Harvey Mackay Academy's Blog

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

“Now, as an old man, I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation, and I could indeed have changed the world.”

These comments, from an unknown monk in 1100, illustrate the power of vision.

A vision is the mental picture of what you desire. Clear goals are essential but having a vision is more than just achieving goals. You must have inspiration and motivation and a believe-in-yourself mentality. A vision provides hope and a desire to work harder. Having a vision means having a clear sense of purpose.

I learned long ago that projecting oneself into a successful situation is one of the most powerful means of attaining personal goals. Vision doesn’t do the planning and it doesn’t anticipate the obstacles. It gives a real idea of what is possible, if only you want it bad enough.

Author J. Oswald Sanders said: “Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.”

Here are some of the characteristics of a successful vision:

Imaginable. The first thing is to make sure that your vision is doable. Many people have visions that are not attainable. You need to have a clear picture of what you want.

Desire. The will is as important as the skill. History books are full of tales of people who said certain things could never be done – and then prove that anything is possible. I’ve always said that you can accomplish almost anything if you put your mind to it. If you believe you can do something, you have a chance. If you don’t, you won’t.

Motivation. I think one of the best motivators, the one that is most likely to stick with you – even for a lifetime – is the one that comes from within. . . the voice inside you. You have to ignite your own passion. Motivation is the spark that ignites success.

Focus. How many times have you heard an athlete talk about focus? It’s a topic I also hear about frequently in business. The most common complaints: Too many irons in the fire. Too many projects spinning at one time. Too many interruptions. Too many phone calls. Too many emails. Too many things to do. Too little time.

Decide what is most important. Stay focused as best you can, and don’t let things happen to you – not when you can make things happen.

Confidence. Confidence doesn’t come naturally to most people. Even the most successful people have struggled with it in their careers. The good news is that you can develop confidence, just like any muscle or character trait, if you’re willing to work hard and achieve some success.

Flexible. No matter how good your ideas are, or how committed you are to your vision, remember that things change. Be ready to modify your plans so you can take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

At age 40, Thomas Watson Sr. became general manager of a little firm that manufactured meat slicers, time clocks and simple tabulators. However, he had a vision for a machine that could process and store information long before computers were a reality. To match his lofty vision, Watson soon renamed his company International Business Machines Corporation. He was asked late in life when he envisioned IBM becoming so successful. His reply was simply, “At the beginning.”

In the early 1970s, Fred Smith described his vision for an overnight nationwide air express delivery system in a term paper for his economics class at Yale University, for which the professor awarded him a C. Today Federal Express delivers freight and packages in more than 220 countries across six continents each day.

Mrs. Walt Disney gave the inaugural speech at the opening of Disney World in Florida since Walt Disney had passed away. An interviewer said to her, “I wish Dr. Disney had lived to see it.”

Mrs. Disney replied, “He did.”

Mackay’s Moral: A vision without a task is a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. But the two together are the hope of the world.

About the Author

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.