This week, I interviewed for TV my friend and fellow pioneer spirit, Steve Chalke, MBE.
In the minds of many people, myself included, Steve is one of the leading community activists of our time. He’s no slouch when it comes to getting things done, which is why people like me want to interview him in the first place.
One of his comments resonated with me in a special way. "Vision,” he said, “is the same thing as frustration.”
He went on to explain himself, but I haven’t yet seen even the raw footage from the interview so I can't share his response verbatim. T
hankfully, he covered this point in a recent book entitled Change Agents: 25 Hard Learned Lessons in the Art of Getting Things Done. He explains it this way:
“Vision is longing for what it is not yet; frustration is the inevitable result of longing for what is not yet. You can’t have one without the other."
I know from long experience that Steve is absolutely right. Whenever I open myself to new or renewed vision, I find that it isn't long before I get frustrated about something.
It's usually the lack of resources, people or money, or the slowness of other people to understand the need for the project ahead.
Often, or course, my greatest frustration is with myself; with my perceived (or real!) lack of ability for what is required, or my impatience to see it happen.
It’s only starting to dawn on me now, though, at the grand young age of 50, that without that tiresome frustration, I might too quickly stop looking for better ways of doing things and more strategic alternatives to the status quo.
Frustration is just a part of being uncomfortable with where we are right now. It’s our impatience to see change that pushes us toward a strategic mindset.
Many people are great wishful thinkers, but terrible strategic thinkers. Strategic thinking involves seeing a preferred future and working back to the present in order to see how we can get there.
New Year’s resolutions are made too late if they’re left until New Year's Eve.
Now is the time to prepare ourselves, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, to deal with and manage the frustrations we’ll face in 2008 in the pursuit of greater influence.
Now is the time to resolve that whatever frustrations might arise from our persoanl vision, we will stick to the game plan.
And we will not allow future frustration to be our enemy; in fact, we will let it drive us to climb new mountains and conquer new oceans in serving our world.