A couple weeks ago I took my son fishing for the first time. He’s three and half and was very excited to go. We got our gear ready, hunted for worms and found a snake first, but eventually got us some worms. We headed to the lake, found a bench and got down to business.
Not being one who wanted to just watch the bobber, he slowly reeled in after every cast. Which means I spent a lot of time casting.
Later that night, I was reflecting first on how awesome it was to experience that 5 minutes of fishing with my son. I mean, he’s three, after five minutes it was more about the turtles and birds that could be seen rather than the hidden fish. But slowly my mind wondered to what illustrations and lessons I could catalog in Evernote to later retrieve for blog posts, sermons or public speaking events.
My mind landed on casting vision, and slowly I realized that a lot of leaders, including myself, get this all wrong. I think it’s because of the picture the word “cast” or “casting” creates in their mind.
There are two primary definitions of the word “cast” as a verb.
- throw something forcefully in a specified direction.
- cause light or shadow to appear on a surface.
I don’t know who first coined the phrase “cast vision”, but I bet they didn’t mean….”toss out a picture of a preferred future and hope someone picks it up.” I have a feeling they meant, “paint a picture in such a way that those who see it stop in their tracks and consider themselves waking as a character in your painting as they help carry more light into dark places.”
Many leaders today think adding a quick note or statement about the “why” behind an action is vision casting. Why is not vision. Why is our purpose for doing. Vision is the picture of a magnetic future that attracts others to leverage their time, talent, and treasure to turn the painting into reality.
From now on, in my teams, we will no longer cast vision. Instead, we will share our vision and we will share it all the time.
For today, I want to focus on the language we use.
Here’s some wording to help move from vision casting to vision sharing. These statements work in one-on-one conversations, print media or public announcements.
- Imagine what your life would be like if someone “did this” for you.
- If “this thing” happened in your life, how would you describe it to your friends?
- Who do you know who would benefit from this?
- When I first experienced this, it moved me from “there” to “here”.
- The people who contributed to this said they did so because…..
Here’s a concrete example from the church world and announcements.
If you tithe or give here on a regularly basis, we want to say thanks for being part of what God is doing here by helping support the efforts behind our food pantry. Last month 50 families got the food they so deperatly needed. This is a need we are blessed to be able to to fill in our community becasue you are a generous church.
Imagine for moment you have no idea where you are going to get food for your or your family next week? You haven’t wasted your money, there’s just not enough available to pay the rent, fix the car, and buy food. Imagine walking into our food pantry were you are treated with respect and dignity, where you find nonjudgemental help with no strings attached. That’s what happned last month to 50 families in our community because of the work we can do together by the sharing of our time, talent and treasure in providing a food pantry that goes beyond handing out food. It builds people up.
Beyond announcements and statements, there are numerous other things that must happen to share vision. I’ll be writing more about those coming up. Join my email list to be in the know when those resources are available.