Home > All About ME, innovation, Uncategorized, What's in my head now? > What is Your Vision? Do We HAVE to Have a Vision to be Successful?

What is Your Vision? Do We HAVE to Have a Vision to be Successful?


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Last week I was offered a phenomenal Chief Operating Officer role in a great start up company. I was offered a decent starting salary (for a start up venture), but more importantly – a lot of equity. Even more important, I saw that I could learn from the co-founders and I believed in the product. One would think I would be ecstatic. I was, but there was something holding me back. I couldn’t figure out why I was not jumping through the roof and accepting, so I called one of the most influential mentors I’ve had, who knows me as an employee, colleague, and personally and he had one simple question that I couldn’t answer. What is your vision for yourself?

My vision (in my mind) is simple; I already have the perfect husband – then add to the picture 2 kids, a dog, 5 bedroom house on the ocean in South Fl, and CEO of my own company. Well, that all sounds plausible in theory and I’m CEO of my own company now; although I’d like to be CEO of a $30-$40 million dollar business so we have some growing to do.

This is where my mentor gave me a dose of reality; he said, “Jamie, my wife and I speak literally every week about how she feels she’s not giving enough time to our children.” His wife is the Chief Administrative Officer for a major company, extremely bright, ambitious, and absolutely adores her children. So, they’re both fantastic parents and it would “appear” they ‘live the dream’, but it also sounds like the “having young children” and “feeling like you are doing a good job as a mother” is STILL something that can be an issue.

I’ve spoken to others whom are extremely successful in business and have fabulous children / home lives and my findings; the mother has usually taken off of work for a year or two after the baby is born or one of the parents have their own business where they keep their own hours.

So, it would appear from all “data” and “anecdotal” points that my vision is flawed…but it can’t be, right? There must be hundreds of women who have been successful in their careers and still feel like they’re giving their children enough time. Isn’t that what the feminist movement was all about?

So let’s assume, for 1 second, that I cannot be a CEO or COO of a large corporation AND be an attentive mother; then what? Do I put my “career” vision on hold for a few years? I can certainly continue to work as I’m working now and make great money and spend time with my children, but I miss having something “to build” and I miss having a “team”.

Is it possible to NOT have a vision relating to business? And if so, can I be successful without that vision?

I am confident, possibly too confident that I will succeed in whatever business endeavor I undertake. I have the experience and the track record there; so can my ‘vision’ only include things that are personal? I see myself being successful at whatever I want to do – can my vision just be broad right now? Can it be, “be successful?”

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  1. August 18, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    A vision is a completely arbitrary tool. Like any tool, wielded well it can serve you. But not used properly, you can hurt yourself.

    If you overuse the tool of vision, you set yourself up for disappointment. What’s remarkable is that this disappointment is entirely self-driven, because the ideal that you’re not achieving is a completely self-derived ideal. Luckily, you hold the tools to get rid of the disappointment, as again you created the problem.

    (To directly answer your question, I don’t think any person, man or woman, has been a successful CEO/COO and spent adequate time with their children.)

    I’ll tell you how I use it: eventually I’d like to cut back on working in my golden years, so I’m saving for retirement. That’s pretty much it. Otherwise I am focusing just on who I am and what my job is in this moment, not next decade or next year or even tomorrow.

    • August 19, 2010 at 9:58 am

      I like your response, but if someone were interviewing you for a job you really wanted and said, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, how would you respond?

  2. August 18, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I definitely don’t have all the answers to this one, but as a young, ambitious professional, and a woman, I feel like I am continually pushing and pulling myself through one area of self-improvement or another. I believe it is a very important thing to have this drive, BUT, truly I am floored by the level of multi-tasking that women seem to achieve.

    From career to networking, to keeping up good relationships with my friends, family, partner and correspondents, writing my blog, reading the news, staying hip, keeping fit and healthy, doing my make up in the morning… it’s exhausting just writing it all down! And I don’t have CHILDREN!

    My big question when I graduated and started full-time work was simply, “so how do I get to the bank during business hours? when do I schedule a doctor’s appointment?” It seems insane time-management skills, organisation and… what? Do you amazing women do it for yourself, or for others? Is there a big motivating factor at play as well?

    Food for thought, and all power to you 🙂
    Aria

    • August 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

      Hysterical Aria as I’m 100% on the same page. I don’t have children yet either, and still can’t seem to find the time to “get to the bank” during work (or at least when I used to work for someone else). What I realize now is that NO ONE ever stopped me; I never had set hours, I could take breaks whenever I wanted; I just didn’t. Back then, I thought the reason I didn’t take breaks, etc. was because I “had to be on site” or because I was so motivated to get something extra done. Looking back, I now realize that was all ego driven. The business will run fine without me for 30 minutes or likely even 3 days if need be. If the business could not function without me – I would not have built a good business.

      Good to know we are on the same page ( ;

  3. August 19, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I think you are looking at two rather different subjects here. The first being the children/career thing, and the second being the importance of “vision”. I see a bit of a connection, but I don’t think it is direct.

    On the first, I have seen the unfortunate results of people, even good people, who pursue careers full throttle, and still have kids. People who are in love with their careers enough to want to pursue them full throttle basically never give children what they need. Now, many of them think they do, because they are successfully able to pencil in time here and time there with their children while also running the business and doing all the other things. “Finding the time” to do it all for family AND career gives the illusion that one is taking care of their children without any ill effects of being career oriented.

    The problem with that is that it’s measured from the parent’s perspective, and what matter’s is the child’s perspective. You can do all the juggling you like, but to a child’s mind they will always see that this nebulous something which they do not fully understand will, at any given time in the schedule, be competing with, or even supersede their need for the parent. Believe me, that seed, once planted, does not bear pleasant fruit…even if it takes a decade or more to show up.

    Kids are time. Not just “quality” time, but quantity of it. Lots of time. Huge, endless, ongoing, nearly constant amounts of time. It is my view that people who choose to have children should basically be choosing to sacrifice the lion’s share of their time as well. So many of us just don’t understand the mind of a child…and what it does to them to feel they are not at the top.

    This being said, I don’t believe it has to be the woman that is usually home. It can be a father as well that put a freeze on his career and stays at home all the time with children. But one parent or the other, in my opinion, should.

    As far vision…I don’t supposed anybody NEEDS one. Nothing applies to everybody. Just like you don’t really NEED two paddles when you are canoeing…but it certainly a hell of a lot easier than trying to go upstream with just one.

  4. August 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    As usual Ty, you’re correct. As I was writing this post, I was thinking of breaking it into 2 posts (the 2 topics you’ve posted above). I like the point about ‘quality time’ not necessarily needing to be with the mother. What I realized discussing this on Brazen today is this: My “vision” is to have children and raise them the way I was raised. All of the other ‘goals’ I have are there to get to that mission. For example, I will work and be successful because I want to support my family and set a good example for my children. However, like my mother did for us, I will not miss a soccer game, a HS play, etc. and the only way to do that is either 1) Own your own business 2) Have a really lenient boss. I’ll be working on 1 of those 2 options as I agree with the quantity AND quality time is needed for children.

  5. August 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    That makes sense, and I probably missed a bit of what you were saying in the original post. But I now have a deeper sense of what you are getting at, since you said in your comment above, “My “vision” is to have children and raise them the way I was raised. All of the other ‘goals’ I have are there to get to that mission.”

    But I admire your vision for having children…especially the not missing things part.

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