"You cannot have a VISION without a VIEW." - Dr. Sandra Shullman
As a kid growing up in Anniston, Alabama, football was my whole world.
One time when I was in probably the 7th grade a local high school football coach visited my house and my father, a former football player himself, told this giant man that I was interested in playing football. I will never forget his response to hearing that as a young kid I had aspirations of playing high school football one day.
He said to me, “Let me see your hands, son.”
After I got past my initial fear of what this larger-than-life man might have planned to do to my hands (was he going to squeeze them, punch them, give me a high five?!) I cautiously presented my hands with all the courage and boldness I could muster.
“Yep, those hands look big enough to be a Quarterback,” was his response as he looked me square in the eyes.
Now, I have very normal sized hands, and in the 7th grade I can assure you there was nothing impressive about my stature or strength. But after this brief interaction with a high school football coach, I felt like I had grown 4 inches! I remember thinking to myself, “I DO have some pretty big hands!”
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Alabama, and the coach I had met just happened to be the starting center for Alabama in the early 60’s named John Olinger. As a youngster looking up to a football giant, this quick, and likely forgettable (on his part) conversation completely rocked my world.
All of a sudden I started to think that I could have a future playing football.
If you were to fast forward the story from this moment to 10 years later you would find this average sized kid actually playing college football for the Citadel! What a great impact that one sentence had on my life!
It took one guy who had a little bit of experience in his field to suggest that I could do it.
The vision that Coach Olinger gave me at that young age was a picture of what was possible. Sure, I had dreamed of playing football before I met him. I had pretended to be a college athlete with my friends and hoped to one day represent a university on the field…but it wasn’t until that coach suggested my dream could truly become a reality that I saw myself playing at that level.
As leaders we have an incredible power and responsibility. The power we have is not to control or command others, it is instead the power to see within others what they can’t yet see. It is the power to encourage those that we influence to take what they think is impossible and chase it down until it becomes possible. This power of leading others to where they can and should be comes with the responsibility to present them with a vision that will carry them beyond where we can take them ourselves.
Think about those that you lead and influence. When did you last give them a vision of their own potential, their own leadership ability, or their own dream-chasing? When did you last free them from the chains of doubt by calling out of them what they are currently unsure of but need to pursue?
The value of vision in leadership is occasionally seeing what is coming around the corner for the organization, but every day we have the chance to see what is inside of those we lead and share this vision with them as we guide them into the future.
So, who do you need to call, text or meet with today who needs to know they have the hands of a quarterback?