Paint the Vision

Imagine you’re planning your next family trip. Maybe you’re doing this right now. Whether you’re heading out on a camping trip or your first international vacation in some time, you undoubtedly did some research in the process of choosing your destination. You spent some time online, got familiar with the territory, read internet reviews about the place you’re considering, and enjoyed all of the photos of the location you’re selecting. Those images painted the vision for your trip, and that’s where we want to head today.

As a leader and for yourself, are you painting the vision of where you want to go?

Back to those vacation images… Besides the reviews and all of the destination-focused information you can find on where you’re heading, the photos are what sell the trip. The photos have the power to create some quick aspirational thinking. What’s it going to be like when we get there? What will it feel like to stand in that spot? What kind of adventures and experiences can we have in a place like this? We should go there!

Today, vintage travel posters are collectible, and you can find them in homes all over the globe. These images come to us from the early 20th century when airline and railroad travel companies commissioned these pieces of art to showcase the cities and resorts that they traveled between. With no TV and no internet in the early 1900s, they used these posters to fuel imaginations and motivate aspirational thinking.

The power of a compelling image is the same today, so we’ll ask the question again… As a leader and for yourself, are you painting the vision of where you want to go?

Whether you’re leading a team or leading yourself, you need to paint the vision for where you’re headed. Need to, as in, this isn’t optional – not if you want to get where you want to go. When we have goals and ambitions and things we want to create in business and life, it’s important that we have clarity about what direction we’re going, especially if we want to get everyone on board to come with us.

With that in mind, here are three questions to help guide the vision painting process…

What’s the destination we’re moving toward? First, get clear on the details. We’ve talked in the past about setting SMART goals… goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. The more clear and vivid you can paint the picture, the more real it will feel to yourself and anyone else you want to go with you. The more real it feels, the more connected they will feel to the destination, and the more invested they’ll be in helping get there.

What’s it going to feel like when we get there? Feeling connected to the destination is tied tightly to imagining the feelings associated with arriving there. Take a trip to the ocean, for example. The beach, water, and waves are physical things that we’ll see and touch when we get to the destination. Peace, calm, and relaxation are the feelings we’ll experience. Another example would be a winter trip to ski in Colorado. Here, the feelings are different… exhilaration, adventure, and invigoration. In both cases, the images we use to paint the picture of our destination need to tie back to the feelings the destination will help us create. The feelings are what draw us in.

What kind of experiences can we expect when we get there? Along with painting the vision of the feelings we’ll unlock when we reach our destination, we should include the experiences that will be available to us when we arrive. Back to the ocean example, we’ll enjoy great dinners with sunsets, scuba dive in remote locations, and enjoy the sand and the surf. In Colorado, we’ll enjoy world-class ski runs, warm fires in the cabin, quaint mountain towns, and end-of-day hot tubs in the mountain air.

The examples we’ve shared above are tied to vacations. Shifting gears, think about your next big team goal at work. What’s the destination, how will it feel to achieve the goal, and what kind of experiences will come with it when we do achieve it?

Shifting gears one more time, think about a personal goal you’ve been considering. Then, ask yourself the same questions… What’s the destination, how will it feel to achieve the goal, and what kind of experiences will come with it when we do achieve it?

Think about what you’re trying to create and get crystal clear on what it is. Make some notes. Collect some photos and images. See the vision as already complete and then start making some moves to get there. It all begins when you start to paint the vision.

Start to paint the vision. For whatever it is that you’re trying to create, whether it’s professional or personal, fifty percent of reaching your destination is knowing your destination in detail. Then, the other fifty percent is doing the work to get there… but it all begins with your vision. Paint it boldly!

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