“Have a vision. Be demanding.”Vision

Those are the words of Colin Powell, the first African American appointed U.S. Secretary of State.

Vision is a practical necessity for individuals and businesses. A great source of inspiration, vision is also the basis for developing strategy, setting goals and establishing plans of action. In our personal and professional lives, vision motivates us to achieve more.

Because effective vision statements sound lofty, grand, idealistic, some people shy away from crafting a vision. Yet, to move beyond present circumstances, and make more than incremental change, vision is required. Vision paints a clear and compelling picture of the new possibility and does so in a way you can visualize and feel emotionally.

Here are two of my favorite examples of vision at work.

Since the age of 8, I’ve been moved by the life and work of Harriet Ross Tubman, the abolitionist, humanitarian and spy for the Union Army. Her vision, courage and self-discipline have always inspired me to push through my fears and to reach for my dreams.

The circumstances of her life presented seemingly insurmountable challenges. She was black, female, a slave, poor, handicapped, illiterate, physically and emotionally abused. But, the circumstances of her life were no match for the unwavering power of her vision and will. She was brave, strategic and bold. She forged alliances with those who supported her vision, and let go of those who didn’t. Once she escaped to freedom, she risked her life, time and again, to bring others to freedom. She made her rules and defined her life.

In the late 1800s, Madame CJ Walker, founded the Madame CJ Walker Manufacturing Company. A bold visionary, her company produced hair and beauty products for black women. She became the first ‘self-made’ female millionaire in America.

Her vision included the creation of a lucrative enterprise, and much more. She once said, “I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.”  And, that she did. She employed over 3000 people.

About her great success, Madame CJ Walker said, “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

Like Harriett Ross Tubman and Madam CJ Walker, don’t be defined by limitations suggested by your circumstances. You too can do the seemingly impossible. Create a vision for your life, career and company. Make it an impressive, bold expression of your deepest desires and most powerful ambitions.

What opportunity is out there waiting for you? You’ll never know, unless YOU get up and get it!

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