Remember the last vision seed that I posted: Everyone is born with a vision to guide his or her life. Our mission is to find and follow it. And the bottom line of that seed is you must trust you were born with unique purposes, unique views of the world and the gifts and talents to communicate these views and fulfill these purposes. Sun Bear and I used to teach people you should not only find and follow your own vision, but also support other people in doing the same with their vision, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. If someone believes his vision is to stand on his head for longer than anyone else has; if someone feels they must build the world’s best computer game, or restaurant or water ice shop; or raise the happiest child; or be a teacher, doctor, lawyer or garbage collector, our job is to support them in fulfilling their vision. This seed sounds easy, right? Now think about how it plays out in real life. What if the person who has the vision to stand on her head is your partner? What if your child wants to be a garbage collector when you had always hoped he would join the family law firm? What if the person who wants to raise a happy child is your mate, and you never wanted to have children? What if you oppose computer games and your daughter’s vision is to develop them? What if your brother wants to take all the family money to open a water ice shop in Alaska? What if your sister, who has never successfully boiled an egg, wants to open a gourmet restaurant? Then not stepping on a vision becomes quite a challenge. The closer you are to the person, the more difficult it is to keep your mouth closed, your mind open and not step on his vision. If your friend’s child wants to break the record for head standing, it is not too hard to support this endeavor, even if you snicker about it when the friend isn’t around. If it is your child, it’s a different situation. I think the most common way to step on someone else’s vision is to encourage your child to be your “mini-me”, to follow your vision, your ideas, your goals whether or not they are his or hers. When I hear about parents who encourage young children to be beauty queens, or competitive dancers, or the next American idol, or the world’s youngest software genius, or the latest You Tube sensation, I always wonder whether the parents are helping their child to find his vision or forcing the child to fulfill the parent’s unfulfilled ones. The sad adulthoods of some of these childhood sensations would imply it is often the latter scenario. The next most common way of stepping on another’s vision comes when your partner proposes something that might fulfill his vision, but will substantially affect the way you live. When a six figure earner executive wants to join a circus, his or her partner will understandably feel the impact. In this case, is the vision of one partner harming the other? That depends on a lot of factors, most particularly trust, flexibility, ability to communicate, real life circumstances and willingness to embrace change. These are two of the major ways in which we can step on someone else’s vision, but there are a lot of minor ways that can be harmful. Many people are more sensitive than they act. We live in a society that encourages strength and a stiff upper lip, so a lot of us learn to hide our sensitivity. One discouraging conversation can be enough to make a sensitive person question the validity of his purpose, her vision. This is especially true of younger people who still feel unsure of their life path. From the years I have spent guiding vision quests, teaching and counseling I have found a number of ways to help me keep my feet off someone else’s vision. They are: - When someone decides to share his or her vision with you, respond slowly, thoughtfully and as supportive as possible. - Remember that vision, purpose in life is highly personal. No matter how good a manager you are in your professional life, you really don’t have the right to micromanage the life path of your loved ones. This is not easy for those of us (like me) who want to organize how the world turns. My husband and daughter will vouch for this. - Allow your children to follow their path, even if it is not the one you hoped they would take. - Be particularly careful if you are a teacher or counselor of any kind. One unthinking conversation can really hurt a sensitive soul. - Remember where a path might lead can be very different from where it begins. That head stander could make it into the world records, write a book and become a successful motivational speaker who helps many people find and follow their visions.
Never step on someone else’s vision.