Exceeding Your Vision

The following is not an excerpt from my new book, Leadership Starts (and Ends) in Your Head…the rest is detail.  But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it here (and highly recommend it).



-What do you want to be when you grow up?

-Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans?

-Congratulations on your marriage.  Here’s to a long and happy life!  Where are you two planning to live?

-I heard about your new job.  That’s great!  What are your prospects for career growth there?

-I heard you don’t really like your job?  What would you do if money wasn’t an object?

Each of these questions are about goals and vision.  Where do you see yourself today and in the future?  What defines success for you and how will you get there?  What path are you on and will it get you where you want to go?

But, what happens when you reach your future?  Will you know you’ve arrived?  What happens when your vision for the future comes true?

You achieve, even exceed, everything you had in mind when you started.  You exceed your vision.

Sounds like a good problem to have.

Consider the retiree who has no idea what to do with his/her time now that work doesn’t occupy their day.  The stay-at-home mom whose kids are all grown up and moved away.  The thirty-two-year-old internet entrepreneur who just sold his company for $500 million.  They have reached their goal line, that place they’ve dreamed about.

Their vision led them here, but what’s next?

I’m reminded of a quote by Walt Disney:  “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

For most, the courageous part is the pursuit.  For others, courage is their willingness to find new dreams when the first ones come true.

As we go through our lives, chasing goals, climbing mountains, and living the dream, it might be worthwhile to extend our vision.  Look past our first set of goals; the ones that occupy most of our time.

Look toward the greater goals, and broader definitions of our dreams.  Seek the true definition of our potential.  Our ultimate purpose.

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.  -Pope John XXIII


© 2014 Bob Dailey.  All rights reserved. 


No One is “Just a…”

Listen closely, and you’ll hear the “I’m just a…” phrase applied in many circumstances. You may even use it yourself. I’ve inflicted it on myself a time or two (or three).

“I don’t know the answer, I’m just a temp.”

“I can’t authorize that refund, I’m just a cashier.”

“Clearly, nobody here cares what I think.  I’m just a worker bee.”

“I could probably help those wounded veterans, but I’m just a private citizen.  I’m sure there’s a government agency for that.”

“There’s no way I could ever do that job.  I’m just a high school graduate.”

Listen closely, and you’ll hear the “I’m just a…” phrase applied in many circumstances.  You may even use it yourself.  I’ve inflicted it on myself a time or two (or three).

Ownership is risky.  It requires personal responsibility, a willingness to step up, make hard choices, and be held accountable for your actions.  “I’m just a…” is a ticket to minimizing the expectations we place on ourselves.

The Dark Side

“Just a…” has an even darker side.  It can be used to limit the expectations we place on those around us:

  • “John’s a decent manager, but he’s really just a guy keeping the trains coming in on time.  I doubt he could step into anything new.”
  • “She’s just a summer intern, so I don’t expect her to light the world on fire for us.”
  • “He’s just a beginner, so we need to cut him some slack.”
  • “She’s just a kid.”
  • “He’s just a drug addict, so he will never amount to much.”

When expectations are minimized, minimized outcomes usually follow.

Applying the “just a…” phrase to anyone, including ourselves, ignores potential.  It ignores our ability to grow, change, improve, and amaze.

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