Years ago I was speaking at a large church in Nakuru, Kenya. This was right before the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia in 2000. It was my eighth time to Kenya. I love Kenya and the Kenyans. Kenyans are so full of life and vision. They believe it and talk it but there’s just one problem. Many seem to never achieve their vision. Of course, this is not a Kenya problem only. Many people can tell-a-vision but struggle with doing-a-vision. They have a hard time moving from dream to done, from revelation to reality, from invisible to visible, and from an idea to a product.
Realizing that the Kenyans national source of pride is winning the marathon in the Olympics, I thought I would try and make a point with my Kenyan friends. As I stood in front of over one thousand Kenyans at a church service I asked the following question. “How many Kenyans here have a vision of winning the marathon in the Olympics this year?” Without one bit of hesitation the crowd stood up and cheered, for fifteen minutes. They all had the vision! Then I asked the next question. “How many here believe that Kenyans have it in their DNA to win the marathon?” We had revival! Everyone was excited and in agreement.
Now came the next question. “Now, let’s take that Kenyan, they have a vision to win the marathon, and they have it in their DNA to win the marathon, but, they never practice. Will they get to their vision of winning the marathon?” There was silence. A hush fell over the crowd. There was no more revival. I thought I was in trouble. They were quiet because they had an ‘aha’ moment.
Here’s a lesson we all need to learn. You can have a great vision, you can even have it in your DNA to succeed, but if you don’t have the right internal values, your vision will not become a reality. In the case of the Kenyan, he or she has a great vision, they certainly have it in their DNA but their core value of laziness disables their vision of winning the marathon every time.
Let’s apply this lesson to our lives. While our desires or goals are vision-focused, they are also values-driven. Values can be the best friend or the worst enemy of a vision. Many of us want to be successful but lack the appropriate values required to get us there. Values are internal. Values drive our behavior. Values are deeply held convictions.
Some other words we could use for values are precepts, choices, ideals, assumptions, or standards. Values affect decision making, risk taking, goal setting, conflict resolution, problem solving, priorities determination, role clarification, and resource utilization. Values communicate what is important. Values influence overall behavior. Vision inspires people to action. Values enable execution of the vision.
How do you turn unfulfilled potential into fulfilled reality? By having enabling values that transport you to your desired vision! That’s the way God designed us to work. The Kenyan man or woman could greatly increase their probability of winning the Olympic marathon by adopting the value of self-discipline and making it a core value. In fact, in the year 2000 at the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Kenyans were first, second and third in the marathon. They moved from tell-a-vision to do-a-vision. How? They had a vision, the internal makeup, and the values necessary to win the marathon. They moved from inspiration to achieving their aspiration through perspiration.
Remember, a vision mismanaged leads to frustration, especially to aspiring young Kenyans.
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