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Friday, January 8, 2010

Full Steam Ahead! From Vision to Reality

OK! I've figured out the vision thing. Having a clear vision - knowing who I am, where I'm going and what will guide me on my journey - is the driving power to move full steam ahead. Just creating a vision is not enough. Now I've got to make it happen. "Vision is a lot more than putting a plaque on the wall. A real vision is lived, not framed." ~Ken Blanchard/Jesse Stoner

Now that I've identified my vision, I must start living it immediately. I must begin behaving consistently with my vision. Now that I know the right things to do, I can't wait to start tomorrow - I have to do the best I can with what I know, using the abilities I have at THIS moment. It's not means I will have to make tough decisions. But what I've learned thus far in my life is that the best thing for myself, my husband, my children, my friends, my family was to live my values and to make choices based on them!

Ken Blanchard/Jesse Stoner, in their book Full Steam Ahead, talk about establishing support structures. "We need to establish support structures that support the consistent practice of our values as we pursue our vision. Otherwise, our commitments fade into simply good intentions." How true! They define support structures as: the habits, practices, and processes that support your vision. My structures for healthy living would be eating right, exercise and accountability for example. Here is an excerpt from their book that rings close to home:

"One Tuesday morning, Jim was complaining about his increasing lack of stamina and recent weight gain. He attributed it to the effects of aging. I listened sympathetically for a while and then said, "Jim, I know that one of your values is health. What is your exercise program like?"

"Exercise program?" he asked.

"Yes," I chided. "What structure do you have in place that supports your value of health? I know you eat healthy food, so that structure is in place. And I know you play golf any chance you get. But I'm not sure what you do regularly for exercise."

He sheepishly admitted that he had tried several different approach to exercise but lost interest in them because they were no fun, or he was too busy, it wasn't convenient. I pointed out that these are all excuses and he admitted that they were.

"Is health really a value? I asked. "Or is it just an interest?"

He replied, "Yes, it's a value and I'm feeling bad that I'm not acting consistently with it."

As a result, Jim and Ken set up a structure that supported their values of health and they held each other accountable. Instead of their Tuesday morning coffee conversations, they started walking for 45 minutes. Not only did that structure allow them to get exercise, it built a better friendship between them. BONUS!

Setting up structures that support a vision is important in ALL areas of life. I know where I'm going and I have planned the course. The most important thing now is the step I'm taking right now - literally. Am I present? Do I see the sun shining on the snow? Do I hear my children talking at the breakfast table? Am I living my vision right now? Stop and think about that...As I was writing this, I was thinking about schoolwork for homeschool this morning in the back of my mind and my lesson for my Reformer's Unanimous meeting tonight. Throughout the day, I find myself thinking more about the future and not much about the present.

Vision really is lived in the here and now. What are you doing right now?

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