A recent Gallup study revealed that engagement in the workplace is extremely low. In fact, of the people studied, only 19% would be considered in “drive,” or fully active and engaged in the mission of the organization. 52% were considered in “neutral,” or indifferent about the mission of their organization. Finally, a staggering 29% were considered in “reverse,” or actively working in opposition to the mission of their organization.
I believe the answer is found in Proverbs 29:18. “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint…” The participants of the study were measured based on their answer to this question: How does your role matter in the mission of the organization? When people have no vision of why their role matters to the mission, they disengage.
There was a man who loved to take walks through his city. One day, as he chewed on a warm pretzel, he decided to take an alternate route. He wanted to check out a new structure he had seen was being built. He came upon what he knew would some day be a grand structure, so he decided to ask some of the brick-layers working there what they were doing.
He walked up to a young man and asked, “What are you doing?”
He replied, “What does it look like? I’m laying brick.”
This obviously was not the answer he was looking for. So, he went to another young man and asked him, “Sir, what are you doing here?”
He responded gruffly, “I’m drawing a paycheck, and mind your own business.”
A little taken back, but still undeterred, he decided to try one more time. He asked the third gentlemen, “Excuse me sir, could you please explain to me what you’re doing here?”
The man paused, closed his eyes and looked upward. With one brick in his left hand, and a trail in the other, he said, “I’m building a cathedral.”
Now that’s what I call understanding how your vocation fits into your vision.
The inverse of Proverbs 29:18 is also true: with vision, people restrain themselves. Or better said: with vision, people prosper. Vision is vital for living the exponential life.
There is a legendary story about Ernest Shackleton, who led many expeditions to Antarctica in the early 20th century. He once recruited for his next mission by posting an ad that said, “Men wanted for a hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger; safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”Albeit difficult, that’s a clear vision. The part of this story that reminds us of the power of vision is that 5,000 men responded! Again, vision is vital if you want to live the exponential life you were created for.
EXERCISE: Take time to write out a vision for you future. You can choose to write about where you will be 3, 10 or 20 years from today. Make sure you use a lot of senses in your vision.
How does it smell in the future?
What does it look like? Who are you touching? What sounds are you hearing?
I want you to go there and write from a present tense perspective, as if you are there right now.