“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting, and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” — Horace Greeley, 1865
A vision is different than a dream. Everyone has dreams they don’t do anything with. They’re primarily fantasies. But a vision motivates you to do something. It’s what makes your work-life worth living. There’s no “Thank God it’s Friday.” There’s only, “Thank God it’s Monday.”
I sometimes think the education system causes the imagination to atrophy (Robinson, 2014). If you somehow manage to get from K1 to 12 with your imagination intact, surely college will destroy it. After all, has any teacher ever had you close your eyes and say, “Time to exercise your imagination?”
To strike out and decide what you will do with your life is no easy thing. It’s easy to be an employee and hard to be an entrepreneur. Easy to follow, hard to lead. You must find your own path, or you will conform, joining the ranks of millions of minions. Thus the importance of having a Future Vision.
To execute that vision, it’s helpful to understand the nature of The Hero. To do anything extraordinary, achieve anything out of the ordinary, face down your vulnerabilities and flaws, deal with threats, and strive toward opportunities, you must overcome many challenges and problems similar to those faced by the Heroes of yore. The journey is not so arduous if you can act and think like a hero.
“All the worlds a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances.”
And one man in his time plays many parts.”
Act II, Scene VII, As You Like It, by William Shakespeare
On the stage of work, you can visualize being a bit player or a superstar. It’s easy to be a bit player, and conform to the expectations of others. But to be a star, you have to not only write your script but develop the virtues, traits, and skills needed to play each social role well. In skill mapping, the Four Roles to specify are your:
Current Role. It’s been said many times that “The best predictor of success in a future job is your current one.” So better play it well, or you can lose it.
Next Role. Thinking, “I’ll get the training I need after I get a new position,” means you won’t get a new position. It would be best if you prepared for it before it’s offered.
Dream Role. Don’t think like a consumer. Think Big — Think Different. What would give you pride in a life well-lived? There is nothing worse than regretting not trying to achieve the big dream. But first, you have to have one.
“After Life” Role. Begin with the end in mind. What happens after the shell dies? You only have to choose between two fundamental assumptions. Depending on your choice, it’s likely to influence all previous roles.
References and Resources