Reworking the vision

I’ve been traveling down a path with a certain vision. However, it’s time for a few tweaks. I realized something very important: much of my vision depended on others. If I have a vision for who I want to be, it can’t all depend on others. For example, part of the vision is to “be respected.” Do I fail if no one chooses to respect me?

However, at the same time, I also know that we should be interdependent beings, not islands attempting to achieve something all on our own.

Therefore, I want to be clear with myself on what is in my power and what involves the free will of others.

Old vision

As a thought leader I am:

  • respectful and respected
  • balanced and effective
  • enabling and vulnerable
  • boundless with knowledge, yet succinct
  • relaxed with harnessed passion

New vision

I am:

  • happy and fulfilled
  • passionate and peaceful
  • balanced and effective

As an influencer, I am:

  • respectful and respected
  • enabling and vulnerable
  • boundless with knowledge, yet succinct
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Thought Leader

My next mentoring session really propelled me forward. I caught a vision of who I want to be. The list contained respect, balance, succinctness, relaxation, and harnessed passion, but there was still more to add to this list. I expressed to my mentor that I wanted to be a thought leader.

Continuous learning
One attribute of thought leaders is continuous learning. The skills for the job will constantly change. Technologies constantly change. People change. I must continuously learn and grow.

Vulnerability
Also important to being a thought leader is being vulnerable enough to describe not only successes, but failures. One of my heroes is Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, co-founder of Innosight, and author of How Will You Measure Your Life?. I have attended a few of his presentations and in each he gives not only knowledge on how to succeed through success stories, but also knowledge on how to succeed through his own failure stories. He is willing to show vulnerability. No thought leader is perfect.

A force that shifts the status quo
Another attribute of a thought leader is that he or she provides a force that shifts the status quo. According to my mentor, this is like the power of the ocean.

The ocean
Every wave is different. The sand is different every time the tide moves. The force of water changes rocks over time. What it leaves behind will never be the same. It leaves behind treasures. The ocean is cleansing. It is a powerful healer: mentally, spiritually, physically. Salt water heals wounds very quickly.

Enabler
Thought leaders enable others to find success. You need other people to be a thought leader; otherwise you do not lead.

After talking about the attributes of a thought leader, I realized that ‘thought leader’ isn’t just another attribute on the list of who I want to be; it encompasses everything on that list – it is who I want to be.

Continually Learning

My mentor shared the article “Career Coach: What are you doing to keep learning?”  This article basically talks about the importance of continuous learning – it doesn’t stop with getting a degree. The article lists benefits to those who make learning an ongoing priority in their lives:

  • Being able to keep current with trends and developments in an industry.
  • Building a knowledge base to identify problems and generate solutions.
  • Being more resilient to market changes and fluctuations (i.e., being more marketable, especially during recessions).
  • Stimulating the mind to keep inspired and excited.
  • Enhancing self-confidence about a topic or issue.

I have experienced all of these benefits. I would add that continuous learning also helps us develop new ways of thinking about problems and solutions. Learning more in subjects outside our field of expertise helps us relate to and communicate with others more effectively and gives us not only a knowledge base, but new mindsets for different approaches to problems and ideas.