When you follow your passions and put your vision first, you don’t always know how things are going to work out. You may be doing something unconventional that hasn’t been done before or trying something new that you’ve always loved, but never had the nerve to put your faith in before. It’s exciting, but it can also be a little scary.
Being true to ourselves seems like it should be the most natural thing in the world. But if it were, everybody would be doing it and, instead, most people are afraid to try. Do you know why? Because it you put your heart into something, if you invest it with your passion, it feels like a risk. You start to worry that you could be disappointed or make a fool out of yourself.
It’s possible. But what’s worse? Being disappointed, making a fool out of yourself or never even trying to live your dream – never really giving it your best shot, with all the passion in your heart behind it?
Give me disappointment any day! If I’m disappointed, I can get up, brush myself off and try again. If I make a fool out of myself, I can take it as a learning and do things better the next time. If I live a life with no passion and no vision … if I never take a risk on my deepest dream … if I never put my vision first … then life won’t hold much meaning for me.
To live a meaningful life, you have to identify your passion, create your vision and then go after it with all you’ve got. Even if it seems impossible.
One of the best examples I know of putting your vision first is my friend, George. We used to work together at the Pacific Institute. We call him “Mr. Results” because when George focused on something, he got results. This guy was accountability driven. If he said he was going to do something, you could bank on it. Customers loved that. He was always getting job offers from outside the Institute. One of them came from MCI and he took it.
As we all expected, George was on the super fast track at MCI. They sent him all over the country. Before long, he was racking up all kinds of miles. But he had a wife and three children at home. He loved his wife and kids very dearly and he wasn’t getting to spend time with them. So, as much as he liked the fast track, he soon realized he’d have to make a change. He wanted to spend more time with his family. That’s what he was most passionate about. George wanted to watch his children grow up, to go to all of their sporting events, all of their games, all of their school functions. He wanted to spend time with his wife and be the loving husband he felt called to be. George had a vision of being the best husband and father he could possibly be.
One night, when he was thinking things over, he made a list of the priorities in life. He put God first, his family second, his health third, and his job fourth. And that was that. He knew what he had to do.
Now, George lived in Lodi, California, a small town of 52,000 people. There’s not a lot going on for MCI in Lodi. George knew that. But he told MCI that he’d be happy to keep working for them, but he was going to be staying in Lodi. MCI said they needed him to travel, so they parted ways.
This meant George was going to have to start from scratch. Since he knew the performance coaching business, he thought, “Why don’t I become a performance coach from Lodi? I can put a certain amount of time every day into work and the rest of my time will be focused on fulfilling my vision to be the best husband and father I can be.”
The thing is, there’s really no reason to think you can be a successful performance coach in a small town like Lodi. Being a performance coach myself, I can tell you that, when I heard about George’s plan, I was skeptical. It’s always been my belief that you have to travel to be a performance coach. You have to go wherever the business is. Whether that means New York, Indianapolis, Austin or Los Angeles, you have to go to the business. It won’t come to you.
George proved me wrong. He changed the paradigm, because his vision was strong. He put all his passion behind his vision. To be the best husband and father he could be, he needed a job that would make enough money to maintain his family’s lifestyle, but also give him more time to spend with them!
And do you know what? George has exceeded his vision. He continues to spend quality time with his family, year in and year out. And he has more business than he knows what to do with!
George puts his vision first. When clients call, he’s very clear with them about how much time he can spend away from his family. Instead of letting the demands of his career make his choices for him, George consistently puts his vision first. George’s clients work within his vision.
He is very successful to this day. He turns business away and keeps raising his prices. Why? Because as much as he is committed to his clients, he is more committed to his vision-to be with his family. He’s living with integrity, putting first what matters most.