How to Know When to Change Course

This is a guest post by Thad Puckett. He is employed by The Karis Group, an Austin, Texas firm where he is an Implementation and Data Manager. He formerly served as a cross-cultural missionary in Asia for almost twenty years. You can follow Thad on his blog and on Twitter.

There will probably be no more iconic symbol for failure in our lifetime than the picture of the Costa Concordia cruise ship listing while aground off the shore of Italy. At least seventeen people died in the tragedy after the captain of the ship (apparently) intentionally moved closer to the shore than is safe for ships of that size.

Costa Concordia on Its Side

It is easy to compare the Costa Concordia with the Titanic, another cruise liner disaster from long ago. But there are some key differences. And it is in those differences that we can learn a few lessons to navigate life.

First, the Titanic was built in an era of big ships but with no technology available for the captain to see his way ahead. Radar was decades away from development. So as the Titanic was built and launched, its claim to being unsinkable was predicated on the toughness of the hull of the ship.

It is not surprising that the crew could not see an iceberg that was large above the water line and much larger still below the water line. Back then they could only see what their eyes could see. (Interestingly, if they really believed the ship was unsinkable, why would watches even need to be posted?)

The Costa Concordia, on the other hand, had all the advantages of modern technology. It not only had radar to see above the water, it had depth finders and quite possibly even sonar. (I am not one hundred percent sure of that, but the technology certainly exists today.) The crew should have known how deep the waters were and, because of GPS where they were within thirty feet of accuracy.

Yet due to hubris and human error, the Costa Concordia was where it should not have been. And despite the technology, the crew ran aground, the ship foundered, and lives were lost.
There is so much to learn here about leadership and life. Let me suggest four:

  1. When we cannot see clearly, we should exercise caution. The Titanic’s crew could not see that far ahead, but they proceeded without caution. We may feel tough. We may feel unsinkable. But if we don’t have clear vision, or if we cannot enunciate a clear vision, we are in danger if we rush ahead blindly.
  2. When we don’t pay attention to feedback, we can run aground. The danger here is due to not recognizing the danger. Failure to seek feedback is folly. Failure to listen to it is foolishness.
  3. When we have vision, we need to clarify it regularly. Instruments on aircraft or ships need to be calibrated to verify accuracy. In life, we need to clarify our vision repeatedly in order to insure that we are on track with where we want to go. A friend once told me if you profess to have vision but no one is following you, it is likely you merely had indigestion.
  4. When we have clarity, we need to practice humility. Every person who is more confident in themselves than in the vision they espouse is vulnerable to prideful downfalls. Great leaders can crash in the blink of an eye.

We all make choices as we navigate life. We all have an impact on others, whether it is our family, friends or colleagues. It is vitally important for us to have a clear sense of ourselves, a clear sense of our relationship with the Eternal, and a clear sense of our relationships with those we influence. If we have that clarity we will see success, but if we don’t we may well crash on the rocks.

Questions: What about you? Do you have a personal vision statement? Are you seeking feedback about your life’s direction? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Lynden Williams

    Very thought provoking. Will post to Facebook. Time to reexamine my mission and vision statement.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      I hope you find the reassessment of much help!

  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    Very inspiring work Thad!

    Here’s one of my little helpers in finding vision…

    Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Words of gold Chris!  

    • Brian

      Love it Chris, and….How does one do this, specifically in real life.  I am a believer and I know the holy spirit lives in me, my constant life struggle is letting go enough to totally and completely trust God.  With all the chaos, bills to pay, decisions to make daily as a business owner, relational issues etc…

      • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

        Good question… I think we all struggle with this at some time or another, and I’m no exception! I know God uses our weaknesses at times to draw us in closer… and that’s a good thing!

      • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

        When we had to “change course” in 2007, it was also a career change.  I still don’t know how the bills got paid in 2008.  But I know that grace is adequate for the day, and God met our needs when we were in the middle of tremendous challenges. 

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I’ve been there.  Funy thing is, all the bills managed to get paid.

    • http://marleeward.com/ Marlee

      My favorite of all the scriptures. :)

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    Love the points you made.  This is good,  “Failure to seek feedback is folly. Failure to listen to it is foolishness.”  Our pride so  often gets in the way. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Eileen, you are so right.  Pride is something we all wrestle with to one degree or another (I absolutely include myself in that).

    • http://www.leadingyourlife.net/ Jason Pulley

      Oh how we fall into the sin of pride more than once in our lives. Very difficult to maneuver but we just have to maintain a sense of self awareness and keep tugging along.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    [I]f they really believed the [Titanic] was unsinkable, why would
    watches even need to be posted?

    I suppose that’s because although they considered it unsinkable, they did not consider it undamagable, and even non-lethal injury to the hull would have required costly fixing. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Excellent point.  We do need to keep a watch on the things that are important to us.  We can damage ourselves and those we care about (in what every context) when we don’t.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        That’s right. And even if the Titanic had been made from some invulnerable miracle material that could have survived crashing into a major iceberg without as much as a chip of paint coming off, the tremor such a collision would have sent through the ship may still have caused some rich lady’s shrimp salad to land in her lap, which would have been terrible PR for the White Star Line.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

           I hate it when that happens!

  • http://www.endgamebusiness.com/blog Steve Borek

    Vision is one of the hardest things to do. We’re talking about creating something into the future which we cannot see. Can you say oxymoron?!

    I was inspired to write a short post about vision after seeing an experiment. http://endgamebusiness.com/blog/can-you-walk-in-a-straight-line-blindfolded/

    Thanks for your post.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      There is a saying from an ancient book: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”.  You really have to have a ton of faith to even cast a vision!

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    My Personal Vision Statement:  To lead good people to become the great people God designed them to be.

    I have a business opportunity I am currently filtering through my vision as to your 3rd point.

    Great post Thad!

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Dave, I love your personal vision statement.  It resonates well with me.  

  • Patrick Donohue

    Michael, I enjoy your blog and I am currently reading Platform which is great.. One thought: have you considered having your blog optimized to read on phones? It makes a huge difference in readability. See Seth Godin’s blog for an example. Thanks for your work. Pat Donohue

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Pat, Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Lainehmann

    I seem to operate with a very clear vision of what I want to accomplish. Where I have trouble with discernment is when I hit obstacles (NOT icebergs that sink the ship, I might add — just the plain old things not turning out the way I had planned).

    When this happens, I’m not sure if it’s a message from God that I’m on the wrong path, or if it’s a challenge from God to help develop some aspect of my character. I’ve never been able to figure that out.

    For instance – I wrote a mystery novel and sent it to numerous agents who told me that the writing was good but “it’s just not quite right for us.” I told myself and God that I’d diligently spend a year in search of an agent. I never got one, so I put the novel in the proverbial desk drawer and moved on.

    Yet… I always wonder if it was my lack of perseverance that leaves me with an unpublished novel, or is it God’s plan? I’ve done some other wonderful things in the meantime and helped many people enrich their lives, maybe more so than if I’d published the book. So I am of two minds (can you tell?). 

    The great news is that God can  use whatever we do for his glory. So I can have peace with that. But I still would have loved to get my book published. :)

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      I think I understand where you are coming from.  Getting feedback from trusted “truth sayers” in your life is important.

      Sometimes the issue is indeed about developing character.  And sometimes it is about learning to wait patiently for the next step.  I used to believe that once I discovered God’s will it was easy to see it through to the very end of a very straight line.  It isn’t like that.  There are turns along the way.  That’s where faith comes in.

      On a practical note, have you considered self publishing via ebook (Kindle, etc) or via Westbow press?

      • Lainehmann

        Thanks, Thad!
        Trusted advisers who know God would make a great sounding board. And yes, sometimes we don’t see the path until we are at the end and reflect back. 

        When I first tried to publish my book there was no Kindle… but now I have pulled my book out and am actually recording it as an audio to release as a weekly podcast. I’m hoping with enough audience, I can either do well selling an electronic version, or get a traditional publisher interested. Stay tuned! :)

        Thanks again for a thought-provoking post. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001692941434 Esther Mendoza O’Grady

        There is so much wisdom in what you’ve said.  I love that Michael Hyatt writes that you have to do the next best step.  You don’t ever get to see the whole path.  Sometimes, just being able to identify the next best step is a huge relief.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Esther,
          I love the next step! It works in just daily lists/project completion and in life!

  • Brianshermanjr

    Awesome writing, vision is easy. But implementing it is the hardest part cause there are so many little things missing. Finding the provision for my Vision I guess is the hardest thing to put together. I’ve got an awesome team put together getting ready to launch. Thank you for your post.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      If you’ve got a great team, you are very far down the path on implementing that vision!  The rest will come.  

  • Brian

    Vision? mine is very blurry, Lifeplan yes, execution of my life plan no.  The struggle is not in creating the lifeplan, it is in the execution which I am struggling with mightily. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Are you sharing those struggles with anyone?

  • Jeff A

    Any good accident investigation team usually reveals that the crew (boat or airplane) made a series of mistakes leading up to the accident. Its never “one” thing that went wrong. The way we can apply that to life is your “inner compass” that will send warning signals to you about being off coarse. 

    Accidents happen like this, 1. Disregarding good solid advise from trusted friends. 2. An inner feeling of drifting that goes beyond your taking a healthy risk. 3. Sound of impact! 

    Here is the kicker, we learn more from accidents then anything else. We simply must run ashore occasionally to know the grace of God first hand. If you let your our accidents humble you they will turn into experiences of gold. There is so much mystery on our journey and we will never always have clarity. Its in the fog that we must reach beyond ourselves. 

    Jeff

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      It is that sound of impact that I always fear!  Having a set of trusted friends who speak into your life is critical.  Perfection is illusory.  Failure is only failure if we don’t learn from the mistake!

      • Jeff A

        Me too Thad. Having a fear of “sound of impact” is a heathy thing though… we should have that. The impacts (and I’ve had a few) are so disorienting. It takes years sometimes to see that even these were a gift from God. Its the tragedies that introduce us to ourselves and God. 

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I want to point out this fun fact. In my Email this morning from this blog: underneath this article about a sinking cruise ship in Italy, there’s an ad about taking vacations in Italy. It made me laugh.

    But Thad, great post. I think the key part is humility. All of the other points are null and moot if the leader is too proud to admit that they’re wrong. Any change, whether it’s correcting major mistakes or just refining an already good process, isn’t going to happen unless we can admit that the way we’re currently doing it isn’t necessarily the best it could be.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      I saw that ad for  a vacation but didn’t make the connection.  Ironic, huh.

      Humility is so important.  If you cannot admit a wrong, you really cannot improve.  Excellent point.

  • Anton

    Cool. But this is only the one side.

    The other side is that people usually too cautious about the consequences of what they may do. And they do nothing but speculate about what can happen if they do. I consider this as much bigger problem than carelessness. In terms of the metaphor with ships, too careful Titanic would just stay in the port, and then of course nothing bad happens. But no breakthrough, either.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s impossible to do great without risking of failure. But the risk should be reasonable.

    Just look at your ship. Is it a Costa Concordia or just a small yacht? If it is – then you’re cool and maybe you should not risk to loose everything. But if not – then how on earth do you plan to build your own Titanic just having a clear vision?

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Staying still doesn’t accomplish much, that’s for sure.  Being aware of changing circumstances and acting on the feedback is important.  Waiting til everything is perfect doesn’t usually lead to great accomplishments.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I’ve been working on and tweaking a personal vision statement. It’s not fully there but it will be as I know it’s important to my success.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Having one can be very freeing.  I hope we’ll see it at your blog when you get it tweaked to your liking.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Mine is solid, yet needs some finess.  It’s been a result of working through creating my personal life plan, which now needs a major update with a largely unexpected move halfway across the continent in the last couple of months…

      • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

        I have had a look at mine a time or two (or three) since I wrote this.  Changed circumstances make a “refresh” a must.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          Agreed!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Yes, I hope to see it one day!

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Really enjoyed the learning principles you’ve applied to this tragedy.  Clarify, clarify, clarify, and clarify – great point!  You may have a tremendous vision, but no one else can see or understand what it is.

    Define expectations and clarify.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      And when you finish clarifying?  Clarify some more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katherine-Harms/602268732 Katherine Harms

    The point that resonated with me was the feedback. I remember so very well an experience in which I was spotting on the bow of a sailboat for the helmsman as we maneuvered into unfamiliar waters. The boat had echarts and a functioning depth finder. I could see the ripples of a tidal surge over a reef that rose abruptly out of the depths much better than the helmsman could, and I signaled he should turn to starboard. He refused. I shouted, “Too shallow.” He shouted, “Twenty feet!” Within 30 seconds we were aground.
    As angry as I was with the helmsman for ignoring me, I try to remember that moment every time someone says to me, after reading a proposal or sample chapter, “Have you ever looked at it this way?” When someone offers a criticism or suggestion on something I have written, I almost immediately think, “This is work is fabulous! How could he possibly not understand how great this piece is?” I am busy shouting that my depth finder shows 20 feet of water under the keel while my friend is trying to point out that I am heading directly for a reef. I need the feedback, but I can’t make myself accept it until I accept the truth that I can’t see issues in my own work as clearl yas my friend can. I need to be humble for just a moment and listen.
    Excellent post. There is a lot of good food for character here.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thank you Katherine.  

      Your story illustrates the point well.  As I have gotten older (matured I hope), I realize I need the feedback more, not less.  

      So well said. 

  • Matt Rudmann

    Thad, truly a punchy blog title, I love it!

    I read a great book title, and continually refer to it from time to time when I need to make important decisions.  The book is “What Does God Want.”  (I didn’t author it :) and it is available on Amazon).  As a husband and father of 7 children as well as a business owner, I have many decisions to make in life and often times doubt creeps in regarding course change.  I think this book might be helpful to many of the people following this blog.  Here is my Amazon Review which I wrote: 

    “This book has become important in my decision making strategy. As a husband, father, and business owner, I wanted to find a resource that got to the point, was easy to read, and was faith-centric. I have a lot going on and need to use my time wisely. This book provides an effective 5-step test to evaluating your decisions – both large and small. For someone looking to get unstuck from a decision and move forward in peace, I highly recommend this book. Finally, I like knowing who the author’s are before I pickup a book. Fr. Scanlan has been a very important agent for change to both organizations and individuals. This is a solid read!”Always keep in mind, as Mother Teresa said, “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you have done, but what matters more is HOW you did it.Peace,Matt Rudmann

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thanks Matt!  Making a course change is not always the easiest decision, but it is one that should become clearer as the “right” decision over time.

  • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

    Excellent post, Thad!  I left my business career a year ago to work full-time sharing my family’s story of unthinkable tragedy to help others overcome challenges in their own lives.  Translation = I left everything I was good at & loved to do; to do something that I had no experience doing.

    Your post was a great reminder to constantly refocus the vision by considering the Eternal impact and my current influence on others.

    Blessings!

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thank you John.  I have visited your blog and was inspired by your son and your family’s story.  

      20 years ago today (June 29th) my wife and I arrived in Taiwan to serve as missionaries.  We had to return to the USA in 2006 to care for my mother-in-law (Alzheimer Disease).  

      That was a course change we hadn’t anticipated.  It brought up all manner of emotions.  But it was the right change for the right reason at the right time.

      Today, I have been back in Taipei (I am writing from a hotel room there now!) for a a brief visit.  There is a symmetry in being back in Taipei when this post was posted.

      God gives us opportunities to do things we don’t always anticipate, but in which He always uses all our experiences to help others, and bring Himself glory.  I think you have demonstrated that well.

  • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing! One of my favorites points had to be: “When we have clarity, we need to practice humility”

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thank you Brandon!  

  • http://twitter.com/HomemakersDaily HomemakersDaily

    Great article.  The points are very practical.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  • LivewithFlair

    Well, I had this amazing mission statement about community building and neighborhood ministry, but this summer, I’ve realized that while the vision may be biblical, my motivation was self-serving. I wanted to feel significant and satisfy my loneliness and disconnection from folks. I’m learning that sometimes I have to change course when my motivation for influence is rooted in self-promotion, loneliness, need for approval, etc.  I’m a mess!   I admit it!  Praise God that he guides and corrects a ship in danger.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      We are all messes.  Thankfully God can handle messes. 

      • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

        Amen to that!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Defining my vision and being intentional with my life is something I strive for consistently.  I was impressed with the impotrtance of this back in college and have been focused ever since.  That’s not to say that I haven’t strayed from my course occasionally, because I have.  And my destination has changed over the years as I see God leading me in directions that I never thought of.  But the focus is there. 

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep going! 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Intentionality is huge!  Keep on the course!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Thanks!

  • http://www.baptisteducation.org/ Joshua Rivers

    Very good article, Thad. We really do need to re-calibrate our vision periodically. We need to make sure that we are still where we are supposed to be (or want to be). We need to make sure that we are still going the right direction. We need to make sure that new obstacles haven’t emerged that were not on our radar before.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      New obstacles can indeed emerge.  We have to be aware of the changes.

  • http://twitter.com/MyFathersHand David Peterson

    Great post, our pride often gets in the way of our plans. Having others in our life whom we trust to be honest with us is often the best remedy for pride.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      You are right David.  Having others in our lives is so important.

  • http://www.liveyourwhy.net/ Terry Hadaway

    Great thoughts. Many changes are the result of our failure to make wise decisions along the way. That’s why I wrote What If Thinking (http://wp.me/P2fSH9-3c). Far too many people are living with a victim mentality. They are victims, however, of nothing more than poor thinking processes!

  • Doug Raines

    Good post. Today’s blog would be a good feature on Jay Leno’s “Headlines”. You see the photo of the ship wreck in Italy, then at the bottom of the page is an ad for “Rediscover The Art of Vacation in …. (you guessed it) … Italy”. 

  • http://www.livinglavidanormal.com SimplyGabriela

    Interesting! I’m currently in a state of redefining my direction, my mission and my passion for what it is I want to spend my time doing. I’m still trying to figure it all out. It will be interesting to keep these points in mind as I do and to keep in mind point #3 – “When we have vision, we need to clarify it regularly” Thanks for the post!

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Clarity keeps it in focus.  Perspectives can change, as can circumstances.

  • Mrs. Hill

    Great article to encourage us to get focused!
    ” or if we cannot enunciate a clear vision, we are in danger if we rush ahead blindly.” I find this absolutely true. It has never failed that if I cannot simply articulate clearly in a way that others get the message from the start it hasn’t become a matured vision. If you haven’t reached this point the three steps will point this out to you if you are willing to listen.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Glad you enjoyed the article!  If you cannot express it clearly, it isn’t matured.  Well said!

      • Mrs. Hill

        Well, I find that it’s all stages of maturity. It’s not truly that you should change (if you are at the point that you simply cannot articulate it well), but that it needs more planning and “drilling down” to know what you are talking about. It’s very similar to our passions. We find something new that impacts us. At first we’re so excited about talking about it to anyone who will listen. Next, we begin to implement it, practice it, put some action to it and get experience. Later, we get settled in and it becomes something simply we do. We are still passionate, but it matured. I find this same concept in all areas of life. It’s just maturity in our relationships, in our careers, in our hobbies, etc.

  • Patricia Gonzalez

    Excellent material. These pointers will certainly help to prevent the train from derailing.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      So glad you enjoyed the post!  

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great post Thad. I think when we don’t practice these points because we are blinded by pride and I know I’ve been there. I think that I know it all and then end up in a mini disater.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Pride is a hard thing to conquer.   Every time I think I have it whipped, I realize I just fell into that pride pit again.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Beautiful post! Feedback is essential. Even criticism can help us if we are willing to look into it through positive glasses. In that sense, asking feedback from someone outside of our circle is helpful so that we will get a better objective insight. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Well said, Joe.  I think feedback is always to be considered, even from outside our closest circles.  

       Seeking feedback from truth tellers (people who will be honest with us 24/7/365) is vital.  But so is feedback from without.

  • Lettyromano

    How do you recover after you have crashed on the rocks?

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      That’s an excellent question.  No quick answer, but the beginning point is honest self assessment, followed up (quickly) by seeking and acting on feedback from trusted friends.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/auntiesworkshop Auntie

    Questions: What about you? Do you have a personal vision statement? Are you seeking feedback about your life’s direction?

    Well, the ministry that I lead at my church has a vison statement, but I thought only ministries, churches, and non-profits had vision/mission statements.  How can I have that kind of a statement for my smal business?  Should I?

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      The powerful thing about a visions statement, regardless of the size of your business, is how well it keeps you and your staff focused on the goal.  It unites you.

      But, even more, a personal vision statement can be transformational for individuals.  It helps solidify purpose and direction.

      I would encourage you to work on your personal mission statement!  A good resource to get you started is “Creating a Personal Life Plan” available from this blog.

  • http://www.margaretfeinberg.com/ Margaret

    so true! especially #2!

  • The Wizard of Aus.

    The design intentions of the Titanic probably made  it a riskier invention than it needed to be.  For instance, the passengers were given oppulent acres of deck space at the expense of more lifeboats.

    Is this not a reasonable metaphor for investing on margin.  We are now free to borrow money and leverage our businesses almost to infinity.  There is evidence that this is creating unmanageable investment structures, which are ending in bankruptcy.

    Why do it?  Why do we fall for those ads which don’t just promise a reasonable income…they have to speak of $2k per hour, at least.

    The designers of the Titanic forgot that all they really needed was a way to cross the Atlantic.  Did all those poor souls, now lying on the ocean floor, really need to do it in record time?

    My business goal is for a few solvent clients who appreciate my work enough to pay me a fair wage for delivering what they want.

    It just all feels a bit more realistic to me.  But then again, the snakeoil salesmen tell me that it is my limited sense of reality that is holding me back.  Sorry mate, but I don’t believe you.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Acres of deck space at the expense of lifeboats was crazy.  Thanks for pointing out other metaphors!

  • http://Thefieldgeneral.com/ Chris Coussens

    Vision is a tricky thing. I’ve never felt like a visionary. I do my best however ot keep a vision in front of me. When I don’t I drift.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Well said.  Preventing the drift is what a personal vision statement helps with.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    I am very close to having my personal vision statement complete, along with what I consider my Big Rocks.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      That is great Larry!

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    Time to reexamine mine as well. Zig Ziglar has some great ideas that pertain to this as well. He’s been an incredible resource for me anyway. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      There are so many who can help.  Thanks for mentioning Ziglar!

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    Let’s at least hope nobody accepts that challenge and attempts to top the Costa Concordia. As a former sailor, I followed that story with interest. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      That’s not a goal any captain should seek!

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    I actually reviewed and considered revisions to my core purpose and vision statements while on my vacation this week (I actually did this in the wee morning hours before my wife and kids awoke so I could be totally present while they were with me). I start with my core purpose and move to my vision statement after that, because I start with why and move to where in my own planning.

    I love the line about failure to seek feedback is folly. I’m a member of the Free Agent Academy (www.freeagentacademy.com), and one of FAA’s guiding phrases is seeking wisdom in a multitude of counsel. Ever since I opened myself to feedback and counsel more readily, it’s made a huge difference in my life and my business. We have to surround ourselves with people who love us enough to tell us when we are on the wrong track. 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Right!  And then we have to follow through with implementing the changes based on the feedback.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001692941434 Esther Mendoza O’Grady

    For the past year, I’ve been focusing on living life on purpose.  I had a bit of a family restructure a couple of years ago, and it brought about a lot of clarity.  This past winter I wrote a vision statement that I’ve posted around the house.  Seeing it frequently really does help keep me focused on what matters most.  I’ve found that living with intention takes work, but it’s so incredibly rewarding.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Esther, that is an excellent idea!  Put them where you see them and will remember them!  Great stuff!

  • Paulojacobsen

    What’s difference between to be cautious or corageous ? Wait and see the results … or consult your God  !

  • http://www.kevinsonglive.com/ Kevin Song

    I love the visual Thad! What an important reminder for us all:) It addresses the core of “how to change when change is hard?”. My marriage was the blink of failure, my wife and I was separated for over a year. By God’s grace, He take us through the hardest time in me and my family’s life. With His power and love, we’ve restored our marriage and family! I had to learn to dig much deeper than what I thought I had in me. Thankful for God’s grace and faithful! Thanks for sharing Thad.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Kevin, that is so powerful.  God’s grace is amazing!

  • http://www.fieldofdebt.com/ Jen McDonough

    Thad, thank you for the post! I just spent a few weeks mulling over my own personal mission statement thanks to @KentJulian:disqus and his recent Speak It Forward camp. Life changing stuff when we have a vision to guide us. 
    Thank you!
    Jen

    • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

      Thanks Jen! And your personal mission statement is definitely personal and definitely powerful.

      • http://www.fieldofdebt.com/ Jen McDonough

        Ah thanks Kent for coaching me through on writing such a darn awesome and powerful personal mission statement. It is comforting to have! So glad you offered that on #SIF

        • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

          My pleasure, Jen!

  • http://cathrynfarleyphotography.com/ Cathryn

    Thad,  I love this image, and the lesson you tied to it!  Great job – I’ve posted to FB.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thanks Cathryn!  I am glad you enjoyed!

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post.  I agree whole-heartedly.  There are times in life when caution is the wisest choice.  I’d also like to see an article about the times we are over-cautious.

  • http://twitter.com/WealthyFamilies Hilary Martin

    The most valuable point in this post is #2 (pay attention to feedback or risk losing everything). The art in paying attention to feedback comes because every visionary will face negativity and criticism. How do you tell valuable feedback from naysaying or just ignorance? Probably 1) listen to experts and people who know better than you or have done it before you and 2) things you hear consistently from multiple people. For example, I must have received coaching and tips from 50 experts I trust to tell compelling stories, both about my “Why” and my client success stories before I started doing it. Wow – WHY WASN’T I LISTENING? Imagine how much fun I could have been having all this time!! :) 

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Hearing the same thing from multiple people is a clear indicator you might need to pay attention!

  • http://cindyhirch.com/ Cindy Hirch

    Excellent post Thad! I developed a vision statement almost two years ago. It has helped me tremendously on many levels. Core values stay the same, but it has required tweaking in other areas. I love #4 on your list; practice humility. That is foundational; without it you will quickly sink.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thanks Cindy.  I think if we miss the humility part problems will inevitably arise.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/ScifiAliens Phyllis Kathleen Twombly

    Be very wary when the people who should give you feedback refuse to talk about your vision at all.  It took me far too long to change course and I incurred too much personal grief along the way. I’m much happier now that I’ve changed course although a lot of friends don’t ‘get it.’

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      That should be a definite red flag…if people who normally give you feedback won’t, there is a problem.

  • http://waltermanning02.livejournal.com/517.html Paul Romero

    Your post is so interesting. and it is more useful and helpful for me. Thanks for share this valuable post.

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  • http://www.theworld4realz.com/ Andi-Roo

    This piece stuck with me for several days — to the point I quoted part of it in my blog post today. It helped me find a way to “change course” & forgive someone with whom I’ve been very angry, & further, to ask his forgiveness as well. Thank you for the inspiration. Hope you don’t mind me sharing my link here: 
    http://www.theworld4realz.com/asking-forgiveness-is-so-not-my-strong-suit/

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Thanks so much for that affirmation Andi!  Moving on is so important, and it sounds to me like you are doing that.  Your response is really the best I could hope for as a blogger.  I’m heading over to your post now!

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