Leadership, Purpose & Vision
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” –Warren Bennis
The Seven Steps Step
1: Find your Purpose and Catch the Vision
2: Decide to Act and Write the Vision
3: Build a Team to Accomplish the Vision
4: Manage the Team & Foster Innovation
5: Believe in the Vision
6: Run with the Vision
7: Hang on to the Vision
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” One of Christ’s followers said, “…be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.”
If you know your calling and do accordingly, you will not stumble. You can do what you are called to do and not even get paid for it, but you can still enjoy it because you find it extremely satisfying and pleasurable. It is like a school of fish swimming in the water or a flock of birds flying in the air; they are created for that purpose and are most comfortable executing on it. Similarly, each one of us has a purpose and once we find it, we are able to execute on it with ease and pleasure.
However true these thoughts may be, many do not even attempt to act on their purpose for the fear of failure. But your ancient friend (quoted above) reminds you that if you make your call and election sure, you will not stumble or fail. The Apostle Paul put it quite appropriately, “Not that I am already attained or am I already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Paul understood clearly the concept of God-given purpose. He points out that he is not perfect but presses on to accomplish his purpose. Though God has made you for a purpose, that does not mean that it will be easy. There is an element of pressing on to accomplish your purpose.
You need to persevere and act on your purpose to accomplish it. Our Creator reminds us that He has a special plan in mind for each of us: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
God has planned each day in your life; He has a plan and purpose for each one of you. As God has created you, He is the one who knows your purpose. It is therefore God who you should ask for your purpose in life. To fulfill this purpose, God will give you a vision. Not everyone is called to start a ministry, a church or a business. But each one is definitely called to fulfill his or her purpose. You could even be called upon to be part of another person’s vision. Vision is to see something that is far off but coming into view. The Greek word for vision is hazon, which means, “to see.” The Hebrew word optasia means “coming into view.” Vision is for a particular purpose, which is not yet a reality but will become a reality if the visionary is willing to pay the price.
Once you discover your God-given purpose and the vision to accomplish that purpose, the next logical step is to take action. You need to resolve for yourself that your vision needs to be accomplished. Most of us do not discover our purpose in life and only a few of us act upon it. There will be questions like: How will I live? How will I support my family? Such questions might convince you to procrastinate or even abandon the decision to act on your vision. Yet, you must understand that God will make a way where there seems to be no way. If you do not take action you will not fulfill your purpose. Myles Munroe, author of the best-selling book, ‘The Principles and Power of Vision’, says that the graveyard is the most expensive real estate in the world because many hopes and dreams have died there. You should not make the graveyard richer. You must choose to act on your vision. Once you decide to act on your vision, it is imperative that the vision be written down.
God once spoke to Habakkuk, a religious leader in Israel’s past, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it (Habakkuk 2:2)”.
“If the vision can be accomplished with your paycheck it is not a God-given vision.” — Myles Munroe Habakkuk was troubled by the prosperity and rise to power of the wicked Babylonians both in Judah and its neighbors, Assyria and Egypt. God spoke to him and asked him to write the vision on tablets so that the people could run with it and the tablets containing the vision were in fact not very big. God not only says you need to have a vision, but that it should be succinct and to the point.
The reasoning behind writing the vision down is not just so you, yourself can see clearly what lies ahead, but also to allow you to refine it and make it as succinct as possible. Once you write the vision down, it can then be used to share with others in your sphere of influence so that everyone understands the destination and the direction of the vision, allowing those who choose, to follow you. God gives the vision to one person who in turn decides to act on it and share it with others. This will help each person to run with the vision based on his or her part in it.
Leading the Vision
There are many definitions of leadership. Webster’s dictionary defines leadership as “the office or position of leading, or capacity to lead, or the act or instance of leading.” There are many people in positions of leadership who do not function as leaders. Conversely, you do not need a position or a title to function as a leader. According to John Maxwell, author of the best-selling book ‘Developing the Leader Within You’, “Leadership is influence”. This definition of leadership captures the impact leadership has in influencing others. Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, defines leadership as “getting people work for you when they are not obligated to.” This definition is not my favorite as it focuses on obtaining followers. Though it’s true that the leader will attract followers because of who he is, leadership should not be defined around that aspect. Myles Munroe’s definition of leadership is defined simply, yet profoundly, as self-discovery. Myles has captured the basic element needed for leadership, which is; understand who you are. In combining the thoughts of Myles Munroe and John Maxwell with my own, we can create a complete definition of leadership:
Leadership is first discovering yourself and your purpose, then influencing and inspiring others to join hands with you to turn that vision into reality. Before you can influence others, you need to discover what your purpose is. William Shakespeare once said, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
Once you know your life purpose, you 1) know what you may be, 2) become passionate about your purpose, and 3) are able to influence and inspire others to join the voyage. The general purpose your Creator intended for you is to praise and honor His Name. The Lord God says, “This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise”.