208-376-1701 bryan@bryanyager.com
First a quote: “Every day each of us has a choice, we can choose to be vision-led or problem-driven.” — Bryan Yager Today’s article is a nod to my dad who would have been 94 today. Besides loving his family, he loved to fish (for Walleyes mostly) and in his later years, gardening and raising flowers. He would spend countless hours growing plants from seeds in his garage-turned-nursery. While he enjoyed growing flowers, what he enjoyed even more was giving them away to neighbors, friends, family, and the occasional passersby. It made his heart happy to bring joy to others with the gift of a homegrown plant, be it a geranium, marigold, dianthus, cosmos, or even a tomato plant or two. Now, today’s missive. Over the years I have observed organizations, and the people who lead them, tend to be either vision-led, or problem-driven. I find this to be true for many of us in other aspects of life as well. This is important because where we focus our time and effort influences how we feel about our jobs, relationships, lives, and ourselves as people. Where we focus our energy also shapes our attitudes, moods, motivation, and ultimately, the direction of our lives. Today, I’m using a flower garden and the weeds that grow in all gardens as a metaphor. “He who hunts for flowers will find flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds.” – Henry Ward Beecher   If you have a yard or a garden, you also have weeds. It is not possible to have a garden without weeds popping up. Isn’t that true in our work, relationships, and lives as well? Just as weeds are common in our garden, problems are common in all aspects of our lives. They are unavoidable. My mom used to say, “The only people who don’t have problems are now in heaven.” Now, please don’t get me wrong, just like we can’t ignore the weeds in our gardens, we can’t ignore problems in our lives either. If we want a beautiful garden, we will have weeds to pull. But focusing only on the “weeds of life” can become discouraging for even the most positive among us. Being vision-led does the opposite. Positive visions of the future are motivating, uplifting, and can become a source of optimism and hope. Imagining what my garden might look like in late summer gives me the energy to pull weeds in April, May, and June. Having a vision of what our country or company might look like, if it were nearer to perfect, can help us fight through day-to-day problems with more energy and optimism. We have a reason to solve problems beyond simply making room for the next problem in cue. Companies and countries that are vision-led, as opposed to problem-driven, are better, more motivating and rewarding places to work and live. People feel like they have a reason to pull weeds and tackle problems because they can see a better future. That is what a vision does, it helps us to imagine a better, brighter future. When leading workshops, this is how I define a vision: “A vision is nothing more than your picture of a more preferable set of circumstances, at some point in the future, described in words.” What do I mean by being vision led? Following are a few historical examples for your consideration.
  • “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “A computer on every desk and in every home.” – Bill Gates
  • “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” — President John F. Kennedy
  • “I want a future without MS for my daughter.” – Charlotte (from the UK)
  • “It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • “The day may be approaching when the whole world will recognize woman as the equal of man.” – Susan B. Anthony
  • “If you want to understand the revolution taking place in renewable energy, come to a power station called Gemasolar in southern Spain.” – James Landale
  • “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do; nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too. Imagine all the people livin’ life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us; and the world will live as one.” – John Lennon
Can you think of additional examples to share? Problems and weeds are a fact of life. In fact, I would argue problems provide a certain richness to our lives. If beautiful gardens didn’t produce weeds, then a well-maintained, weed-free garden would not be near the source of joy and happiness they tend to be for many. Addressing problems doesn’t have to become the purpose of our lives. We can, and do, have a higher calling waiting to be discovered and explored. All of us have problems to face and solve this coming week. My question for your consideration is: “What is your vision for the week? For next week or the week after?” I have the good fortune of sharing a small portion life’s path on a learning journey with a new group of aspiring leaders this coming week. I am a lucky man. Related Articles:   How will you live, love, or lead, differently, or better, this week?   Have a great week!!   Bryan Yager   “Expanding Your Capacity for Success”   Bonus Quotes:  
  • “Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.” – Steve Maraboli
  • “Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds.” – William Wordsworth
  • “Don’t water your weeds.” – Harvey Mackay
  • “On an exhausted field, only weeds grow.” – Henry K Seinkiewicz
  • “Dwelling on negative thoughts is like fertilizing weeds.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Start edifying flowers. Stop pointing out the weeds.” – Denis Waitley