On Visioning

On Visioning

by Glenn A. Williams

This article is dedicated to some of my favourite quotes on vision and visioning. Throughout history, human ingenuity has relied on vision to think differently.

You can use them during your vision retreat to draw inspiration and encouragement, as you take the inner path to leadership.

“The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is living fully and just existing.”
Gerber Michael E.

"When old dreams die, new ones come to take their place.
God pity a one-dream man."
Robert Goddard

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 
George Bernard Shaw

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? No much.”
Jim Rohn

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”
Charles Kettering

“You’ll never live a life that matters until you define what matters.
Defining what matters is the purpose of vision.”
George Ambler

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision that you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
Theodore Hesburgh

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Jack Welch
Former Chairman, General Electric

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind.”
Winston Churchill

“Where there is no vision the people perish.”
Proverbs 29:18

“Big thinking precedes great achievement.”
Wilferd Peterson

“Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision.”

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”
Helen Keller

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”
Robert Fritz

“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.”
T. E. Lawrence

“To grasp and hold a vision, that is the very essence of successful leadership—not only on the movie set where I learned it, but everywhere.”
Ronald Reagan

“Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.”
Henry Kissinger

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”
Mark Twain

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Warren Bennis

“When you have vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude is optimistic rather than pessimistic.”
Charles R. Swindoll

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.”
George Lucas

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shall find the way.
Abraham Lincoln

“In the long run men hit only what they aim at.”
Henry David Thoreau

“So many of our dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.”
Christopher Reeve

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
Bruce Lee

“Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up ‘cause they’re looking for ideas.”
Paula Poundstone

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” 
George Lucas


If you’d like to learn more about how to plan a vision retreat – for yourself or your team – you can find detailed instructions inside the following book:

Visioning – Physical Book
Visioning – eBook
Pathways to Prosperity - Movie


Why Traditional Vision Statements Don’t Work (And What To Do Instead)

Why Traditional Vision Statements Don’t Work (And What To Do Instead) 

By Glenn A. Williams


In “Chapter 2 – Defining Vision” of my book Visioning, I explain the difference between a vision and a vision statement.

  • A vision statement succinctly describes an idea with passion and inspiration. It stimulates thinking by presenting an image. It should be fun to read and trigger emotional and sensory reactions. It distills the essence of an inspiring idea into a few words.
  • A vision is something different. It is something even more detailed and personal. It is a picture of the future at a specific and meaningful point in time. This kind of vision tells a story. It is written in the present tense – as if it were already real. A vision’s voice is clear and confident, as it sets about describing the most important elements of how a desired reality looks. It demonstrates the courage to commit to and express the finer detail of how life looks. It defines what success looks like. 

In my experience, vision comes before a vision statement – not the other way around. This is a common mistake I see executives and boards make in leading and governing their enterprises.

I came across a short 7:42 min segment of a podcast on the Shopify website with Cameron Herold on creating a vivid vision for your business:

  • Hear why most traditional vision statements are downright ineffective
  • Learn about vivid vision documents and how they can help you plan your business' future
  • Get access to helpful templates and documents that will help you write your own vivid vision

The focus of my book Visioning is on the application of the process visioning to a person’s entire life. The intention – if you can apply visioning at an individual level, your capacity to lead strategic dialogue in the office on visioning for your organisation will be greatly enhanced.

You can listen to Cameron talk about how he helps business clients engage with their vision and access additional tools below.