In life and in leadership having a vision is a keystone to success. A vision is an imaginary destination. The fruit of our creativity and our sense of possibility, a vision taps our longing for a sounder self and a better world. It inspires our attitude and guides and sustains our effort.

At some point in his life my father seized upon a maxim that became his signature admonition to his family: Be always kind, be always true. I have adopted it.

For me this vision is an aspiration that grows from two roots. One is nurtured in the spiritual soil of love and loving kindness. The other springs from a core value of integrity, captured in the advice of Polonius to his son Laertes in Hamlet:

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

Having a vision does not mean that one always achieves it. I am painfully aware of coming up short in fulfilling my own, as I am sure family and friends will attest. On the other hand, if we achieve our vision consistently such that we are not stretching, it may be that our vision is too small.

Our personal visions must be large enough to embrace those of others. The daily media bombardment of the abuse, violence and warfare we inflict upon each other and the primacy of deception in commerce, politics and foreign policy cries out for a vision of kindness and truth.

What is the vision that guides your life today or that of your organization? Does it spring from your truths, your gifts and your longings?