Have you ever had a grand vision, a dream that seemed so vast and transformative that it felt like an impossible endeavor? If so, you're not alone.
A grand vision is not just a lofty aspiration; it's a wellspring of inspiration and a catalyst for profound change. It challenges the ordinary, defies mediocrity, and signals us to strive for excellence. It ignites the flames of passion and determination, not only within those who conceive it but also within those who choose to follow its inspiring path.
On my journey to breathe life into my grand vision, I quickly realized it wasn't a sprint; it was more like a marathon. And my friends know I don't like running. There were moments when I felt like giving up, and many more where I felt utterly alone.
My grand vision was a creative chaos visualization of helping the world, changing the world, and healing the world through instigating lifelong learning and tangible social projects for underprivileged communities. Yet, I knew I was not a Bill Gates nor Charlene de Carvalho.
As I struggled with the weight of my ambitious intangible vision, I also came to understand the vital role of leadership in turning dreams into reality. It's not just about having a vision; it's about effectively leading yourself and your team to bring that vision to life. That's where the concept of leadership with GRACE came into play.
I called it an experience-based approach to unconventional leadership.
The Great Man Theory by Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian and writer in the 19th century, suggests that great leaders are born with inherent qualities and traits that make them exceptional. According to this theory, leadership is a product of one's innate abilities, such as intelligence, charisma, and creativity, and is not something that can be learned or acquired. I had a great deal of disagreement with it. I witnessed several times during my career in mentoring that a positive and supportive environment where everyone feels valued, included, and motivated to achieve their goals is fertile soil for raising new leaders.
I was significantly influenced by Mary Uhl-Bien's Relational Leadership theory, which emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships and networks in leadership.
Leaders who are able to connect with others on a deep level can build trust, collaboration, and innovation within their teams or organizations. The theory identifies four key dimensions:
inclusion, empowerment, purposeful communication, and ethical considerations.
This, along with the guidance of my long-term mentor Ken Blanchard and my study of Situational Leadership, inspired me to design the GRACE Model.
The pillars of GRACE are:
Those helped me analyze my vision and identify the blind spots by applying the GRACE framework in my contemplating process.
Some of the questions I was ought to ask were:
What goals or aspirations do I have for my career and life, and how can leadership help me achieve those goals?
What are some of the fears or doubts holding me back from pursuing my vision, and how can I overcome those fears, build confidence in my own abilities, and take leadership?
Who are the people I admire or look up to, and what qualities or behaviors do they exhibit that I could emulate in my own leadership style to strengthen my vision and mission?
As I continued my journey to transform my grand vision into reality, these five pillars of GRACE became my guiding principles. They helped me navigate the challenging terrain of leadership to uphold my vision, and I want to share how they can help you too.
Infuse your vision with a strong sense of purpose and integrity. Recognize the potential impact it can have on your community or the world. By aligning your vision with a greater good, you not only inspire others but also foster trust and support.
Embrace setbacks as opportunities for growth. Every obstacle you face is a chance to learn. It is a deep and enduring willingness to invest time, effort, and resources in pursuing a desired outcome. Be the example of resilience for your team, showing them that failure is not the end but a stepping stone to success.
Keep an open mind and be willing to pivot when circumstances change. Stubbornness is not the answer. Your vision may need adjustments along the way, but as long as the core values and objectives remain intact, you're on the right path.
Set clear goals and maintain an unwavering commitment to them. This commitment is contagious and will motivate your team to stay focused and dedicated to the cause.
Cultivate emotional intelligence within yourself and your team. This multidimensional construct includes social skills, empathy, motivation, self-awareness, and self-regulation. Understand the unique strengths and struggles of your team members and provide the support they need. A leader who genuinely cares about their team's well-being inspires loyalty and hard work.
In the face of adversity, moments of doubt, and the feeling of loneliness, I discovered that leadership with GRACE had lighted my way. No matter how immense, a grand vision is attainable with the right qualities and mindset.
So, don't shy away from your grand vision. Embrace it, nurture it, and lead by applying the GRACE Model to make it a reality that changes the world for the better. Your vision is not impossible; it's just waiting for the right leader to bring it to life.