Live in your vision, not your circumstances

Chuck Pagano, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was diagnosed with leukemia three games into the 2012 NFL season. That week he delivered an emotional speech to his team after their come-from-behind victory against the Miami Dolphins (you can find it on YouTube).

His speech was directed to the players on his team, but the meaning within it carries well beyond a locker room. It is about a mindset and commitment to a vision regardless of the obstacles or circumstances encountered along the way.

Coach Pagano said. … you refused to live in circumstances and you decided consciously as a team and as a family to live in a vision.

Too many times we as individuals ‘live in circumstances,’ instead of ‘living in a vision.’

We are all human and often we focus on what we don’t have instead of what can be. How many people live in circumstances and complain about the election, their boss, or complain about all the things that didn’t go their way or that they don’t have?

We all have difficult circumstances in our lives. There are dozens of problems (circumstances) we encounter every day which can lead us to focus only on the negative side of life. We then blame our unhappiness on our circumstances, which fuels the feeling of being powerless over our lives.

It’s our thinking, not our circumstances, that determines how we feel. We are in charge of our thinking; we are the ones doing the thinking – then why should circumstances be dictating our experience of life? We cannot control the circumstances that we may encounter, but we can control how we react to those circumstances. Controlling our reactions takes mental conditioning, which is similar to physical conditioning – you need to cultivate it and it grows with practice.

Circumstances are temporary. A vision can last an eternity.

If you have a vision, nothing can stop you. Make that conscious decision and start living your vision.

Some people say that the hardest part of achieving anything is actually getting started, taking that first step. I am not so sure that is the case. How many diets, exercise programs, books, projects have people started and then moved on (gave up). Maybe it’s not the start but the finish that’s difficult. The barriers to finishing what was started- other priorities, boredom, frustration, distractions, lack of focus – sound like circumstances.

Living in your vision is imperative to staying the course when surrounded by circumstances and disruptions. If you don’t have a vision, get one. And live in it. If not, your circumstances will dictate your life.

Compare Abraham Lincoln to Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln had a vision of saving the Union at any cost and did so under extremely difficult circumstances. As a general of the Union troops, Grant followed Lincoln’s vision without hesitation and as such was a great General. However as President, Grant was a failure mainly because he didn’t know why he was president and what he hoped to accomplish – he had no vision.

JFK’s had a vision in the early 1960s when the U.S. fell behind the Soviet Union in the technology race. His words: “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” He committed this nation to a vision, one that catapulted us to great levels. It also now stands as a standard for goal setting. However this vision had its share of circumstances. To start with the head of NASA at that time didn’t agree with the vision, the nation was having budget priority issues, civil rights issues, cold war issues all reasons to lose sight and not live in the vision. John F. Kennedy said in his speech to the graduating class of Rice University in 1962, “We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

In Scripture, Jesus asks Peter to step out of the boat and walk on water. Peter got out of the boat and started walking to Jesus. He had his eyes fixed on Him (Jesus) the whole time. This happened at night during strong winds and storm like conditions – circumstances that didn’t matter when Peter was living in his vision. Trouble was that Peter didn’t trust the process and the minute he no longer held Christ as his vision, he started to drown.

With God, we need to “trust the process”. No one understands why or how God works. In every situation and at every moment He is at work in us through His processes. We have to trust Him, stand with our eyes focused on that vision that is Christ and trust that His processes will accomplish what they should in our lives. The Christian Band, For King & County have a great song that has been a crossover hit called ‘Fix My Eyes’. If you haven’t heard the song, check it out and pay attention to the lyrics.

The greatest example of this complete principle is Jesus himself.

His vision was on the Father and fulfilling His promise to us. He achieved His vision despite significant circumstances and His process was one of daily prayer.

No matter what we do for a living, we need to live in our vision 100% of the time. Let us focus on what we have and make the most of it as opposed to what we do not have. Let us set our goals high and live in the vision of achieving those goals. Let us continue to live in the vision of ‘going to the moon.’

About the Author

Bob Mahr answered a calling to combine his experiences as a business leader, a volunteer football coach and a father with his faith to champion and enrich today’s youth.  Bob is a Director of a multi-million dollar division for a National Supply Chain partner; a Volunteer High School Football; an active member of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a Board Member, Campus Huddle Coach and Character Coach; as well as a father of three daughters all becoming citizens in today’s society.  Bob takes his purpose from Luke 12:48 – to whom much has been given, much is expected.