Beyond Envisioning: Success in and out of the Workplace

Updated on May 13, 2020
Clint Harris profile image

Clint has worked in various fields at differing levels of administration and management.

The real world is a lot like a game of chess.
The real world is a lot like a game of chess.

The Real World

Whether we like it or not, the real world is a lot like a game of chess: It takes several good moves to get ahead and only one bad move to throw the game. Only, life is a lot harder than chess, and it usually seems like we have only pawns on our side while everyone else has a full collection of knights, bishops, rooks, etc. What, then, are we to do with our meager pawns?

A lot of people will tell you to envision success, or envision yourself achieving the results you want. The author of The Secret made more money than I can justifiably imagine just writing about visualizing success. That book sits on the shelves of more middle-class men and women than it does millionaires, so clearly it isn't just that simple. There has to be a deeper philosophy here yet to be examined.

Envision the Steps to Take, Not the End Result

Envisioning the end is important so we know what we need to do to get there—but how we get there is more important, and it's usually not emphasized as being nearly as important. What I am talking about is not just knowing the steps; I'm talking about knowing the steps and then improving upon them.

We need to connect the dots to achieve success.
We need to connect the dots to achieve success.

Connect the Dots

So often we have motivational speakers and influencers telling us to envision our goals, and that we can then project those successes into truths. What I am here to say is that this kind of thinking needs a slight change. What we need to start doing is connecting the dots between start and finish. When we envision our success without actually understanding the process of how to get there, we undermine the potential that the result actually has. Envisioning a success and then trying to achieve it is great in simple challenges; however, what we face today is not so simple. Let's look at an example.

Example One: Envisioning Success

I have a dream of running a successful marketing consulting firm. As a result of this dream and the concepts I have of what this looks like, I set out to achieve this goal and aim to create this company precisely how I envisioned it. As a result, I do everything necessary to achieve it, always holding in my mind this idea of success that I initially held.

Now, there are two very possible options that can manifest as reality:

  • I get to the end and simply fail. It is the wrong place and wrong time for this marketing firm to have been created.
  • Or, I succeed and my marketing firm achieves the success that I initially envisioned. Great, right? Well, not so much.

When we have envisioned a singular success and maintained that as our primary driving force and motivation, we have limited the potential that our success might have had, and we are none the wiser for it. What we need to do is focus on the process, envision what every major milestone is and how we maximize the potential in each of those steps; then we connect the dots.

Let Those Dots Network

Let's say instead we go about this same scenario, but instead we focus on each incremental piece of the puzzle, maximizing the potential of each step. Like I said previously, life is much more multifaceted and layered than this linear instruction we like to use of "envision your success."

Example Two: Networking

I want to start a marketing firm. My first step is to create a business plan, but instead of just creating a business plan and moving to the next step, I meet with a consultant about marketing start-ups. The consultant gives me insight into how my own business will be run and provides me significant networking resources. Through this consultant, I attend a networking seminar and am introduced to potential business partners.

While I am making conversation with one of these individuals, he turns me onto a new concept involved in marketing that I have never before heard of, influencing what kind of business I intend to create. Additionally, instead of an S-corporation, I now intend to create an LLC because of the tax benefits I was previously unaware of. This now influences my end result and my vision of successful entrepreneurship is completely altered.

Now, when I move on and file my fictitious business name and get my license, I now have to meet with an accountant because my business can now be taxed in a different manner than before, changing how I do business entirely.

Take Each Step Seriously

If we take each step as seriously as what I have described here, and we pursue each milestone with as much intensity and discipline toward unearthing as much possible information about each step as this, then your successes will compound and snowball into an end result much greater than what you had initially conceived.

You should be envisioning the success of each step once you begin that step before you can even fathom accurately envisioning your end result. When you finish one point, you now have an entirely new foundation and understanding of what your next step might actually be. Whereas before it might have been A to B, now it's A to A2. When I spoke of life being a game of chess, this is what I am talking about: turning your pawns into something greater.

Things are looking up.
Things are looking up.

Snowball vs. Snowman

It is important to note that I am not saying you should not envision yourself being successful; far from it actually! Often that initial vision we have of our successes is a catalyst that gets the ball rolling. What I am saying is to use that initial concept of success as a motivator to get into step one, and then absolutely ditch that vision of success and keep it only as a reference for what you're loosely aiming for. Instead, focus on the result that can come from the successes of each of the points between your start and your end. Each time you complete a step, your concept of success should change with your understanding of what you can truly achieve.

If your ideas are snowballs and we start out with a snowball rolling and it is always aimed at becoming a larger snowball, that's exactly what we will end with. But if we start out with an idea of a snowball and realize that multiple big snowballs makes a snowman, then don't be content with a large snowball; instead, make a snowman.

© 2019 Clint


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