Look Where You’re Going

Paul Heagen Vision and Strategy Leave a Comment

I bought a motorcycle last month.

(Yeah, I know. I do. I will…promise…)

Before I ever fired it up, I first took a two-day motorcycle skills and safety class, where you gain an entirely new appreciation for gravity, friction and a few other principles of physics that seemed dismissively academic before now. Of all the things I learned during that course, one stood out as uncannily true:

_You go where you look.___

You’d think that would be self-evident but a fair number of people struggled with that in the class, instead looking down, or staring at some barrier or glancing down at the bike. They went everywhere but the direction they should. It was eerie, but when you looked out – ahead, hard, intentionally – to where you wanted to go, it seemed almost a natural response that you went there.

The best leaders do the same.

I’ve always said that one of the critical success factors in leadership is the ability to focus positive energy on a clear vision. It may be the most essential role of a CEO or the entrepreneur. It keeps things in perspective, in balance; it renews us during times of struggle and rallies our energy and spirit toward a purpose, not just some transient outcome.

Sure, there are potholes and unexpected situations that can come into your path, but the discipline and determination as a leader to look out, anticipate, line up, and keep that long game perspective is the hallmark of most success. It matters enormously in any enterprise and in our business careers – and our personal lives.

Back nearly forty years ago when we started talking about getting married, my wife and I came up with this metaphor of “the park bench” – our way of saying someday we wanted to be sitting there together, so let’s keep our eyes focused on that and not allow anything to threaten or distract from that. Within that line of sight are things like patience, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, diligence, and hope. You value those more when you believe in the long game, the long view.

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