By Ray Luther, Executive Director, Kelley MBA Program
“There are no choices without personal freedom, Buckeroo. It's not us who are dead inside. These things you find so weak and contemptible in us - these are just the hazards of being free.” -David Foster WallaceYour past tells a story that supports who you are today. This story consists of what you’ve done and how you’ve lived…your life choices… good and bad. This story contains the shared narratives of who you spent the most time with. Who is important…there’s a lot of truth in the old adage that you are a mash-up of your five closest relationships. You influence and are influenced on a continuous spectrum. In truth, you practice selective memory as you recall this unique story known as your past – we all do. You choose to remember, omit, and edit as it suits your needs, but it’s still what makes you who you are today.
In looking forward you also have the opportunity to choose. You can choose to allow circumstance and the agenda of others dictate your future. Or, you can choose to live on purpose. You can choose what you will do, how you will do it and who you will spend time with – guided by a vision of who you want to become. Not necessarily in an overly planned way, because frankly that’s boring, but in a way that pulls you forward through magnetic inspiration. This is the power of personal vision.
In the Kelley MBA Leadership Academy, we believe in the power of personal vision to help guide us. Magnetic inspiration that pulls us forward. We choose to practice personal leadership by living on purpose. The ability to lead ourselves to an inspired future that we choose, not one that’s chosen for us, is what motivates us. It doesn’t really matter if all of our vision comes true. What matters is that we’re inspired to move forward consistent with our purpose.
Every year we practice a multi-session personal visioning exercise with our current Leadership Academy Students. This is part of our Lead for Life Series. We work with a tool called the Personal Compass from The Grove. It’s wonderful because it incorporates the best of visual thinking with solid analysis to help uncover personal insight. While not the only personal visioning tool out there, it’s one that we highly recommend. Eric Johnson and I never cease to be amazed by the insights this process can generate. We’ve seen a number of students gain a new level of confidence in their self-leadership moving forward. We’ve also seen a number of students realize they needed a course correction to live on purpose with their vision. All of this is OK; it’s part of the ongoing learning process as we actively lead ourselves. Explore your past, envision your future, make bold choices to move forward… and then act.
We are very proud of our Lead for Life Series in the Kelley MBA Leadership Academy. This optional program is all about improving the personal side of leadership, one that’s often neglected in leadership development work. Personal visioning is just the first step. We also learn to lead through the practice of compassion, mindfulness, and fitness. We look forward to continuing the conversation around personal leadership. We value insight from others if you choose to share. We also hope that you choose to live on purpose. That the what, how and who choices you make moving forward are ones that align with your personal values. Most of all we hope that your personal vision provides the magnetic inspiration to move you forward in a way that makes you proud to be you.
“The Magnetic Power of Personal Vision” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 24, 2015.