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Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life Excerpt from Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life

by Tony Jeary

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A Clear Vision Is Critical to Success and Effectiveness

It is easy to understand why vision is a critical element in success, when you understand what success really is. Here is my definition of success:

We are successful when we achieve objectives we have established in advance.

If you have no vision, there is nothing to tie your objectives to and nothing to help you measure your performance or progress. So a vision not only becomes something to motivate you and to provide the power to change your behavior, it also becomes the plumb line or measuring stick that helps you keep everything together as you execute your plans. This all works well when you have a clear vision, but what do you do if a clear vision for the future has eluded you? 

The Value of Combining Opportunity with Personal Strengths: A Case Study

During the mid-1990s, I was traveling more than twenty days each month. I had multiple offices in the United States and in the Far East. I was working around the clock, compensating for jet lag and time zones. This was a time in my career that I was being pulled in many directions, and I was pursuing every opportunity that presented itself. I was achieving a lot financially, but I wasn't living a life congruent with my personal values. I did not want to be an absentee father and husband -- and that is exactly what I was becoming. 

It occurred to me that the vision I had for myself was not as clear as it needed to be. I had a fairly clear concept of what I wanted to achieve, but I had not established a clear picture in my own mind of what I really wanted overall in my life. It was at that point that I decided to apply to my own life the principles I teach others. That meant creating a new vision by getting clarity on what I really wanted.

"People who produce good results feel good about themselves."
--Ken Blanchard

As I began to evaluate my situation, I could see that I had created many objectives and goals for myself, but they were objectives that were created in response to short-term opportunities. For example, if Chrysler Corporation (a major client for me in the 1990s) asked me to create car dealership strategies for Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China, my response was to open an office in those countries. That is how I wound up paying rent all over the world. Somehow I had to find a way to reconcile and bridge my opportunities with a strategic vision for my life. 

I began this process by looking at all the opportunities before me. I separated them into two groups: 

1. The first group involved opportunities to do things I was excited about.
2. The second group involved opportunities that would require more of my time than I was willing to give. 

After creating my opportunity inventory, I took an inventory of my greatest strengths and weaknesses. I identified the things I really loved to do and the things my customers seemed to value most about the work I did for them. When I married the opportunity inventory to my strengths, a very clear picture of what I wanted began to form. I wanted to become a strategic coach to top business leaders and entrepreneurs. I also wanted a minimum of travel, I wanted to create value in the lives of my customers they would find nowhere else, and I wanted them to rave about me to others so I could continue to grow my client base.

As soon as that vision became clear in my mind, I discovered I was being pulled forward in the most powerful way I had ever experienced. I immediately started doing things that would allow me to turn that vision into reality. Within two years, I had closed all my satellite offices, built a high-tech Strategic Acceleration Studio on my estate in Dallas, and begun hosting strategy sessions for my customers in this special facility. 

This brief synopsis of my journey to clarity and vision illustrates the practical steps in creating my vision. Simply stated: 

Vision is created by combining opportunity with your personal strengths and talents. 

I changed my vision to capitalize on what I really loved to do, what I knew I was good at doing, and what was best for my family. I eliminated or reduced actions that took away time or energy from the things that improved my life and increased my happiness. I looked for new opportunities that better suited my personal strengths and talents, and I was able to realize increased satisfaction and success as a result.

The above is an excerpt from the book Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life by Tony Jeary. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Tony Jeary, author of Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life.