Frank Sinatra first sang the following words back in 1959:

Just what makes that little old ant
think he can move a rubber tree plant
everyone knows that ant, can’t
move a rubber tree plant
But he’s got high hopes
He’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie in the sky hopes.

Establishing and creating a great vision is hard enough work—it often takes months. Even after it is established, we know it needs to be communicated, planned, implemented, and assessed. (Remember those five stages?)

Today I want add an additional component that a great leader needs to live out through all of these five stages: Hopeful Belief.

Vision needs hope. And hope is very closely connected to belief. If you have a vision for the future that is clear, simple, and bold, you have something really great. But if that vision isn’t connected to a genuine expectation or belief of fulfillment, if it is mostly connected to pessimism and hopelessness, there is little chance of seeing that vision realized. 

In The Courage of Conviction, contributor Rita Mae Brown says, “People are like tea bags; you never know how strong they’ll be until they’re in hot water. In times of trouble, you not only discover what you truly believe but whether or not you can act on your beliefs.”

Great leaders know that when pursuing a great vision “hot water” is to be expected. Leaders executing a vision will face times of trouble. A great vision, a preferred future, is actually part of what helps a leader push through the times of hot water and trouble.

But hopeful belief is also an important factor. Do you really believe in the vision and the completion of it? It’s in the hot water that you discover what you really believe about yourself and that vision.

Do you remember how that Frank Sinatra song ends? 

“Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.”

We know full well that there is no “oops” about it. The rubber tree plant moving was no accident, no turn of a friendly card, and it wasn’t luck. That ant believed in the vision of a moved rubber tree plant and worked at it with a hopeful belief and expectation of it happening. 

You have all written a vision article for LEAD 365. How’s that vision going? What hot water are you in right now? Where are you in the five stages of establishing, communicating, planning, implementing, and assessing your vision? And where is your heart today—your belief and hope? Seeing that vision realized will not be an oops, it will be the fulfillment of hopeful belief.

Sometimes, like in the song, everyone “knows” what can’t be done. Great leaders know what can be done and have the vision and hopeful belief to go with those plans.

Lead on!

Image by Charlie Stinchcomb. Used under CC By 2.0 license.