As the new year rolls on, and before too much more time slips away, take some time and reflect on your past accomplishments in 2017, both personally and professionally. Did you set any goals for yourself, your family, your job or business, and how did you finish?
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no revelation (vision), the people cast off restraint (perish).” In other words, if we don’t have a vision and have not planned a course of action for our lives from year to year, then we just tend to wander aimlessly through life hoping great things will happen. Over time, the lack of vision and planning just tends to breed a great deal of frustration and disappointment that often leads to discouragement!
This week I’ll be sharing wisdom on visioncasting from Andy Stanley, the founding pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA. His book, Visioneering, was a life-changing resource for me. I only wish I could’ve read it thirty years ago! However, the wisdom he presents can and should be applied on a regular basis regardless of your age and vocation.
Stanley writes, “Everybody ends up somewhere in life. You can end up somewhere on purpose.”
He defines visioneering as “the engineering of a vision. It’s the process one follows to develop and maintain vision. Vision is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.”
He writes, “Vision is a preferred future. A destination. Vision always stands in contrast to the world as it is. Vision demands change. It implies movement.
Stanley continues, “Without vision, chances are you will come to the end of your life and wonder. Wonder what you could have done—what you should have done. And like so many, you may wonder if your life really mattered at all.”
Whether you believe in the Bible or not, whether you believe in God or not, I know you will take away some great wisdom from what Stanley has to say about vision.
Andy Stanley’s 20 Building Blocks for a VISION
1. “A VISION BEGINS AS A CONCERN: Something will bother you about the way things are or the way things are headed.”
2. “A VISION DOES NOT NECESSARILY REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ACTION: Developing or discovering a vision for a particular area of our lives takes time. It always requires patience.”
3. “PRAY FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND PLAN AS IF YOU EXPECT GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS: Praying and planning will help you keep your vision alive. Pray for the people who could help you launch your vision. And while you wait, plan! Develop a strategy. Dream on paper. Find the one or two things you can do and get busy.
4. “GOD IS USING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES TO POSITION AND PREPARE YOU TO ACCOMPLISH HIS VISION FOR YOUR LIFE: Often there is no tangible connection between our circumstances and the vision God has given us. He desires to work through your circumstances to maneuver you into proper position.”
5. “WHAT GOD ORIGINATES, HE ORCHESTRATES: How is never a problem for God. It is usually a big problem for us. But how is God’s specialty.”
6. “WALK BEFORE YOU TALK; INVESTIGATE BEFORE YOU INITIATE: To share a vision prematurely usually guarantees a less than warm reception. There is usually some background work that needs to be done before you go public with your idea.”
7. “COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION AS A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED IMMEDIATELY: Visioncasting will always include an element of waking people out of their apathy. “
8. “CAST YOUR VISION TO THE APPROPRIATE PEOPLE AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME:
A carefully crafted vision has the ability to capture people’s imaginations as well as their commitment. People will reprioritize their lives and lifestyles in order to be part of a vision they feel called to.”
9. “DON’T EXPECT OTHERS TO TAKE GREATER RISKS OR MAKE GREATER SACRIFICES THAN YOU HAVE: There is something inauthentic about a man or woman who casts a vision for which he or she is not willing to personally sacrifice. It is hypocritical to ask others to take risks we are not willing to take ourselves.”
10. “DON’T CONFUSE YOUR PLANS WITH GOD’S VISION: When we lose sight of the distinction between our plans and the vision we are pursuing, we set ourselves up for a large dose of discouragement. Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision.”
11. “VISIONS ARE REFINED—THEY DON’T CHANGE; PLANS ARE REVISED—THEY RARELY STAY THE SAME: Be stubborn about the vision. Be flexible with your plan. Strategies and timelines are always up for grabs.”
12. “RESPOND TO CRITICISM WITH PRAYER, REMEMBRANCE, AND IF NECESSARY, A REVISION OF THE PLAN: Don’t be afraid to learn from your critics.”
13. “VISIONS THRIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF UNITY; THEY DIE IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF DIVISION: It is okay to have problems. It is not okay to ignore them.
14. “ABANDON THE VISION BEFORE YOU ABANDON YOUR MORAL AUTHORITY: Maintain your moral authority at all costs. As a visionary, it is your primary point of leverage. Without it, you are no longer a leader worth following.”
15. “DON’T GET DISTRACTED: You don’t want to wake up one day and realize you have spent your time rather than invested it.”
16. “THERE IS DIVINE POTENTIAL IN ALL YOU ENVISION TO DO: The truth is, our secular pursuits have more kingdom potential than our religious ones. For it is in the realm of our secular pursuits that secular people are watching.”
17. “THE END OF A GOD-ORDAINED VISION IS GOD: When God shows up, everybody in the vicinity is affected. Believers, unbelievers, committed, uncommitted, it doesn’t matter. The power of His presence in even small doses will leave its mark.”
18. “MAINTAINING A VISION REQUIRES ADHERENCE TO A SET OF CORE BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS: To keep a vision moving in the right direction, those involved must embrace a mutually agreed-upon code of conduct.”
19. “VISIONS REQUIRE CONSTANT ATTENTION: As a leader, it is essential that your decisions be anchored to your vision.”
20. “MAINTAINING A VISION REQUIRES BOLD LEADERSHIP: Don’t be afraid to hold people accountable to previously agreed-upon standards. Don’t tolerate those things that have the potential to derail your vision. Deal with them.”
This very brief wisdom-filled overview of Andy Stanley’s building blocks for visioncasting is just the tip of the iceberg relative to the wealth of knowledge and wisdom you’ll find in his book, Visioneering.
As an added bonus, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to grab a free step-by-step 3-year planning guide compliments of Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love. Miller asks, “If nothing changed in your life over the next 3 years, would that be okay?” You can use his detailed guide for visioncasting and setting your goals in what he calls “the 7 main aspects of life”.
Or, you can download Miller’s Power of Goals 2018 at my website Wisdom-Matters by clicking on the “Free Resources” tab. You can also download a free copy of Andy Stanley’s 20 Building Blocks for a Vision.
Also, if anyone has read either of the books highlighted above, I’d love to read your comments.
NOTE: Please see my full disclosure policy on my usage of Hyper-Links for additional information.
See you next Sunday when we’ll look at what it takes to be a bold and effective leader.