How you can become visionary, even if you don’t think you’re the type

This morning I was listening to the second episode of a new podcast called Think like a CEO with Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, and I heard something that stopped me in my tracks. I grabbed a pen and began scribbling as quickly as I could so as not to lose the precise words I was hearing, and to make sure I understood what their meaning was.

Vision is a skill

Gary Keller said vision is a skill.

Have you ever thought of it that way? I know I haven’t. I always imagined vision as being part of a person’s character.

We’ve all heard about these people who are visionary: people who see a future that nobody else sees; people who strike out -seemingly without fear- in pursuit of goals that look audacious to the rest of us regular people. Visionary people are like Sir Richard Branson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi.

It can seem like these people are born, not made, and it’s easy to conclude that the rest of us could never be like them, because we are not wired like that.

And now here’s Gary Keller saying that vision is a skill. Really?

He continued by explaining that visionary people are set apart by the types of questions that they ask. Specifically, visionary people ask what is possible. They look around to see what’s happening currently (reality as it is today) and then they ask what is possible.

Visionary people don’t simply kick around in their own backyard for the answer to what is possible, either.

They don’t only look at their own lives, their own families, their own businesses, or their own industries. Staying within those categories would limit our ability to see what is truly possible.

Visionary people move outside of these realms in order to get enough ideas and information to truly answer the question.

For example, in a real estate training program called BOLD, attendees are asked who we think our competitors are. After 1-2 people raise their hands and the name some other real estate brokerage, the coach informs us that our competition is actually outside of the field – we are competing with Nordstrom, we are competing with the Ritz-Carleton, and we are competing with Amazon. Because we are competing on the level of the experience that we provide to our clients.

It takes vision to ask that question, to zoom out, and to see all the possibilities.

Vision can become a habit

If I wanted to live to 100, how should I live?

This is a question that Gary Keller asked, and it shows how the practice of being visionary (asking what is possible) can become ingrained in us, and we can actually make it into a habit, and use it in all aspects of our lives.

Being visionary is about asking bigger and better questions. And we can ask these questions in our businesses, in our relationships, in our spiritual journey, and in the realm of our physical health. Or better yet, we can build the habit and ask them in all of these areas, and beyond.

What will you discover when you ask what is possible in your life?


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