“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.” – Richard Feynman
Part of being a successful leader – or having a successful life, for that matter – is being able to create a picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Human beings respond to visual stimulus, and having a vision of what you want, being able to see what you’re trying to achieve, goes a long way towards actually getting there.
One of the problems with having a clear vision, though, is that too many people are aiming for somebody else’s vision. Too many leaders see some other company’s success, or hear about some other leader’s methods, or read about some other person’s methods and outcomes, and they think that’s what they need, too. They think success looks like whatever this random stranger did, therefore that’s what I’ll shoot for too.
That’s mostly garbage. Certainly we can learn things from other leaders and the organizations they lead. Certainly there are some universal lessons we can apply. But you can never allow somebody else’s success to be your goal just because it was theirs.
There’s no “correct” sales goal. There’s no “correct” size for your business. There’s no “correct” outcome for the business you lead. You get decide what “correct” is for you. You get to decide what that picture in your head looks like.
There will certainly be internal and external forces that require your attention, and sometimes copying someone else’s response to those forces works really well. But you will never succeed without a vision of your own, partly because it’s hard to be passionate about somebody else’s idea. It’s the ideas and the pictures that form in your own mind that you’re willing to work for. It’s the destination you envision that gives you the energy boost you need to make it a reality.
Think about your business, and yourself as a leader. Are you aiming for somebody else’s target? Are you working at being the best somebody else you can be? Or are you zeroed in on your passion, on your vision, on the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning? You can choose either path, but only one ends with real success.