I have had numerous conversations with entrepreneurs over the years about their goals and whether they know where they want to go in the next year, three years, five years and beyond. I recently talked with one entrepreneur at length about her business goals and what she wanted to accomplish in the next five years. She had a definitive vision of where she wanted to be and it was a great experience for me to have this conversation with her. She wasn’t sure exactly what she needed to do or how to do it, but it was obvious from talking with her that she was very clear about what she wanted. With this kind of vision, it was easy to chart a course for her to follow and give her encouragement on what she needed to do. It is easy to share tactics and strategy in a case like this because the end objective is so well known.
On the other hand, I had a very different conversation a few months ago with a different entrepreneur who has no idea where she wants her business to be. When I asked her about where she wanted to be in five years, she had absolutely no idea. She wasn’t even sure she would still be in the business she had chosen to start. She was completely non-committal to any plan of action because she didn’t believe it was possible and she had absolutely no idea where she wanted to go.
These contrasting experiences have caused me to reflect a lot about the importance of vision, knowing where you want to go, and charting the course (which are both the responsibility of the leader of any organization). My conclusion after reflecting on these two very different entrepreneurs is simply this: It is absolutely disastrous to discuss strategy and tactics when you don’t know where you are going. In the case of the second conversation, it didn’t really matter what I shared with her because in her mind it wouldn’t work for her anyway. The real problem was that she had no vision of what she really wanted or where she wanted to go.
It will be interesting to observe these two businesses in the months and years to come. I already know that the first business will be in a much different place two to three years from now than the second business (if she is still in business).
Why is it so difficult for many to set a course of direction? Why do individuals procrastinate establishing their vision to know where they want to go(when they know it is important)?
There are many reasons. Here are the two big ones.
- Establishing your vision takes time and effort. It is much easier to get caught up in the daily activities it takes to run and work in your property management business instead of taking the time to rise above the challenges and work on your business and cast your vision for the future.
- Fear, concerns, challenges, worries, and obstacles can be overwhelming. Instead of rising above the problems to see where we are heading, it is easier to get bogged down right where we are. Two manifestations of this are found in these two statements and questions: • We are fearful that our vision isn’t even possible – so why try? • We are concerned that we may put out a lot of effort, and get little to no return—so why put forth the effort?
You may feel that it has been difficult for you to set a course or set a vision of where you want to go with all of the worries you are facing right now in your property management business. If you have been feeling this way, I would invite you to read an excellent book entitled Shift by Peter Arnell.
This book is inspiring for a lot of reasons, but the central story of how Peter went from 406 pounds to 150 pounds (an astonishing 256 pounds) will help you see how to rise above difficulty and the importance of knowing why vision and a supportive team around you is critical to your future success. One of Arnell’s philosophies is to “Go helium” which he got from the late Los Angeles-based psychiatrist Milton Wexler.
I think this concept of ‘going helium’ is a great way to describe the process of discovering your vision and how to deal with the worries and concerns you have. Arnell says:
“The best way to deal with worry is to tackle it straight on. When you try to push your concerns away, they only become a distraction. If you embrace your concerns, you can let the inevitable fear float up and away and be done with it! You can in short, do what [Wexler] recommended: Go helium.” –Shift, p. 145.
“‘Going helium’ means to rise up and float freely, rising above your problems and concerns, going as high as you can go. Going helium is about capturing a feeling of freedom within yourself to go farther than you thought you could. Milton constantly talked about how people set their goals too low. Fear and worry make them focus on trying to guard against failure, rather than focusing on success.” –pp. 146-147.
Arnell said this of his transformation (and of his experience of rising above his weight and establishing his vision):
“If I were able to get down to 150 pounds, I would look great and I would feel great. I would be seen as thin, fit, and healthy—three adjectives that would give me an enormous boost of confidence and strengthen my brand with my colleagues, clients, and friends. This is how helium works: It lifts you up and allows you to reach your proper altitude. My helium was helping me to bring my weight down while lifting my altitude and attitude up.” –pp. 151.
If you need help making a “shift” with your vision, I would highly recommend you read and study this excellent book. Then, take the time to establish the vision of where you want to go for your business.
A final thought about this is found in Frank McNair’s book, The Golden Rules for Managers. He says:
“Vision exists before we chart the course. Vision is about understanding the climate and the currents, knowing the abilities and weaknesses of your crew and vessel, and selecting an achievable destination that will yield profits to the ship’s owner plus safe passage and fair wages to the crew.”
“Vision weighs the risks of one route versus another; vision considers the current atmosphere and the competitive ships. And vision ultimately decides: ‘For this ship, in this port, given these conditions, the best destination is X.’ Only then are the sailors ready to begin charting their course, planning the safest and fastest route to this destination that accords with their vision. It’s easy to get it backwards; to begin planning before the vision is clear, to confuse tactics with objectives….” –p. 3-4.
My favorite quote about this is by John Maxwell. He says: “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” Have you established your vision of where you want to be at the end of this year? Next year? Five years from now? Have you charted the course of how you will get there? This is your responsibility as the leader of your business. Know where you are going and work every day at moving toward what you want. If you don’t, you will end up somewhere else.
If you would like some help with a proven business plan and tools to help you get there, schedule a call to talk with one of our franchise developers here.