Vision and Execution: Why one can’t exist without the other

Your vision is your ability to not only visualize an end goal, but also see the many paths to get there and how they might change along the way.

Every winter, a few friends and I like to go ski touring. If the term doesn’t ring a bell, “touring” is a type of skiing that involves skiing up a mountain first, then back down it.

The perfect time to head for the summit is at sunrise with the picturesque landscape and sky serving as the backdrop for when we ski back down the mountain. It can only be described as “euphoric.”

Everything else leading up to that moment, however, is anything but.

Despite the wonderful feeling we get from picturing ourselves arriving at the top, a lot of arduous physical work, fatigue, and self-doubt goes into our trek.

But without first completing these difficult tasks, realizing this vision would be impossible.

Though much larger in scale, the exact same can be said of starting a business or launching a major project for the business you already own.

What are the makings of a strong vision?

Your vision is your ability to not only visualize an end goal, but also see the many paths to get there and how they might change along the way.

That last part, especially, bears emphasizing: a vision is not completely static. Some elements of it might remain constant, but — as times change, as circumstances change, as you change — you need to keep an open mind to ensure your vision is adaptable.

In the case of exactly 100% of the projects I’ve started in my life, my own visions have been adjusted and refined mid-course.

Not achieving what you initially set out to do does not mean that you’ve failed.

Also, there are no hard-and-fast requirements for an initial vision, but the first question you need to ask yourself is this: What is my altruistic goal?

At its essence, your vision can’t be individualistic. Instead, focus on how you’re going to help people and be on their side. Imagine the benefits for society and for your community — how you can improve something or serve a need that doesn’t already exist, not just how you stand to profit.

I talk to people with dreams and visions that are strong, original, and attainable all the time, but the most common issue seems to be actually getting their vision off the ground. So, why are they not executing?

Without execution, there is no actualized vision

There’s no shame in saying this: It’s just really effing hard to start something.

Let’s go back to the mountain for a moment. Or, rather, the cabin near the mountain.

The very first step before our journey occurs is simply waking up. Shaking off the cobwebs at 5:30 in the morning and… well, standing. Nobody likes getting out of bed that early, even without the promise of intense physical activity soon to follow.

Pack up gear, slap climbing skins on skis, dress appropriately, eat something, coffee up, drive — and that’s just to get to the mountain. Once you arrive and you’re staring up at the majestic beast, the questioning begins: Which route(s) will I take to the top? Will I have enough energy to make it all the way today? Why didn’t I hit the snooze button?

But whether you’re skiing up a mountain or putting something of your own creation out into the world, if you want to get anywhere with your vision and start materializing any part of it, you need to execute. Now.

Take an action. Do something concrete, something tangible, like sending an email, writing a sentence on a piece of paper — or taking that first step into the snow.

Because without that first step, the mountain’s summit will only ever exist in your mind.

Without that first step, there will never be anything real to work on.

Without that first step, no one will be lucky enough to benefit from your brilliance.

You’ll just keep standing frozen at the bottom of your mountain, real or metaphorical.

Once you start the climb, things will begin to feel more comfortable. You’ll get into a rhythm. And, before you know it, you’ll be further along that you’d ever thought possible.

Positive thoughts and determination are your not-so-secret weapons.

In that vein, it’s important to allow room for positive thoughts to grow in your mind because positivity begets positivity.

The healthier your frame of mind, the more you’ll attract positive people in your life, which will help others buy into your vision and help you accomplish greater things.

Being determined will also help you overcome obstacles. Reframe your problems into manageable hurdles and realize that climbing the mountain is something that can last a long time, but there’s always an end to it.

You can do this.

We all have moments when we can’t get something off the ground. When the ideas won’t leave our brains or aren’t there at all. When we question ourselves.

Me. You. Everyone in the room with you right now. Everyone outside that room, too.

Trust me when I say, knocking down the first domino, overcoming that first hurdle — no matter how big or how small — will do more for your ability to execute.

From one entrepreneur to another: You can do this.