Accepting the Tension Between Vision and Reality

Earlier this week I was visiting with another Lead Change Contributing Author and Entrepreneur, Shawn Murphy (@shawmu & LeadChange profile).  Our conversation quickly reminded each of us that we are not alone as we experience some natural tension between our vision and our reality:

  • How do you balance faith and ownership?  When do you seek answers and wait?  And when do you need to take action and step forward?
  • How do you stay focused on your mission & serving others when our egos are so easily triggered and can take us off course in a flash?
  • How do you curiously and courageously explore new opportunities when it feels so much safer to stay in our comfort zones?

Our brief conversation reminded me of something Jesse Lyn Stoner and Ken Blanchard shared in their book Full Steam Ahead, “At times, the tension of holding an honest view of both my present and my vision is frightening.   It feels like jumping off a cliff with no assurance of a safe landing.”  The authors go on to emphasize how important it is to learn to accept the natural tension we will experience between our vision and our current reality and recommend that we intentionally move towards the things we fear.

So how do you accept that natural tension and move into the fear?

Focus on all of the things that happen when people move towards their vision instead of letting their past and present realities limit their future contributions:

  • Columbus…   New worlds are discovered.
  • Harriet Tubman…  An uneducated former slave leads hundreds to freedom.
  • The Wright Brothers…   People fly.
  • Nelson Mandela…  A prisoner becomes a President.
  • Nick Vujicic…  A child born with no arms and no legs gives hope to millions.
Focus on the people that will benefit when your vision becomes reality:
  • Recommit to your vision several times a day if that is what it takes to stay focused.
  • Be willing to fail in public, knowing that many of the greatest leaders in history used failure as a tool to increase their knowledge.
  • Be willing to apologize and to change your behavior when you blow it.
  • Be willing to ask for advice and encouragement when you need it.
  • Pray.

And remember:

  •  “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  Nelson Mandela
  • “Faith is the assurance of what you hope for, and the conviction of what you cannot see.” Hebrews

What tension are you feeling today that will make a difference tomorrow? 

Related posts:

When Leadership Means Letting Go by Lisa Petrilli

The Heart of a Leader