Plans vs. Visions

I am currently reading a book entitled Visioneering and something that I read yesterday struck a cord. It talked about the difference between a vision and a plan. While this distinction may be a difficult one to make at times, our ability to go after our visions hinges on whether or not we can to do so. A vision is something that we believe should or could be and we have set our eyes on accomplishing. A plan, on the other hand, is your best guess as to how to accomplish that vision. While plans can sometimes be well researched and thought out, they are still a guess at what will work. Sometimes our plans fail. When that happens, it can be easy to lose sight of our vision, but “failed plans should not be interpreted as failed vision” (156).

It is tempting to think that when our plans fail, our visions should go out the window too. But the death of plans should not lead to the death of visions. Instead, we have to recast our vision, focusing on what we set out to do originally, rather than how our plans failed. Over time, our visions may be refined, but not abandoned.  But our plans must be dynamic—our strategies and timelines should change as needed. We are to be stubborn with our visions, but flexible with our plans.

This year my plan for running failed. It my first year as a professional runner and the plan was to stay healthy, be consistent, and gain more racing experience. Unfortunately I found out in February that I had a navicular stress fracture and have missed the track season in its entirety. In my vulnerable moments, I find myself questioning the vision and wondering if it is possible. But as this book reminded me, just because my plans failed does not mean my vision has failed too. My plans have changed, the timeline extended, and the strategies for how to get there altered, but the original vision remains, even if it has been slightly revised.

I believe that as we learn to separate the failures we experience in our plans from our overarching visions, we are equipped with such strength! Encountering failures will no longer have the power to kill our visions and dreams. And boy is that freeing!