Last Sunday my wonderful Elizabeth invited me to Sunday tea at The Bricktown Inn located in Haverstraw, NY. Being that we are both tea drinkers and never to pass up an opportunity to spend time together, we put on our Sunday best and headed out. What made it extra special was the destination: The Bricktown Inn, owned by Joe and Michelle Natale, had me smiling as it was the culmination of a vision that Joe and Michelle had more than 25 years ago. Old friends of ours, I remember when they shared their vision with me and never wavering, achieved their vision to perfection. How insightful for one to know what one wants, and to strive and achieve it. It was a delightful afternoon- a great pot of tea, light lunch, delectable desserts, and the company of Elizabeth... it just doesn't get any better!
In March, my article asked what your single biggest goal was. It led me to think deeper into setting and achieving goals, and the process it takes. How does a goal start? You got it... with a vision. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vision as "a thought, concept or object formed by the imagination." Do all of us have an imagination? Sure, I would imagine to some degree. Visions differ from person to person, and not everybody recognizes it as a vision... and if you do, how do turn a vision into reality? Do I remember writing an article with so many question marks? Every vision is chock full of questions! Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Some may flash in and flash out as quickly as a summer breeze, and some may take some time to percolate. As strange, wild or different as it may be, never treat it lightly- if Alexander Graham Bell or Einstein dismissed their visions as too outlandish to follow, where might we be now... and what kind of lunatic would think of flying a kite with a key attached to the tail in a lightning storm! Thank goodness for those that dream.
If you do have a vision, feel free to think out of the box-let those feelings fly. Look at it from all sides, and what prompted it to surface. Think about if you see yourself in this vision alone, or with your spouse or partner. Don't be afraid to share- no vision is silly- you are only limited by your imagination and the law! If you're really serious, it's important to know if those around you can share in your future journey, or want to. Don't let anyone shut you down... frustration brings opportunity. Be firm in your conviction no matter how unreasonable or unreal you may think it is- the more out there, the more life-changing it may be. Once you are locked on like Joe and Michelle, what's next? Planning and preparing, no matter the time to fruition.
Consider the financial aspect of the vision, and the timeline. You may need to leave yourself time to save the appropriate money to fund the dream. You don't want to put your life savings at risk, or take a big loan on your 401(k). This venture should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys (don't you wonder who came up with some of these sayings?) and you shouldn't have to worry about putting your golden years (another one of those sayings) in jeopardy financially. Understand the ramifications of the venture, and don't underestimate the work involved in tackling the vision. Remember, whatever it is, it will take time- be patient. If it involves a business, consider the exit plan: while getting in may be well thought out, how will you get out? Devise a succession plan and an exit strategy. This vision of yours should be fun, not stressful. Think it through. Consult with your trusted advisors to hear you out and help you form a plan. The more the merrier, as they say. Will it support you- are you going into the venture to make a living, or is it more of a hobby? Be clear as you define the direction of the vision, and the ultimate outcome.
So, if you are free some Sunday, call and visit Joe and Michelle and ask them how they did it... tell them Neal from Chestnut sent you. You just may get a few extra cookies not to mention a magical time... and advice from a couple of real visionaries who are living the dream!
I'VE GOT A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT COMING TO YOU NEXT MONTH- GET READY!