There are two defining factors to success – Discipline and Vision. Without the ability to create a long term vision and to clearly identify what you want to create – you can not formulate the steps that will take you there. You may be busy doing, but with no appreciable result. Without discipline you will likely find yourself engaged in countless distractions – and success of any substantial sort is not something that happens suddenly – it occurs only after days, weeks, months, or years or consistent application of effort in the same direction – depending upon the scope of your vision.
Most of us have to develop both of these capacities. Not just because of our natural tendencies to get caught up in our day to day events thus short circuiting both discipline and vision – but because we also have spent so much of our lives listening and believing things that hamstring our own capabilities to develop vision, and thus the passion to engage in effective discipline to get the results we want.
Yesterday I ran a 45 minute exercise going through the seven areas define by Jack Canfield: Finances, Career, Recreation, Relationships, Personal Development, Community and Legacy. One of the individuals got stuck in creating a vision of their ideal house as we were discussing what the long term vision of finances could look like. They were caught in the messages they had received over and over again – messages which told them they “could not afford” their ideal house and so don’t envision it. Another participant then told them that because they envisioned it, they were able to get a cabin on the lake – something they had never expected to do – but it showed up because they were looking for the possibility.
I want to be clear – I wasn’t telling anyone to go out and buy their dream home. What I was guiding them to do was to allow themselves to have a vision of what they would like to create. And this guidance was not just in regards to “possessions” it was in regards to the quality of relationships they want, the type of life they want to live. If someone is in an emotionally abusive relationship – and have a vision of what a healthy relationship would look and feel like – they may well create the vision and then take the actions needed to find that healthy relationship. If they get caught up in the daily crisis that the emotionally abusive relationship creates they will be unable to develop the vision and be unable to discipline themselves to take the hard steps needed to either address the issues in the current relationship or leave the relationship in order to seek out one that will be emotionally supportive.
It does not matter what area of your life it is – long term vision and the discipline to take the hard steps needed to get you there are the two factors that lead to successful outcomes. If you are reading this – then no matter how challenged you may feel – the truth is both of those qualities are in you – pick up Jack Canfield’s Success Principles, pick up Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, pick up a book or find a mentor in the area you want to develop. Learn the road maps and the long term vision from those who have come before you if you are unsure how to develop it yourself. And start taking the action steps today to being the difference in your own life.