Let’s talk about Dreams, Goals and Visions. These tend to be used interchangeably by many folks. Just like morality, character and integrity. Or want, need, and desire. Or liar, charlatan, and politician (sorry for you honest politicians out there. Both of you).
These are not hard definitions, but this is how I draw distinction between the three.
A dream is a fuzzy, indistinct picture of where you would like to be at some time in the future. Usually it is a purely emotional feeling. Sometime it is just a wish, something that would be great and awesome and fulfilling but with no real plan for ever achieving it. Kids have lots of dreams. To be an astronaut, a cowboy, an Olympian (athlete, not a Greek deity). Most dreams eventually fade as unrealistic.
A goal involves some intellectual involvement. Some people have called a goal a “dream with a deadline.” while a dream is usually non-specific, such as “get in shape” a goal has specific parameters to it, like “lose 10 pounds by July. A goal sometimes lacks the same emotional component as a dream. I have a goal to file my income tax returns by March 1st, but that will not bring me any great personal satisfaction. Especially since I’ve never hit that goal.
A dream often never progresses to a goal because once it has specific numbers and deadlines attached to it, then it becomes possible to fail. A dream is so indistinct, and usually only set for a target date of “someday,” so it’s impossible to ever fail to achieve it.
A vision is a matter of life and death. a vision gives you purpose in your life and/or gives your life purpose. Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” A vision requires passion, commitment. Visions can change the world. And I hate to say it, but you cannot fulfill a vision on a 15-minute a day work habit.
Too few people today ever develop a vision for their lives, for their families, or for their countries and communities. If you do not have a vision of your own that you are working to fulfill then you are probably working towards fulfilling someone else’s vision, as a cog in a larger machine than you can see. And chances are that that vision is something that is diametrically opposed to your own character, integrity and morality.
My recommendation for 2013, is to develop a personal vision for your life. I would suggest the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley as a great way to start off the new year (check it out in my recommended reading list). I’ll be rereading it starting today.
Well, alright, maybe some kids have a dream of becoming a deity on Mount Olympus.
Do you have a vision for your life? If you’re not sure, what does that tell you?