Where do you see yourself in five years? If you struggle with that question, then ask yourself this: “Am I living life to the fullest right now?” This life of ours is one shot at happiness, but every day so many people are just going with the flow. Instead, why not create your own path? Whether it’s starting a business or a family, creating a vision for yourself is paramount if you want to live a life worth living. Otherwise, you are simply meandering through life.
Imagine your car is the force that moves you through life. Are you driving it or sitting in the back, hoping someone else will take the steering wheel? If you don’t have a destination in mind, then you are probably remaining idle. If you are driving but don’t know where, you might just be going in circles.
When you start a company, vision is vital. It’s like loading up a ship for a journey—you must have a destination in mind. If you don’t have one for yourself, how will you stay focused when you lead a team?
STAYING ON TARGET
When I was in college pursuing an electrical engineering degree, I was inspired to start a business, but this inspiration wasn’t enough to get me going. I wanted to carve my own path, but where should it lead? Initially it was just a feeling, but then I imagined where I wanted to be, where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was creating a vision for my future.
I envisioned myself being an entrepreneur and a writer. I didn’t know what my business was going to be, and I didn’t know what I was going to write. Even though my vision was hazy, it was just enough for me to set forth on my journey. Indeed, the windshield of my metaphorical vehicle was dirty, but I could see just enough ahead to start driving. Fast-forward five years and now I’m living that life I envisioned. Is it exactly how I pictured it back in college? Of course not. Life has its unpredictable moments that will change you. It is this unpredictability that is the spice of life.
I started my software company, Lion Mobile, in 2013. I went from not knowing how to launch a business to running a startup that provides mobile application services to other businesses. The company has opened up opportunities for me, like public speaking and becoming an author. So here I am now, enjoying the reality of my vision and writing about entrepreneurship.
But it doesn’t end there. I have a new set of circumstances in life and a new clearer vision for my future. Before I was a team of 1. Now I have a company with a team 10, and the vision for us is to be a self-sustaining company with our own products, rather than rely on business-to-business mobile application development services for a source of revenue.
The only difference now is that I’m equipped with even more knowledge, confidence, and experience, so embarking on my next journey to grow this company to a higher level, to turn my new vision of becoming a self-sustaining company into a reality will be that much more gratifying.
According to Nick Kennedy, CEO of RISE, the best visionaries know three things intimately:
- Where do you currently stand; this will help you understand how long the journey might be. The journey is always longer than you originally imagined.
- Where do you want to go; making the end goal as clear as possible is an ongoing process. Not wavering from this end goal is mandatory.
- What are your biggest weaknesses? Know your weaknesses so you can surround yourself with people who are smarter than you in those capacities and can complement you.
In the next part of this series I will discuss how to create a vision, an essential skill for entrepreneurs.
Devon Ryan, a founder of Lion Mobile, a mobile app development company in Austin, Texas, represents the IEEE Young Professionals group on the IEEE-USA board of directors. Follow him on Twitter: @DevonRyanI.