Imagine how Gandhi felt when his people were dying in front of his eyes. Did the word â€˜impossibleâ€™ cross his mind? Was he overwhelmed with challenges? Did doubt and fear begin to break his confidence? Gandhi experienced all of the above and probably more, however, he stood for what he believed in. He proved his vision, passion, love and courage to be more powerful than an entire army with weaponry.
Gandhi knew how to tap into his greatness.
To him each challenge was a stepping stone that brought him closer to his vision. What kept him moving against all odds was the love he had for his people and his enduring vision to free India.
How do we tap into our greatness in the face of challenges?
The answer lies in creating a compelling vision fueled with passion, love and courage. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A compelling vision has the power to transform challenges into opportunities.
What is passion?
Passion is an intense desire potent enough to move mountains. The intensity of passion empowers us to action. However, Passion without vision breeds frustration. It is like having the energy of a rocket and now knowing what to do with it. Vision becomes the guiding force to direct this raw energy.
For instance, I am so passionate about writing that sometimes I forget to simplify concepts and ideas. When my editor provides constructive feedback, my blind passion perceives it as an attack to my ego and spells it as absolute criticism. However, when my attention shifts to the bigger vision of helping individuals transform lives, it becomes easy to move from criticism to acceptance.
What is Courage?
Courage is the ability to confront fear in the face of uncertainty. When we continue to take action in the face of fear, we build courage and gain wisdom.
Fifteen years back, when I first had a vision to become a motivational speaker, I joined toastmasters. I still remember preparing for my first talk. I had all the notes neatly handwritten on index cards, the opening statement was powerful, the sub topics flowed nicely and the closing comment was so profound, that for sure I was going to get a standing ovation. Well, the opening was great and I was moving along nicely till I noticed a couple of people in the audience having a side bar conversation. In that moment of distraction I froze and lost my train of thought. I took it personally thinking my speech was not captivating enough. I excused myself and could barely keep the tears rolling down my eyes.
Now when I look back, I am glad I did not give up in the face of fear. I went back the following week and gave an astounding speech. Today, I would not be where I am if I did not keep standing in the face of uncertainty and self doubt.
What is love?
Like passion, love is perhaps one of the most intense emotions. Language fails to describe the power of love. One has to experience it to know it.
Remember when you first fell in love, you were on cloud nine because love has wings, it can make you fly. When we fall in love, a greater emotion overtakes our sense of being, and the wings help us leap beyond fear. Love has the quality of unification, connection and it finds ways to make the impossible possible. When we love we are able to ride the waves of challenges with ease. We become willing to move beyond the mundane.
Love is what Gandhi felt for his country, Michelangelo for art, Beethoven for music, and Martin Luther king Jr. for equality.
In todayâ€™s business world the most expressed emotion is frustration and the least expressed emotion is love. What can we do to induce love into the world of business?
Love without passion, vision and courage becomes an unfulfilled dream.
What is vision?
Vision is an intelligent foresight generating great possibilities for the future. Is your vision compelling enough to move you to meaningful action? Do you believe in your vision? Does it move you? Vision is something you hold with all your might, belief, and passion. Gandhiâ€™s vision was held in his heart and soul. He stood for what he believed in and his actions were aligned with his vision.
It is easy to become side tracked without a compelling vision. Vision can become a guiding force that brings us back to â€˜what is importantâ€™ when we become overwhelmed.
There are always plenty of opportunities and possibilities around us; however, when we know what we stand for, we are able to decide on the most appropriate and aligned opportunity with our vision.
Vision without passion, courage and love becomes a pie in the sky.
Clarity and focus are crucial to keep the vision, passion, love and courage alive. There are many ways to gain clarity. What I find effective is scheduling two to three breaks, where I spend fifteen to twenty minutes relaxing to quiet the mind.
The mind becomes overwhelmed with internal and external noise. Relaxation induces clarity and a crystal clear mind sees great possibilities.
A great tool to bring possibilities to fruition is called mind mapping. It is a tool that promotes a visual map bringing together life giving components of who we are and what we stand for. Following is a glimpse of the mind map:
â€¢ Vision as the destination point;
â€¢ Passion as the fuel;
â€¢ Love as the wings and
â€¢ Courage as the wind between the wingsâ€¦
Following is an example of my mind map:
â€¢ Vision: Helping individuals discover inner greatness through Self Awareness
â€¢ Passion: Writing and connecting the dots
â€¢ Love: Learning and teaching
â€¢ Courage: In the face of feeling doubt, frustration and fear, keep moving towards a meaningful life.
A visual mind map that can be viewed and reviewed on a regular basis provides focused attention and direction to keep moving in the face of minor and major challenges. The visual mind map bypasses the conditioned doubts and fears, moving beyond no possibilities to great possibilities.
Life will continue to bring challenges; however, being intimate with our vision, passion and love and moving forward with courage will ensure victory over life challenges.