Vision is woo woo.

Always the provocateur, self-described professional loudmouth Tom Peters tweeted:
“‘Vision’ has always sounded woo woo to me.”
I replied, “That’s a train, Tom.”
And we enjoyed a brief, virtual chuckle.
I could kid him, because I understood where Tom was coming from (I think).
The idea that we can anticipate an unknowable future is folly.
The number of variables, especially today, are way beyond anyone’s control.
Hence Tom’s bedrock belief:
“Execution is strategy—it’s all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory.”
I wholeheartedly agree.
You’ll never envision where the doing will take you.
Take Sarah Koenig.
Executive producer of the hit podcast “Serial.”
In a recent interview she revealed her surprise at the doing, and at the unexpected unfolding of events.

“The popularity of this podcast, I was unprepared for.
I think a lot of that is the fact that it’s a crime. It’s a murder case.
I had not banked on that’s what people are responding to.
It’s not our great idea and our wonderful storytelling; it’s just that people can’t resist a murder mystery.
I really did not appreciate that until now.
I’m afraid there probably is some of that out there, where it’s just a caper.
And that’s fine. I think that’s not our interest, though.
That’s not our intention.
I think our intention is more complicated and probably more subtle, and maybe too subtle.”

So her vision, her intention, is not what drove her runaway success.
I’ll let you in on a little secret.
One that the accomplished few either hide or, more likely, forget while reconstructing their amazing narratives.
We’ve been led to believe that success has everything to do with our ability to predict and control.
But it’s simply not true.
Very little about success has to do with vision, with conscious intent.
Success lies in the doing.
In trying, letting go and trusting the process.
Business is a lot like science that way.
Max Planck wrote:
“Science . . . means unresting endeavor and continually progressing development toward an aim which the poetic intuition may apprehend, but the intellect can never fully grasp.”
So yes, have an aim.
One that stirs your soul.
But then get going.
Your vision will become clear as you relentlessly move toward it.

Branding is simple.

Are you launching a new venture in 2015?
Perhaps you’re hoping to grow an existing one.
Either way, you’ll be immersed in branding.
Branding is a verb.
It’s a continuous, progressive process.
One that answers some very simple questions.
Who informs everything you’ll do.
Your perspective and intention.
Your look, feel, thoughts and behaviors.
Your vision of the future.
Who is your karma.
Because who you choose to focus on, will ultimately define who you become.
What is your laser focus.
Your passion.
Your unique point of view and expertise.
It’s your daring, meaningful and believable value proposition.
The one that attracts your who.
What is your why.
It gets you up in the morning.
How communicates your what, your passionate point of view.
How is the motivating language, stories and experiences you create and share.
How is your art and your voice.
It sets you apart from others who say they do what you do.
Successful branding is simple.
Who, what and how.
Yes, it requires nuance and subtlety.
But it’s simple nonetheless.
What’s hard is the focus, discipline and unwavering belief necessary to pull it off.

You determine your truth.

Have you heard?
More investment risk may not bring more reward.
Aspirin may not prevent heart attacks.
And safer football helmets may not be safer after all.
Those beliefs may no longer be true.
Assuming they ever were.
Plato opined that belief is knowledge if it is true.
And if the believer has justification for believing it is true.
Reasonable and plausible evidence.
But is there ever enough evidence to create true knowledge.
Knowledge that is unquestionable?
Probably not.
Nietzsche wrote:
“There are various eyes.
Even the Sphinx has eyes.
And as a result there are various truths,
and as a result there is no truth.”
So if the inexhaustible search for reasons doesn’t define knowledge, what does?
Fascinating new research suggests it’s our ideals.
Our values and goals motivate our pursuit of knowledge.
And that self-reflective journey informs our beliefs.
Who we think we are and who we want to become is why we believe what we believe.
And ultimately, it’s why we do what we do.
So if you’re hoping to change your world, don’t start by seeking knowledge.
It will only confuse and frustrate you.
Start by changing the story you tell yourself about yourself.
And then let knowledge help it become a reality.

Consider this.

Gary Zukov wrote the following.
Pause and really think about it.
Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends on what we look for.
What we look for depends on what we think.
What we think depends on what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.”