I will conclude the second part of my article by talking about some necessary components that should be utilized for any and all visions. These components have to do with internal mindset shifts, growth, transitioning into various types of change and unwavering commitment.
Initially, my hope is that anyone who reads this particular mindset piece will be well informed about what is needed both internally and externally to carry out all visions. I desire for my readers to feel a personal connection to my vision of doing something bold by realizing their own sense of purpose and establishing courage to live out their dreams. Anything is possible in life if we believe, trust in the Universe to help us and have the courage to carry out all actions towards our visions. The power lies within us to see our visions to completion and experience our own sense of greatness.
In all of their abundance, visions do attract criticism from naysayers and those who may not be quite courageous enough to take the plunge into doing something risky. It is at these times that being defensive comes as second nature, even though the very act itself is a negative response. By becoming defensive, we can lose focus on why we established belief behind the vision in the first place. There are two elements that sometimes lead to the death of visions coming from critics, change and gaps. Change is usually associated with positive transitions occurring in life; however, when it concerns visions, it can stir up negative energy, feelings and bad thoughts associated with failure. Change plays on the insecurities of those who have become used to the way things are and have always been. People who are afraid of change or have been resisting it for a long time could possibly see a vision as a potential threat. Sometimes, our visions can remind people of what they are not. In this way, it is not uncommon for these individuals to stir up negative emotions and unleash them as criticism upon the individuals with visions. The more powerful the vision, the harsher the criticism. When individuals with visions seek and attempt to bring about what they feel is necessary change, what they are convinced “should be,” others will perceive the vision as what “should not be.”
These such critics appear to be armed with facts and important information or extensive experience. A vision is about the future, not the past, so it would contain no previous history. The irony here is that both history and experience give birth to a vision, no matter its complexity. Past experience causes a visionary to be unsatisfied with the way things currently are. History and experience can also be used to quickly diminish a vision as well.
“A vision is what could and should be. A plan is a guess as to the best way to accomplish the vision” (156).
It is so easy to lose sight of our vision when our carefully designed plans do not work out because failed plans slap us in the face with all kinds of negative emotions. As a result, we start to think of ourselves as failures, all the while internalizing the negative energy. Our critics who are watching us from the outside may find it difficult to distinguish between our plans and visions, due to seeing them as one in the same.
Another tactic is to revise our plans so that we can better evaluate our progress on our vision but also identify what still needs to be done, including any improvements.
When we feel aligned with something bigger than ourselves in ways that can benefit others, we know no other option but to push towards making our vision a reality. Starting my own online affiliate marketing business is a project I feel aligned with because not only will this adventure yield excellent income, but starting something new and challenging will allow me to grow in ways that far exceed anything I ever learned in the past involving business. I will have opportunities to bless others as they learn from me and eventually, open themselves up to new possibilities as I chose to do. I was encouraged by a dear and close friend to dream big, be more open-minded and take the biggest risk (or leap of faith) I have ever taken in my entire life! I know what could and should be, but I am not clear as to what will happen or how anything will unfold moving forward. What I realize now is that visions come with passion, not instructions. The deeper the vision, the more intense the passion will be about it.
Another aspect of alignment concerns the team of individuals I have met recently that I know are committed to my growth and long-term success as I work towards establishing myself in my business. These individuals are crushing their financial goals while setting new ones. They are also inspiring me to remain optimistic about starting out as a newcomer. The right team of like-minded individuals can help keep one aligned when first starting out in anything new.
Visions should have an ethical aspect included so that once they take flight, others involved within the launching process will feel they have been able to contribute to something with a solid foundation structured around good morale.
Stanley defines moral authority as “…the critical, non-negotiable, can’t-be-without ingredient of sustained influence…” (179). He feels that without it, our influence will be limited and short-lived. To gain and maintain our influence, we must utilize this important component. I honestly feel that great business cannot be done if moral authority is not a factor.
Moral authority is the credibility we earn by being honest, keeping our promises we have made to others and placing high value on the quality of trustworthiness. Simply put, this concept is the basis for relationships others see between what we say and what we do, what we claim to be and who we actually are. People with moral authority stand out. When trying to find discrepancy between what these people say they believe and what they actually do, an individual may come up empty. The alignment between conviction, action, belief and behavior is secured.
Visions are wonderful when they are backed up and built around a solid plan, but when a critic starts asking questions about how specific tasks will be carried out or wants clarification on unknown details, suddenly the water becomes muddied. Newer, more unique visions are susceptible to the damaging, doubtful feelings and negative effects of such a line of questioning.
For the first few months, I experienced a barrage of questioning from people who were skeptical that I knew what I was doing. They did not think I truly had the capacity to start my own online marketing business with no business background or sales experience. It was tough to hear all the time, but my sheer faith in something so different pushed me towards staying on track to start up, anyways.
New believers (visionaries) throw all of their energy into making their visions a reality because they have caught a glimpse of what they feel could and should be for their lives. This very notion reflects poorly on anyone else who is content or satisfied with the way things are; thus, they try to discourage the process by criticizing the overall decision.
Those who are committed to bettering themselves and improving their quality of life educationally and financially are often met with criticism from those closest to them because these individuals with no vision feel threatened by those who have decided to be bold and adventurous. Insecurities, lack, or fear and doubt force people to stop and take a hard look at where they are in life as opposed to where they may desire to be.
A Universal vision always contains more questions than answers. People feel led to question a vision to death because they want the absolute truth about the vision and certainty behind each answer to their question. At the same time, a Universal vision unfolds as a bit of a mystery. No answer is ever truly absolute.
It is human nature to want to defend ourselves and our visions when we are under attack. The process goes something like this: we start a dialogue with our critics. Consequently, we waste precious energy and valuable time attempting to answer questions our critics are often not interested in knowing. Before we realize it, our focus shifts to being critic-centered rather than vision-centered. All criticism strikes emotional cords within us. Every time we reflect it back, we play our critic’s game. The results often leave us hurt and experiencing self-sabotage. Bottling up our emotions can lead to illness, such as depression and ulcers. What is worse is unloading all of our pent-up emotions out on our friends and others in our path, hurting them in the process.
One solution to all of this is praying to the Universe. Every time I have experienced any negativity around my vision, I have talked to the Universe. No matter what is going on or what I am thinking, I always leave prayer time feeling more at ease. The Universe gives me clarity I did not have before. The Universe can handle our venting, emotional outbursts and tempers. Most importantly, the Universe knows that when we come before it, pouring our hearts out is a sure sign of trust in what it will show us.
Prayer helps to put all criticism concerning our visions in their proper context. When any criticism is given to the Universe, it suddenly loses its power and our anxiety level decreases. Our passion is rekindled and we can find the strength to continue pursuing our vision. Stanley feels that people confuse their plans with the visions they are trying to carry out. He believes failed plans should not necessarily be interpreted as failed visions, despite any incessant criticism these plans may be subjected to.
Going back to the subject dealing with moral authority, I need to add that it also encompasses the qualities of both purity and integrity, so it is a fragile thing in and of itself. It takes a lifetime to earn and build up; at the same time, it can be lost in a moment’s notice and once it is lost, it takes a long time to restore. Sometimes, it cannot be restored.
Moral authority is also connected with the aspect of leadership in that once an individual has it, they can eventually become a leader others respect and desire to follow. In regards to my business, once I get going, I definitely desire to establish my presence in the space where others will wish to follow me because they trust me and believe in what I have to offer them. By having a high level of moral authority, I desire to influence people at the deepest level in heart, mind and conscience by those who feel called to follow me. I will be able to maintain consistency in my online business because of these individuals’ trust in me. In this manner, I will develop a great track record with my clients over time.
Moral authority resonates with me because it is a commitment to always do what is right. I believe in doing what is best for others, especially if they have invested time, money or their lives in helping me grow in any aspect of my life. Those who wish to do what is right do not follow the crowd and do not necessarily need to gain influence. Moral authority should be followed at all costs. One way it can be damaged is through ethical compromises in business and relationships.
We must take full responsibility for our actions and the consequences that follow them. Just because we apologize and feel sorry for the hurt we have caused others in our heart does not mean we have gained favor with these individuals. The Universe sees all of our actions, hears our thoughts through our delivered speech and knows our hearts. Gaining our moral authority back after we have lost it usually means restitution with others and some sacrifice on our part. It is never easy to own our mistakes, bad judgment or wrong decisions made, but when we can and choose to, we are one step closer to re-establishing trust in ourselves, our businesses and ideally, our brand and what we stand for.
With any vision comes distractions and the most common are opportunities, criticism and fear. Most people would consider any and all opportunities good things because “opportunities” are usually associated with positive outcomes. In the case with visions, if the end goal is to accomplish something, change the status quo or bless others in a significant capacity, an individual must be comfortable saying no to some good things. Ironically, it is the good things that have the greatest potential to distract us from the necessary things concerning our vision. We must be careful that we do not let all the distractions get in the way of our vision becoming a reality and instead, work diligently to distinguish between the “good stuff” and the main things our vision needs to be realized.
Criticism is another distraction that can have detrimental effects on a vision because the individual delivering the criticism will not often be coming from a negative place. I consider criticism extremely painful on several levels because it hurts the person working hard to carry out his/her vision mentally, emotionally and spiritually. People tend to criticize and put down what they do not understand.
When we hear these criticisms, the negative energy can eventually lead us to feel angry. Anger is distracting and not our natural state from which to work and live. Over time, it can and will literally destroy all we have coming to us, including our vision. During times of frustration and anger, we need to consult the Universe so that we do not allow anger to shift our focus away from our vision.
Misdirected energy comes in many forms, but the most common type is projection, where people with bad motives question everyone else’s. These individuals can be selfish in nature, so they assume others are like them. They examine and process everything through self-serving lenses and usually think the worst.
Anyone who is serious about shaking things up or making radical changes will have to deal with accusations that are pointed. A vision causes a person to stand out and this makes people uncomfortable. The flow of society often always moves in the direction of conformity. I consider myself a non-conformist; therefore, I go against society’s current. What helps to keep me grounded concerning my vision for the online business is the fact that I am only accountable for myself, those I impact within my business space and the Universe.
One last distraction that is unavoidable is fear because every vision involves elements of the unknown. This uncharted territory is breeding ground for fear and anxiety. Those of us who have visions must face and work through “what if” scenarios involving fear. It is also another negative form of focus that can cause us to start evaluating our situations linked with our vision based on anything bad that might happen, rather than anything good we desire to see happen. Everything we could ever desire is on the other side of fear.
Every time I find myself getting distracted, I bear in mind these three things: I am doing great work and do not have time to be bothered with unnecessary issues unaligned with my online business; success will silence my critics; and the significance of being called to start my own online business cancels any option of retreating out of fear.
Since deciding to start my own online affiliate marketing business, I have absolute peace about such a bold decision. By allowing my thoughts, decisions concerning the business and my blog site connected to it, the confidence that should follow continues to build and get stronger, thus exciting me rather than scaring me. Sure, I am a little nervous about the outcome, but the enigma of what it could be keeps me on my toes and desiring to know what could happen next.
Peace is a rarity these days; yet people are willing to spend countless hours and tons of money trying to artificially create it, even though they may not realize this is what they are doing. Genuine peace grabs people’s attention because it pricks their curiosity and always brings up questions. All most individuals desire is to be happy because happiness is one tenet of being at peace. Right now, my days are filled with sheer joy because of the way the Universe has aligned certain things to transpire for me in all aspects of my life.
When those who have been without peace for a while cross paths with others who are living peaceful lives, they take note because the peace they are witnessing brings out the emptiness they may feel. Darkness is exposed, but by seeing peace in someone else’s life, they know peace is achievable. Regarding any vision that has been cast, the presence of peace in our lives is necessary. No matter the outcome, nothing concerning our vision should rob us of our peace.
Visions are awesome when they allow us to establish healthy relationships we would not have made, otherwise. Whether these individuals contribute something tangible or just want to support us, visions can be best at bringing us together with people who teach us more about ourselves and bring out our best qualities, helping us to do good for society and over time, grow into the best version of ourselves. For this reason, we should never sacrifice key relationships on the course of pursuing our vision.
Good character is a quality virtue to possess, but excellent character demands consistency and does not usually lead to any compromise of integrity. There are no short cuts to the latter type of character. Sacrificing our character at others’ expense alerts the Universe because it cannot and will not honor any deceit or short cuts in which the pay off does not benefit us or anyone else involved. Too much compromising of our character will eventually leave us with a bad reputation, and the Universe cannot bless us. At some point, our vision may suffer because compromised character leaves an unforgotten trail of hurt that can completely sink the vision.
I believe it takes more than pure excitement and determination to successfully finish what the Universe had birthed in our hearts to do. Maintaining my vision to transition into becoming an entrepreneur will require an uncompromising commitment to ethical principles and behaviors necessary to thrive in the online business space.
Such a transition will also present a call for extensive change, which will yield to tremendous growth and excellent connections with other online business savvy individuals looking to level up within the online business. This call will seem extremely uncomfortable with those individuals who have adjusted to the status quo. These people do not understand wisdom on the same level as a visionary because visionaries see opportunity in the most obscure and difficult situations. Visionaries are the first who are willing to make bold, unpopular decisions for the sake of what they believe could and should be. They give their vision constant attention and are always fully engaged.
Visioneering requires an internal shift in mindset. The way an individual may currently be thinking about his/her vision usually will not be how they end up viewing it after doing so much work.
I was a hard-core skeptic about starting my own online business. I came up with so many scenarios in my head I thought would play out. I hid behind my negative relationship with money at first because I did not want to do the inner work it was going to take to change my mindset about my finances. Slowly, over the course of those seven months, my mindset shifted, and I viewed such an opportunity as way to learn more about myself and grow. The process was uncomfortable at times and I had some financial disasters occur, but the Universe kept pointing me in the right direction along with encouraging friends giving me positive vibes and sharing their energy, which boosted my confidence to finally commit and go all in!
I know I am on the cusp of something truly extraordinary that is helping me heal, shed old layers of my past self and daily grow. Stanley says that “everyone has a mental picture of what could and should be for his life but not everybody will pay the price to turn that mental image into reality” (271).
I am willing to make the necessary sacrifices to see my vision through. Not only will I be investing time in both myself and my business, but the greatest reward will be helping others say “yes” to a new and abundant lifestyle, while introducing them to creative ways to start their online businesses.
Everyone ends up somewhere in life; the real question is will they have the courage to seize an opportunity presented to them to end up somewhere on purpose, blessing others along the journey.
About the Author:
Marie Williams is a dedicated yoga practitioner who specializes in the genres of both narrative nonfiction writing and profiling. She enjoys taking her yoga experiences and infusing them with vivid imagery and detail to invoke a deeper connection within her readers. Marie’s passion is to focus primarily on both her yoga and meditation journey in her articles, while giving her readers fresh and unique perspectives about life.
Follow her on Facebook and Instagram as littlestblackswan37.