Michael Beaumont was doing a masterful job yesterday of teaching about the priority and necessity of vision.  I was in my happy place.  There were friends who I could here in our small church meeting space snickering and chuckling as Michael talked about vision, as if to say, “Scott must be lapping this stuff up!!” 

Michael then shared a story about Matthew Emmons that made me immediately think of you, the business owner. 

Emmons is University trained in finance and management and moonlights as one of the world’s premier rifle marksman having won multiple Olympic medals. 

Emmons was competing in Athens, Greece during the 2004 Olympics and was on his way to winning a gold medal.  It was time for the three positions competition where competitors “fire .22 caliber smallbore rifles from the prone, standing, and kneeling positions at targets 50 meters downrange. The bullseye is 10.4 millimeters in diameter, smaller than a dime” (Washington Post).

It was time for his final shot and he drilled it.  A bullseye.

The official score was posted and Emmons was confused.  It read “0”.


What happened?  It was a bullseye.

Emmons was aiming at the target in the next lane over.  Zero.  He would not earn the gold medal.  

Sometimes we have vision but find we are aiming at the wrong thing.  The Independent later reported Emmons admitting, “I didn’t look at the number above the target before the last shot…I usually always look [through the scope] at the number first and then drop down to the target. I was just working on calming myself down and getting a good shot off. I should have looked.”

Over the past month I had multiple conversations with people who want to start their own business.  I asked them one simple question, “do you have anything written down?”  Typically the answer is “no”.  

Here are three realities to know when we choose not to take a look at the right target.  Three realities of not writing your vision down on paper. 

First, if you do not have a vision you will feel chaos.  Do not be surprised by that feeling of restlessness, confusion, frustration, and detachment like things seem out of control.  That is the natural result of a lack of vision. 

The question now becomes, “do you wish to continue living in the uncertainty of chaos?”  If you do, and believe it or not some go looking for chaos, then please be a solopreneur and do not bring others into your chaos.  It’s cruel and we have seen it lead to damaged relationships. 

If you wish to not spend your time in chaos, then let’s move onto the second reality.

Second, if you do not write your vision down then you do not have a vision.

There is clear historical precedent in understanding vision and seeing out vision gets distributed.  A Jewish story gives us insight into the priority of writing a vision down.  The Jewish prophet Habakkuk is in a tense conversation with God and God responds, “write the vision down so those who read it may run” (Habakkuk 2:2).  

Think of all of the visions, ideologies, convictions, instructions, and master plans in history that have been written down.  You cannot imagine walking into the Pentagon to a high level meeting among four-star Generals with battle plans…in your head.  “Greetings Generals, I had this idea…”

Global religions do not lean on the oral traditions along, they all have a “book”.  

I heard it said, “if you do not write it down it does not exist.” 

The reason we do not rush to write things down is because it is hard, and because it feels so elementary.  We have got to get over both.

Hard things breed endurance and thoughtfulness.  Elementary things usually remind us that life is a series of living out fundamentals.

Do the hard, elementary discipline of writing down your vision either with pen on a real piece of paper, or on a digital document that you will review regularly.

Final reality.  If you do not have a written vision then no one will run with you.  You will be alone.

Periodic isolation can be restorative and valuable.  Continual isolation is predictably damaging and punitive in most societies.

What may be worse is perceived companionship where you think you are surrounded by like-minded people and wake up one day realizing that you are running alone.  

How does that happen?  Not having or communicating your written vision. 

Let me encourage, motivate, and persuade you.  Please…

Write your vision down so you have confidence in the target you are aiming at.

Write your vision down so your kids know what Mom or Dad’s ambitions are when you are not around to share them. 

Write your vision down so you don’t live a life in the slow drain of chaos.
Write your vision down because WE WANT TO RUN WITH YOU! 

You can write out your own vision by going to our website at mybusinessonpurpose.com and click “Get Your Free Vision Story Here”.

We want to help you run and liberate you from business chaos.

Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters.  Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.