Vision is a Lighthouse that Keeps You on Course

There are times when it feels like you’re being tossed and turned by storms at sea. When seemed like a solid ship (your work, your home life, your future) leaves you asking, “When did this turn in to a boat of questionable seaworthiness? And where is this heading?”

When a Clear Course is Needed

A couple of weeks ago I facilitated a retreat for an organization and its 4 person staff who’ve through a challenging year. One position was filled and emptied within 4 months, two long-time staff members moved on to new opportunities and the new Executive Director needed to her feet.  Plus the Board of Directors has new leadership and a changed structure.

And if that was not enough, they are facing the troubling reality of evaluating the balance between finances and services being offered: “What needs to stay, what may need to go and what could be modified?”

Unsettling to say the least.

When I asked how would you describe things? The staff said, “It’s like we have been drifting and trying to keep our heads above water; without much time to consider how to start moving forward again.”

Three Questions to Chart a Clear Course

The incoming Board President and the Executive Director knew that the staff needed to feel a sense of focus and equilibrium. And answer 3 key questions.

  1. Where are we now?
  2. If we were at our ideal what would that be like?
  3. What is it we want to feel and experience as a result of what we do?

Three powerful questions that provide great raw material for a cohesive shared vision. If you to dig deep and are honest.

Vision matters so much because it is the underlying description of WHY.  WHY you do what you do, as a person, as an organization, or as a family. It’s the aspirational “X” on the map of where you ideally like to land.

Vision is a Lighthouse That Keeps Your Safely on Course

In the words of the team, “Once you have a clear vision you have a lighthouse that constantly points towards where you want to go. The leadership is responsible for making sure there is a both light keeper and a captain. The keeper to ensure the light stays on and the captain steer the organization to stay on course.”

And who doesn’t need a lighthouse to steer towards? Having one illuminates a potent guideline for making decisions, “Does this make sense with my vision?”

It’s Time to Check the Light In Your Lighthouse

Fall’s turn towards doing (schools back in session, work’s gearing up, and the faint whiff of holidays) is a natural time to a check to see if your light keeper is on duty.

So you can:

  • Put the wind in your sail and refocus your course to get to a landing point.
  • Ensure healthy cohesion in a team as you collectively chart a course to a common landing point.
  • And if needed chart a new course to get to your landing point.

Over the next three weeks I’m working with two more organizations to facilitate vision-setting retreats. Lighting lamps is a fine way to begin to usher in the start of a new season. I predict clear course ahead!

Do you have a Fall ritual of checking in to see if you vision and plan for the year is on course? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


What I Learned This Summer

Looking at grains of sands is revealing, hard, and inspiring.

Work is an act of creation.

Sometimes work is like creating a beach, grain of sand by grain of sand.

Work is an Act of Creation

I’ve been deep into a writing project that’s pushed me to create a new way to present what I do for a living to the world.

It’s been like sorting through great wet masses of clumped sand, shifting and shifting until the right grain or two fall out. Then placing those together and repeating until there is a beach I think is a beautiful. From time to time, inviting others to take a look at what I am creating and suffering the consequences. “Love it.” “I don’t like it.” Where are the sea grasses?”

Creating is  an extension of you. Work is an act of creation. We make something when we work. Sales. Books. Lesson plans. Work is an extension of you. Or it can be.

My business is an extension of me. But it is not the whole of me. Nor is any 1-grain or a 17-grain clump of sand me.

People’s Response to Your Creation is Not about You (Or your Worthiness)

Not everyone is going to adore the same music, whiskey or beaches as I do.  Not everyone will like what I create.  How much other people understand, embrace or reject of my work, is just that and it’s about my approach.  Not me as a person.

It’s hard not to take it too personally when someone dismisses or rejects that which is a an extension you. It can feel like a dismissal of your worth. It can be easier to muddle in the middle. Or try to fade into the background. Or FORCE your way to the front.

How You Embrace Creating is About You and Your Self-worth

The courageous choice is creating in the face of the possibility people (you really wish would) do not get what you create. What’s important to wrap your head and heart around diving into the process of creating in your way, at your pace. And have the brass ovaries (or whatever you’ve got) to share that creation with the world.

If you are looking at your own gains of sand here are a few tips:

  • Pack some band-aids and salve for the cuts and scrapes you get from picking up and placing all those grains of sand.
  • Remember to look up, stretch and take in the whole as it’s developing.
  • Ask trusted advisers who will be lovingly unvarnished with you to assess what you’re creating, listen to their feedback and continue to listen to your instinct.
  • And for heaven’s sake pack some whiskey (or something) to make a toast each day what you discover and what you shape and always who you are.

What did you learn this summer? Let me know in the comments below.

Ps: My heart will always belong with beaches of grey sand with outcroppings of rocks, pebbles and dunes pegged by sea roses, grasses and beach-peas