Vision: THE most important first step…

Nothing happens without a vision. Nothing gets created, manifested, built, or moved forward without a vision of an outcome.

Almost on a daily basis, I’m being bombarded with the benefits of visualization in my work, my personal life and as I guide others. If you don’t already visualize before you set personal goals, build a plan or, especially, if you lead an organization, team, or group, then you owe it to yourself to begin.

Just to illustrate how vision is showing up everywhere, at the Web 2.0 Expo’s Hybrid Designer session Chris Messina said something that hit me in the face and has stuck with me.  In a discussion about the challenges facing designers with a creative vision struggling to get programmers to see the outcome of that vision so they could code to it, he talked about how he mocked up a visual when they were creating Flock, posted it to Flickr so that the geographically disbursed development team could all get on a call and talk about that vision. Without that shared vision, Chris said, the coordination of the team on a shared vision would’ve taken 6 weeks and dozens of threads in a discussion forum. Instead, it took 2-3 days.

No question this sharing of vision — and the co-creating that goes along with that sharing — is the single reason that I’m so incredibly enthused about the accelerating connection of humanity via the Internet and all the open source projects, Web 2.0 startups, and commercial software companies that are rushing to deliver ever-increasingly functional collaborative applications and platforms.

After dozens of people my bride and I know talked about the film The Secret, she purchased it. It was very well done and focused on one piece of sage wisdom: The Secret is a feature length, historic and factually based account of an age old secret, said to be 4000 years in the making, and known only to a fortunate few. The Secret promises to reveal this great knowledge to the world – the secret to wealth, the secret to health, the secret to love, relationships, happiness, eternal youth, the secret to life. The secret? The Law of Attraction which is creating a vision of what you want and expect to show up…and how it works when you align your intent, your energy and your focus on it.

Why should I care about vision Borsch?

Many philosophies have visualization and visioning as an important part of the body-mind connection. As you visualize healing, manifesting and other outcomes, the body responds. The more emotion is brought into the equation, the faster and more permanent are the mapping and remapping of neural pathways in the brain. Integrative medicine is growing with alternative therapies joining traditional ones. The Dalai Lama has been embracing the scientific study of Buddhist monks meditative practices with highly interesting results.

Like me, you may be reading this and thinking, “Well….harumph….this stuff isn’t proven and when it’s mainstream I’ll consider it.” I’m right with you on the scientific method and the need to be able to repeat and prove and it’s been a struggle for me all my life to grow toward an enlightened state. But how do you, for example, quantify attitude in you or your employees? Motivation? Enthusiasm? Passion? Creativity? Innovation? Optimism?

The answer is you can’t. But if you don’t put forth a vision that excites you or those around you and engages you both at an emotional level, baby steps instead of leaps is what will result. A job making a few bucks more per hour. A project that achieves modest results. Line drives instead of home runs. Third place instead of first.

For most of my career (though I often get out of the habit until I remember how well it worked and do it again) I’d visualize a meeting and the outcome before I’d have it. In almost every case, it would move down the same path that I’d visualize, often with exactly the outcome I’d envisioned (and it took away my being scared sh*tless when meeting with senior exec’s when in my 20’s!).

1) Case in point: I was at a thought leader gathering in Woodbury, MN where the CEO of Woodwinds hospital spoke. Walking in to the building I thought for a second that I’d inadvertently ended up in a five star hotel or a Nordstrom department store. She spoke about all the alternative therapies they used (music, acupuncture, lighting, healing touch, massage) and how most hospital administrators looked at she and the parent health organization’s CEO like they had three heads each since their approach — and $80M investment — wasn’t mainstream.

I don’t remember the numbers precisely, but she brought up one that was amazing: nationwide, the post-operative nausea rate is in the low 30th percentile. By utilizing multiple alternative therapies, they’d lowered it to the 20% range! Since statistically this is stunning, she was now hosting people from other hospital systems weekly that were now interested — and quite open minded — about seeing how Woodwinds had pulled it off.

The entire Woodwinds concept started with, you guessed it, a vision.

2) Another case in point: the Learning Breakthrough system my son and I are using, now in our 7th week. As LB says on their site, “Balance therapy hinges on the relationship between the vestibular system (balance), the cerebelum and several other key functional areas in the brain and how, by refining the relationship (integration) between these brain centers (via neuropathways), learning and cognitive function can be improved at a “root” level.” Only one of the exercises we do — tossing a bean bag in the air, stopping and closing our eyes, visualizing it going up in the air and catching it, then with eyes closed performing the toss — is about visualization. But I’m chuckling as I write this since the other exercises (often having us perform tasks using our peripheral vision) is exercising our sensory system that enhances seeing…without looking.

This program has already helped me with stopping what I’m doing, visualizing, and then either moving forward with my writing, task or project. I’m not sure why yet….but it’s helping.

3) My friend, coach, advisor and recipient of my teasing, George Johnson, is hyper-focused on visioning. It’s THE most powerful step in any process and if the vision is developed, everything else is easy and falls into place. Sort of like getting a company brand right. Once you know what it means and stands for, everyone from customers to employees know what to do, expect and interact with the brand.

George recently connected with a fellow in Australia named Malcolm Cohan who has an incredibly delightful vision for visioning.  Malcolm is coming to the States in May and I’ll meet him then.  The whole Vision for Humanity concept is really, really interesting and makes me think about Internet technology and vision and where this is going to be in a very short time.

Like Chris Messina whom I’d mentioned above, connecting with people through shared vision is getting easier and easier and easier. Systems are already in place for screen sharing; cheap or free voice calling; video and audio delivery with virtually no or actual zero cost; personal communications with blogs, for example, that are free or laughingly cheap. Everything we (the collective “we”) need for creating, delivering and coalescing around with shared visions is here….now.

Open up to the possibilities and give visioning/visualization a try. Feel free to comment and tell me I’m full of crap or that you already do it and can visualize the power of vision.


  1. Michael Daehn on April 26, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Great article!

    Vision is the key to everything. As a marketing consultant, after having clients determine their competitive advantage I next have them define their purpose. Marketing does not work well if people do not know what they are trying to accomplish with it. I guess nothing really works well if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve.

    Without vision the people perish.

    -Michael 8)

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.